Chez Van looks a bit more than a hole in the wall in the 13th arrondissement of Paris (bordering the 5th), but inside one finds a heaven of regional Lanzhou food (north-western corner of China).
Secrets behind this popular restaurant are numerous. Madame Van hand-pulls the noodles in the kitchen and if you get a table at the rear end you may get a glimpse of her. Lunch menu costs 10€. At dinner you pay 2€ more. A la carte options are available, too, but most customers opt for these delicious unlimited meals. We have visited Chez Van twice in the past month and both dinners have been delicious. Everything is quite speed. At first the vegetarian nems arrive, followed by delicious “mini pizzas” (beef, pork or vegetarian). I think my favorite is mini pizza of beef, which has leek in it. So yummy, so original! After the nems and the pizzas, a huge plate of raviolis is served. Again, the choice is between pork, beef and vegetarian. I really like the raviolis because they taste homemade and light (I really dislike when food soaks in oil). The meat tastes of good quality.
Excited and hungry, we are getting explanations from the manager about the sauces and what goes with which dish. The famous noodles come in the end. Sauteed or soup; beef, pork, chicken or seafood, these are the questions. Everything looks really tasty. So far we have tasted three types of noodles and my favorite is noodles with sesame sauce and cucumber. My husband has had noodles with beef with carrot, and noodles with shrimp, both excellent. We have never been able to order additional food but you do have a right to eat as much as you like –just don’t leave anything on your plate as you may be charged for it!
- Eating at Chez Van is a lot of fun –and messy (do not wear a white shirt)! It is a lovely addition to the Parisian restaurant scene and I believe that the 10/12€ menus are the best deals one can get in Paris for food this delicious. So, hurry up before everyone hears about this place and Madame Van doubles her prices.
- Reserve or arrive very early.
- If you do not get a table, then order take away.
- The wine list has nice choices, including many organic wines. We opted for a pichet of rosé from Var, south of France, and thought it paired very well with what we ate.
CHEZ VAN: 65 Boulevard Saint-Marcel, 75013 Paris. Tel. 01 43 37 05 97. Metro: Les Gobelins.
Review by Le Fooding: http://lefooding.com/en/restaurants/restaurant-chez-van-paris
I could just give away half of the greek island I own, for a portion of those raviolis! 🙂
Please don’t! I think the return of investment is better and more long term on the island 😉
I was right around there when I was in Paris! Will definitely go next time. I loved the 13th and 5th arrondissements, such a cool area. 🙂
Oh, where did you stay exactly? I used to live in the 5th before (now in the 4th).
I was at 2 AirBnB places in Ivry-sur-Seine, one nearer Glaciere (not sure if that’s actually Ivry-sur-Seine) and one down by Pierre et Marie Curie station, but I spent most of my time in the city in the 13th and in the Latin quarter and loved it. I just thought the area was so interesting, it seemed to me like what the heart of such a famous city should be, not the touristy crap. At least, that’s the kind of thing I look for in a city. If I went to live in Paris, I think I’d definitely prefer that area. 🙂
thank you for this nice blog and especially these posts, I just love the restaurant posts about Paris! You wrote once that you often visit typical “french-style” bistros, also affordable ones. We are coming for a visit to Paris in November, and I would like to bring my guests, who have never been there before, to a typical but not expensive corner-place/bistrot -type of restaurant, with nice atmosphere and food although can be more modest also (nothing too fancy needed). Do you have some recommendations?
Hi Annie, are you looking for a specific arrondissement? Will you be a big group of ppl (some places don’t take reservations)? Let me know please and I will suggest some places! Good night 🙂
We will be 4 people, sometimes even just 2, I hope 🙂 So not a big group. We are staying mostly in the eastern parts, living in Belleville-Menilmontant area, but we like to explore so we dont really mind where the places are! Thank you for kind help!
Oh I just typed up a long list and it disappeared, argh!! You will have to google the address yourself, sorry 😉
I will just mention areas.
All of these places are affordable unless otherwise indicated (La Palette could be more but I usually just have a coffee or a drink).
CAFE JANOU (near Place des Vosges): young, trendy, Mediterranean food, old Paris feeling. Always very busy but you can wait at the bar if you don’t have a reservation.
CAFE CONSTANT (Eiffel): a bit more expensive but still affordable if you are coming from Finland (are you?). Excellent food. No reservations.
LE CAFE DU MARCHE (Eiffel): always very busy, salads and other simple dishes. Terrace.
CHEZ GLADINES: Popular among students. Duck and other Basque specialties. Snails too.
LA PALETTE (St Germains des Pret): I haven’t eaten here for a long time but you could go in just for a coffee or a drink. It’s old Paris again visited by Hemingway and Picasso. Very pretty. Terrace (drinks always more expensive at terrace!).
CHARTIER (Grands Boulevards): in every guidebook. Touristic but very pretty inside. Old Paris. Food ok’ish.
LE BARON ROUGE: https://pearlspotting.com/2013/11/16/aperitif-hour-at-le-baron-rouge/
Near Bastille/Marche d’Aligre.
A cute wine bar. Also serves charcuterie and cheese.
Hope this helps 🙂 Have fun!!
Thank you so much, this was so kind of you! Extremely helpfiul, we will for sure visit some of these places! I will report then how we found them. To one I have actually been to, the Chartier. The place and the atmosphere were for sure interesting and very lively, food did not make an impression though. But I still think one needs to show this place to people visiting for first time 🙂
Wish you a nice autumn!
Hey Annie, you are welcome 🙂
I can send you another list of more expensive places if you like (since you mentioned affordable/cheap, I only chose these ones).
Yeah, I think Chartier is fun “once in a lifetime” but one should stick to snails, onion soup, or something very simple 🙂 We took my parents there on a Saturday afternoon and we had a lot of fun. I think my Dad ate some pork legs or pork ears and we finished two bottles of wine 😉
When is your trip? It was 25C over the weekend here!!!
Our trip is soon, in a week already! And we have difficulties deciding.. I would really be tempted to show Chartier, but as the food is what it is. On the other hand Chez Gladines sounds really good! And then we were recommended by someone who used to live there, a place called montparnasse 1900, any views on that? We dont have so much time together so no chance to test many of them 🙂
Hope you are feeling better already!
It is 20C today so maybe you will be lucky with weather 🙂
Since you have been to Chartier, try something new. It is difficult to say where to go bc I don’t know what kind of a group of ppl you will be… I have not eaten at Montparnasse 1900 so cannot really comment. I have been to other famous old brasseries like La Coupole, Bofinger etc and yet they can be fun and beautiful, I have always been slightly disappointed. They are often quite touristic (like Chartier). However, if you choose a brasserie, why not le Train Bleu?
The world’s most beautiful restaurant, located at the Gare de Lyon train station (make sure to get a table on the rails side!). They are touristic too but I bet the food will be a bit better. According to Tripadvisor it is better rated than Montparnasse 1900.
Chez Gladines I would go with a boyfriends, friends, to have a relaxed “all you want to drink wine” evening whereas Le Train Bleu and others are more sophisticated with white table cloths. I would take my parents or grandparents to Le Train Bleu (I actually organized my Mom 50th birthday at La Coupole!) 🙂
It depends what you are looking for! Let me know what you decide and ask your hotel to reserve for you.
Have a great trip and look forward to hearing your impressions!