The Parisian branch of the venerable Nodaïwa restaurant (which was founded in Tokyo at the end of the Edo period, 1603-1868) sure lives up to its reputation! At the end of the time-traveling hallway that takes you straight to Japan, we frantically indulge in the ritual of unagi (grilled eel). The very Chanel décor – elegant and muted like 50 shades of beige – is perfect for tasting this slippery creature, prepared and served with the utmost care. In the lacquered red and black Satsuki bento box (€30-52 depending on weight), the eel is presented in all different forms: plain and simply grilled, with a soft and tender Japanese omelet, a small spinach salad, enoki mushrooms, pickled daikon radish and a umami-esque tofu flan; or grilled and plunged into a devilishly good soy sauce-based ancient recipe, lounging on a bed of rice that you’ll devour down to the last grain! And to end this ad astra voyage, what could be better than the dessert of the day, an astringent umeshu jelly? // C.C.
FEELING THIRSTY? A few well-chosen bottles (a Sancerre from Pascal Jolivet at €7 a glass and €43 a bottle), along with some craft Japanese beers like Hiraki (€7 for 330 ml) and best of all, Japanese sakes including the Rihaku, an elegant junmai with beautiful pale rose notes and made with black rice (€12 a glass).
PRICE: Prix-fixe menus €22-55, €68-85, à la carte €36-50.