Searching for My Lost Shaker of Salt in Paris

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Mr. N is in Paris on business and I tagged along.  We haven’t travelled without the children in 3 years and absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?  I absolutely adore Paris and any excuse to go there, however weak, works for me.

One of our favourite places to eat is this dive in the Marais called Candelaria.  (Did I mention I love Mexican food??)  A Mexican taqueria and bar run by Colombians, Candelaria serves up a good taco and (just as importantly) a delicious Margarita.

taco sign

The eating area is quite small and seating capacity is only 12 people.  Customers sit at the bar on rickety stools and at a family style table.  We’ve taken our children to eat there (the food isn’t spicy) and we’ve had to eat with them on our laps or face a really long wait for 4 seats to open up together.


People just wait in a queue going out the door.  The staff ensure no one cuts the queue (an endemic problem in France after all).  Every time I’ve been there the clientele has been mainly American and French.


The menu likewise is limited but the food is yummy.  We’ve tried pretty much everything on the menu and none of it disappoints.  The chef wears a jaunty bandanna and his workstation is at the end of the bar where he dices, chops and cooks away.  I admit I’m a bit neurotic and ordinarily this sort of place would automatically bring to food poisoning concerns.  The Candelaria staff, however, have the whole thing down pat.


Now, back to those Margaritas.  They are made with (lots of) a decent brand of tequila (El Jimador).  The glass rim is dipped in a concoction of salt, lime and chiles which cuts the salty taste with a slight kick.  I’m liking this blend so much I’m going to try and replicate it at home because it’s much tastier than plain salt.


You access the bar area from a little door at the end of the counter.  Unfortunately, you do have people passing through the tiny eating area to get to the bar.  From what I could tell, very few people seemed to go in the other direction.  Probably because

“there was booze in the blender, and soon it will render, that frozen concoction that helps me hang on.”
Jimmy Buffet, Margaritaville

margarita mix

Although the bar area was easily 3x the size of the eating area, the room was heaving and smoky.  Also, the bar stays open very late and is one of the trendy after-club places.

Having no interest in meeting any trendy youngsters, we retired to a charming little restaurant down the street at 13 Rue de Saintonge, called Massimo & Rose.


I’d spotted Massimo & Rose on the way to Candelaria and loved the decor.  There was hardly anyone there so who knows how long it will stay in business.  The titular Massimo, who is behind the bar, definitely has great style.  His restaurant is a mix of vintage finds lit by candlelight and mirrors – lots of drama and romance!

candle and table

The chaise longue in the window is perfect for catching the evening breeze.

chaise longue

One table is insouciantly propped up by books.  It’s pretty typical of the carefully yet seemingly thrown together decor.

legless table

Candelaria is supposed to be the best taqueria in Paris.  If you have been, what did you think?  Did you leave singing Margaritaville and searching for your lost shaker of salt?

You can comment below or tweet me @nylonliving.  You can also find more photos of these two places on my Flickr page.

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