Japanese-Inspired Restaurants Are Stronger Than Ever in Paris

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Japanese chefs have long enjoyed the esteem of the Parisian populace. Over the last decade, chefs like Sota Atsumi have first made waves with their exceptional cuisine at the Clown Bar bistro, leaving their mark with dishes such as foie gras and duck pithivier, and veal brain in dashi and yuzu. These have become timeless classics, still often ordered at the Clown Bar. Since 2021, he has been managing his own long-awaited projects called Maison Sota, serving more elevated and refined cuisine.

The restaurant, located in the Oberkampf district in the premises of a former warehouse, resembles a private residence covered in terracotta tiles and adorned with curated design objects, such as the fennel-shaped private dining room on the ground floor. A wood-burning oven and wood-fire grills take center stage in the dining room on the second floor, separated from the rest of the space by a long counter, which is an ideal spot for solo diners. It’s the top spot to watch the smoke curling up to the vaulted ceilings and observe the passionate, efficient à la minute cooking.

Chef Atsushi Tanaka opened his intimate and highly creative restaurant, A.T, ten years ago. It received its well-deserved and long-overdue Michelin recognition seven years after opening, despite having a waiting list of bookings months in advance each season. A.T presents a personal cuisine that defies confinement to a single category. It's an aesthetically stunning restaurant, a gem in the gastronomic crown of Paris. The chef's mastery lies in seafood, fueled by an insatiable wanderlust that consistently drives his inspiration, crafting flavors that pay tribute to the unspeakable beauty of every nuance, every color, every form, and the ever-evolving tapestry of the seasons. This dance of culinary delight is enacted over a mere eight tables, accommodating a select twenty guests at a time, who are attentively served by an enthusiastic young brigade and a sommelier. The sommelier has been part of the A.T family since its inception and invariably possesses an uncanny knack for the perfect wine pairing.


The recent Michelin Guide France 2024 features a number of restaurants led by Japanese chefs. One notable example is Chakaiseki Akiyoshi, which, since its opening last year, has achieved immediate success. This establishment has become the world’s first tea-kaiseki restaurant outside Japan, blending the formalities of honzen ryori with the spirit and simplicity of Zen. Chef Yuichiro Akiyoshi, boasting a decade of experience at Kyoto’s legendary three-Michelin-starred kaiseki restaurant Hyotei under its former head chef, is ideally suited for such an ambitious and successful endeavor. Hyotei has upheld the kaiseki tradition and maintained its premier status for over four centuries.

Chef Akiyoshi tailors the menu with local fish and vegetables, and he crafts his own seasonal ponzu sauce, miso hollandaise, and tofu. The vegetables are sourced from Yamashita Farm near Les Mureaux (Yvelines), known for its exceptional produce. The chef’s specialty, shîzakana, is sabazushi—pressed sushi with mackerel that is grilled over charcoal right in front of the customers, served on a nori leaf with a shiso leaf. The meal culminates in the OCHA tea ceremony, where the traditional matcha tea ritual is meticulously prepared by the chef and served in an antique raku-type bowl crafted by Nakamura Dônen.

Chef Yuichiro Akiyoshi

Chakaiseki Akiyoshi's signature sabazushi

Chef Tomoyuki Yoshinaga, well-known among Parisian connoisseurs for authentic sushi, has been working at the Okuda premises for a few years. His eight-seat counter has been constantly booked by locals and international guests. In 2022, he encountered a potential investor among his guests, leading to an exciting development. By the following year, Chef Yoshinaga was welcoming guests to the new Sushi Yoshinaga. The restaurant, nestled between the Opéra and Paris's Japanese Quarter, dazzles with artisan ceramics designed by artist Masanobu Ando, maple wood paneling and furnishings, and seafood sourced from the Breton coast.

Chef Yoshinaga has introduced his signature dishes to Yoshinaga, featuring selections from his omakase such as perfectly dry-aged bluefin tuna, squid seasoned with lime and fleur de sel, and high-quality seaweed used in maki rolls. Alongside these favorites, he has introduced new creations and a special dessert: three variations of matcha ice cream, exclusively created by Alain Ducasse.

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