There is a great variety of Japanese restaurants in Paris today.
Soba noodles, ramen, rice balls, teppanyaki, kushiage, sandwiches... a variety of Japanese restaurants have opened over the past few years and all seem to be very successful.
The number of French-owned restaurants in particular has increased since the lockdown, and they have become a place of relaxation for Parisians who "can't get to Japan very often".
These people are not only looking for the taste, but also the "atmosphere" of Japan.
What impresses French people who have travelled to Japan?
In addition to the scenic beauty of nature, cleanliness and the warmth of the people, many of them mention 'izakaya' (Japanese style pubs).
This is no wonder, as most restaurants in Paris have a relaxed atmosphere, and you usually order starters, main courses and desserts in that order.
For French people, a restaurant is a place where they go for a solid dinner.
Therefore, Japanese izakayas, where you can casually order a la carte, seem to be fresh and interesting in their eyes.
The homely and nostalgic atmosphere was also very appealing, and a succession of izakayas have appeared in the centre of Paris.
Jinchan Shokudo in the 12th arrondissement of Paris is a hotspot with the atmosphere of The Izakaya.
It was opened in 2019 by the owners, a Japanese-French couple who want people to know how good izakaya are and to come here casually.
Initially, the restaurant was set meal-style, but in 2021 it was renovated into a retro izakaya with nostalgic Showa-era posters and signs decorating the walls.
As the restaurant aims to be a casual place to visit, the prices at Jinchan Shokudo are set at a reasonable level.
So, even though it was the middle of August vacation, the restaurant was packed with French customers and filled with tremendous enthusiasm.
The menu includes a la carte snacks such as chilled tofu, edamame (green soybeans) and salmon skin chips, as well as karaage donburi (fried chicken) and other dishes that retain the atmosphere of a teishoku-ya.
Salmon skin chips
The people who work here are also very international.
Some of the young people have been studying Japanese for years, so of course you can order in Japanese.
Whenever someone arrives at the restaurant, fluent Japanese is exchanged, such as "2 persons, please! and fluent Japanese is exchanged every time someone comes in, and the atmosphere of an izakaya seems to be recreated in even the smallest details.
The most popular dish at Jinchan Shokudo is karaage donburi.
It goes without saying that karaage is popular in France, but the reason for the popularity of the rice bowl is also said to be the 'deliciousness of the rice'.
For example, Jin-chan Diner goes to the trouble of ordering Niigata Koshihikari rice from Japan and cooks it in a gas rice cooker.
The owners say that because many of their customers are young people, they want them to eat to their heart's content.
According to the Japanese chef, the recent sake boom has spurred the popularity of izakaya in Paris.
For this reason, Japanese izakayas such as Jinchan Shokudo have a wide range of sake on the menu, and you can even see French people enjoying SAKE in wine glasses instead of ochoko (cups of sake).
Many French people do not know what an izakaya is, so they explain to them that it is similar to the tapas style in Spain.
Indeed, the number of tapas-style bistros is increasing in Paris, and the French, who used to be conservative, are becoming less reluctant to accept a la carte menus.
The appearance of a popular izakaya with a retro atmosphere in Paris is great news for Japanese living in France.
Incidentally, Jinchan Shokudo plans to open a second restaurant, called Jinchan Yokocho, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris at the end of this year.
The restaurant will focus on Japanese curry and rice, which is popular throughout Europe.
Japanese food pleasing Parisians with discerning palates will continue to gain momentum in 2022!
154 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine 75012, Paris