La Taverne de Zhao
Ever since 2011, the cuisine of the city of Xi’an (located in the Shaanxi province, which was the capital of ancient China many times over) has had an embassy of its own, a quick ricochet ride from the Canal Saint-Martin. After closing for six months – during which time they opened up the street food spot Mr Zhao,and did some serious remodelingof the original restaurant –LaTaverne deZhaois back with a chic new look: a scarletred façade, a marble-topped bar, light woodtablesand warped sea green walls. Small in size but massive in terms of merit, this classic institution is more delightful than ever: there’s a wonderfulselection of momos (small stuffed buns) filled with lacquered duck, shredded pork or five-spice tofu; heavenly steamed pork and trout roe dumplings; incredible liangpi royal (cold noodles with slicedchicken, watercress and a scallop sauce); a vivifying salad of Chinese bellflower sprouts with a sesame cream; plus, a very freshmango, black rice and coconut milk dessert. To drink? A glass of Côtes-du-RhônefromCoste Clavelle (€5.50), chrysanthemum tea (€4.50 for a teapot) or TsingTaobeer (€4.50). À la carte €15-25. // J.G.