Zen Japanese Restaurant

Restaurant Zen is located 950 meters from the Relais du Louvre and is an excellent address for an affordable Japanese lunch. We tested it for you.

We go there at lunchtime without booking, and I’d recommend you come before 12:30 p.m. as the place has a good reputation and there can be a queue. The restaurant is also open in the evening, but the address lends itself more to lunch than dinner.

The restaurant is located very close to the Palais Royal, which is absolutely worth a stroll as the place is as charming as it is culturally instructive. Read our article: https://www.relaisdulouvre.com/le-palais-royal-pres-du-relais-du-louvre/

Restaurant japonais Zen

As with many Asian restaurants, service is fast and efficient. Placed immediately on arrival, we had the menu in our hands shortly afterwards. The decor of the dining room is correct, clean, without a lack of taste, but I wouldn’t say it has any particular charm.

Restaurant japonais Zen

We noticed that the staff were exclusively Japanese, which is worth noting in view of the many Japanese restaurants in Paris run by Chinese people.

Restaurant japonais Zen

We find the traditional “itamae” behind the counter (rightmost in the photo), whose name is Mitsuru Yamada. An itamae (板前) is a chef in Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, sashimi, maki… The term “itamae” literally translates as “in front of the board”, referring to the cutting board on which the chef prepares sushi. An itamae is much more than a chef, he’s a master in the art of sushi, respected for his expertise, dedication and ability to transform simple ingredients into a gastronomic experience.

The menu is priced at 26€ and includes an appetizer, a small sashimi, miso soup followed by a dish of fried fish, fried chicken or pork, or breaded shrimp. The menu also offers a variety of dishes at around €20, as well as assortments of sushi, sashimi, maki and chirashi.

We chose the menu.

A little appetizer that’s a simmered soybean. It’s cooked in seaweed juice and garnished with lotus roots.
A trio of sashimi featuring salmon, red tuna and sea bream. The fish is impeccably fresh.
Miso soup preceding our grilled fish

Miso soup is made by heating dashi broth, then adding cubes of tofu and rehydrated wakame seaweed. Next, miso paste is dissolved in a little hot broth before being incorporated into the rest of the soup. Finally, the soup is served hot, garnished with thinly sliced green onions.

Grilled salmon with miso

The miso caramelizes slightly on the grill. The fish is seared quickly so that it melts in your mouth. It’s really very good. It is served with mashed potatoes mixed with mayonnaise.

Mackerel, of course, has a stronger taste and is served grilled and simply salted.
Daifuku Mochi

I then really enjoyed the Daifuku Mochi. The Mochi, which is flavored with cinnamon, is infused with mugwort, giving it a green color and a slightly herbaceous flavor. It is served with camamelized sweet potato.

Cheese, tofu and soya milk cake, homemade jam

The cheesecake is even more flattering on the palate, yet very light. These two desserts lead us to strongly recommend that you finish your meal with a little sweetness.

In conclusion, this is a well-located address, with a very appropriate setting, quality products and a very well-interpreted daily cuisine for a very appropriate price. It’s the perfect place for a pleasant lunch. Bon appétit!

8, rue de L’échelle – 75001 Paris

19, rue des Prêtres-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois
75001 Paris

+33 (0)1 40 41 96 42


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