Kunitoraya - THE place to go for udon noodles in Paris


During one of our Skype conversations at the beginning of December, I asked my son if there was anything specific that he wanted to do while in Paris. Without hesitation Philippe said, "Yeah, I'd like to go back to that udon noodle place". Since Kunitoraya is the little hole in the wall restaurant that I automatically head towards whenever I'm near the Palais Garnier, I immediately agreed because there's nothing better than a steaming bowl of udon noodles on a cold Parisian day.

My favorite, Kamaten-Udon comes with udon noodles, broth, tempura and a quail's egg for 16€. After removing the udon noodles from the hot water, you dip them in the broth to which you've already added the condiments. You can drink the broth when you're finished.

Kunitoraya was also one of the first places that I took my Japanese friend, Itsuko, when she came for a visit in November. After inspecting the kitchen, which is rather easy since it's right behind the counter, to confirm that they were using homemade dashi (Japanese sea stock) and speaking with the staff to ensure that they're truly Japanese, Itsuko looked at the other customers and joked that she hadn't seen so many of her compatriots since she was last in Japan. While I don't remember what Itsuko ordered, I know that I had C-13 (Kamaten-Udon). As always, I was pleased with the combination of tempura and noodles served with a savory broth, while Itsuko declared that her meal was authentically Japanese. Best of all, when she checked her facebook account and saw that a friend from Aki, Japan* had posted a comment telling her to go to Kunitoraya because they serve the best udon noodles in Paris, Istuko could respond that her American friend (me!) had already taken her there.

As Itsuko and I had bonded during trips to the Japanese grocery store in Lausanne, I mentioned that I was disappointed that the one in Paris had recently reduced their stock. According to Itsuko, the same thing has happened in Switzerland because all of the Japanese products imported into European countries have to be scanned for radiation making it very costly for the small shops.

*There are three Kunitoraya restaurants: one in Aki, Japan and two in Paris. The restaurant on St. Anne accepts orders continuously from 11:30 am until 10:00 pm, a big plus as many restaurants stop serving mid-afternoon. The picture shown below is slightly misleading because there is usually a line of people waiting outside for one of the coveted ~ 30 seats.

Kunitoraya
39 rue Sainte-Anne (the little hole in the wall where I always go)
75001 Paris

5 rue Villedo (their more upmarket restaurant)
75001 Paris

Comments

  1. Mmm, that looks delicious! I love udon noodles, they're so hearty. Thanks for sharing. I'll definitely try to go to this place next time I'm in Paris.

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  2. It's good to know that you're a fellow udon noodle fan - now I'll know who to ask for a recommendation if I ever start craving them while in NYC!

    There's also a really good place for soba noodles but it's more expensive than Kunitoraya.

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  3. What a great find. How did you find it anyway?

    Honestly, my experience with Asian food is pretty limited, and I'm working on expanding it. I like your friend's inspection.

    I'm posting this to my FB account as I have a good friend in Japan and she loves food stories.

    The withering supply of products from Japan is a sad by-product of a sadder situation.

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  4. Yay! Another Asian food spot to try. I love these because I get so tired of French food after time (shh don't tell anyone). A definite must for me to try after French one day next week :)

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  5. Joseph, I found it thanks to another American expat who is always spot on with her restaurant recommendations. Once I tried it, I was hooked and haven't made udon soup at home since I moved to Paris because it's so good at Kunitoraya.

    Thanks for posting this on your FB account!

    kbh, Your secret is safe with me because I know exactly how you feel! Many are the days when a seaweed salad is much more appealing than cheese. Kunitoraya is right in the middle of lots of Japanese restaurants and near Kioko, the food store where I get wakame, sushi rice, tofu, etc.

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  6. Yum! Exploring ethnic markets and restaurants is on my list of Paris goals for 2012, in part because I am tired of hearing myself complain about the blandness of the food! Will you take me there in January? And I will take you to Rice and Beans, which I discovered shortly before I left and really good Mexican.
    Heading that way on Sunday. Gorgeous weather makes it hard to leave!

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  7. Maisoui, You bet I will! What a great idea, especially since I haven't had good Mexican food in such a long time.

    Soak up as much of the Texas sunshine as you can because it's grey and rainy in Paris.

    Bon voyage and see you in 2012!

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  8. I've been dying the check out this noodle shop. I've only heard about it but never ventured over...now I know what I'll be doing when I come back to warm up!

    What do you have cookin' for tomorrow night? Something fab...I'm sure of it!

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  9. Showing my ignorance, I'd never heard of udon noodles before. They look delicious. I've added the restaurant to my list of places to visit in Paris when hungry!

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  10. Mlle Ella, It's a great place to go on a cold day cuz it's all steamy and warm inside - kind of like a sauna.

    We're still trying to figure out what to do tonight. Any recommendations?

    Steph, You're not alone - most people think of sushi rather than udon noodles when it comes to Japanese food. As the menu can be a bit intimidating, I would recommend the noodles that come with a hot broth rather than a cold one.

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  11. Definitely the best Udon in Paris, too bad it's so expensive (but well, I don't care anymore as I know live in Udon country!!!)

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  12. David, Lucky you to live in the land of udon noodles and other Japanese food!

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  13. I went to Kunitoray (39 rue SA)on Wednesday at lunch time to eat Udon with my kids and the baby buggy. I asked one of the young chefs whose hair looks very mess, 'Can we get in with our baby buggy?'. He replied, ''it is very bothering but...''. I was very astonished and furious with his attitude and response to us. We were very tired and looking forward to eatig nice food. With this chef's comment, everything of our time with good expection of the food was ruined. I am the restaurant and shop concept's cordinator in London. His response and attitude are totally not acceptable at any of my shops in London, even if he was a good chef. TQM notion, ''customer's point of view'' is certainly not known by him'. All the other waitresses were very kind.

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