Since most travelers to Paris are understandably eager to eat French food while they’re in town, it’s not very often that I recommend foreign restaurants in the French capital. The food at Guilo-Guilo, an almost impossibly popular new Japanese place in Montmartre, is so good, however, that it more than merits an exception. A sleek interior by young French designer Christophe Pillet offers a perfect setting in which to discover the talents of remarkable Japanese chef Eichii Edakuni, who was already a major star in Kyoto before he decided to take on Paris, a city that he says “has always made me dream”.
Edakuni’s restaurant won’t be for everyone, though. For starters, it’s counter-service only, unless you reserve one of the small banquet rooms; and then there’s a single six-to-eight-dish tasting menu served nightly (the chef will propose an alternative if there’s something you can’t eat or don’t like). For gastronomically adventurous stool-sitters, however, a meal here is a series of brilliant discoveries, from the spectacular sake list to a suite of dishes that might begin with tempura of New Caledonian shrimp with corn sauce and mango, followed by a plump Gillardeau oyster paired with a deep-fried chicken liver and served with a seaweed and sesame seed salad, then white miso soup with a sardine dumpling, and finally charred mackerel with seaweed and codfish eggs. The most impressive dishes of my recent dinner, however, were the beignet of foie gras with taro root and mirin sauce and a dessert of green-tea flan made with soy milk and garnished with watermelon balls marinated in lychee liqueur. Book at least a month in advance, since this small place is a big hit.
8 rue Garreau, 18th, 01.42.54.23.92. Fixed menu €45 per person without wine
Originally published in the October 2008 edition of France Today