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