Restaurant Passage 53, Paris

Tucked in a tacky tourist arcade just north of the Bourse is one of the very best restaurants in Paris. Chef Shinichi Sato does not cook to a menu, but varies the dishes from day to day depending on what the best seasonal ingredients available happen to be, and serving up a tasting menu of one little marvel followed by another. The charming Maître de Maison, Guillaume Guedj, is also the owner, and it shows - he ensures that everything runs smoothly ... to the point where I joked that I'd rather have had a second of the best Mont Blanc I'd ever had (my father had slipped me his tiramisu), he offered me one.

This was by far the best food we had in Paris, and a meal I rank amongst my favourite ever. And for a Two Michelin Star restaurant, almost reasonably priced.

The tiny kitchen is upstairs. It looks barely big enough to swing a cat, but I can assure you that if they ever served cat, that it would probably be delicious.

There is vintage Krug and Krug rose available by the glass, but we went for the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs.

Even though we are very light drinkers, the wines available by the glass are so well chosen that we were sorely tempted to have more, and probably would have had it not been lunchtime.

Fabulous bread, as always is the sign of an excellent restaurant. I might as well confess that the sauces of the dishes that followed were so excellent we thought 'sod it' and quite happily committed the faux pas of using the bread to mop up our plates ... until the staff noticed and started discretely adding teaspoons with each set of cutlery.

Beetroot foam over yoghurt as an amuse-bouche

The first starter: a chopped oyster on burrata cream

Crisp cauliflower over charred calamari on cauliflower purée, one of their signature dishes.

Turbot with green beans and chestnuts, which was divine and my favourite savory course.

Pan-fried scallops with cepes and a mushroom foam - Dad's favourite.

Foie grad in clam sauce with liquorice,  which was very interesting as a combination.

This is probably guineafowl we have ever had, tender flesh and crispy skin.

Dad's pintade with ravioli and white truffles - he went for the white truffle supplement. And whilst they were extremely generous with the truffles,  he's not sure he'd go for it again.

Venison as soft as butter .... the little risotto is the only thing we were not keen on from the entire menu.

Pear with finely diced celery on a sort of  extremely creamyrice pudding which included puffed  grains of rice.

Narcissus ice cream topped by elderflower crime brûlée topped by sorbet

The next three little deserts included one of the richest most delicious chocolate ganache tarts I have ever eaten.

A little pot of tiramisu and one of the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious Mont Blancs imaginable - the desert is barely related to the heavy, overly sweet concoctions served  at establishments such as Angelina.

We skipped tea or coffee as we were pleasantly full.

One quick warning. The food comes down these extremely narrow stairs, from the kitchen upstairs. That's also where the lavatories are situated - so if you need to go, go before the food starts. And if you carry extra weight, remember to go before you get to the restaurant.

A shorter menu is available at lunchtime for 60 Euros; the full tasting menu is 130 Euros, and the white truffle supplement is available with either.

Passage 53
53 Passage des Panoramas
75002 Paris, France
+33 1 42 33 04 35

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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