Although fabulous French food abounds in Paris, too many steak tartares and croque monsieurs can leave you yearning for something different. To rescue you from the Paris-Brasserie slump is this little gem of a japanese spot right on the canal, Petit Usagi. We can’t wait to grab one of these bento boxes and linger over dinner on the canal! -Geneviève
Situated on the ground floor of the new boutique Citizen Hotel, Petit Usagi is the tiny new outpost of the Northern Marais eatery, Usagi. Run by Shinsuke Kawahara, the lunch-crowd favorite serves a selection of healthy and simple Japanese options overlooking the trendy Canal Saint Martin.
The bijou yet airy and light-filled space is decorated with lots of blonde wood, cheerful touches of sunny yellow and cobalt blue, and an abundance of mini Japanese lanterns with a bunny motif (usagi means rabbit in Japanese).
Petit Usagi’s speciality is the bento box — which is essentially the Japanese version of a lunch box — providing you with protein, veggies and some kind of grain in one cute little airline-like platter. The simple, healthy bentos come in three incarnations (veggie, meat and fish) and are served with a soup of the day and tea as part of the fixed-price menu (€15-18).
The vegetarian option has tofu balls with peanut sauce and soba noodles with seasonal vegetables, whilst the fish and meat options vary daily but include delights such as salmon with black sesame or chicken curry, both served with rice. To drink, there is a shiso (Japanese basil) infusion, organic ginger infusion or green tea as part of the fixed-priced menu, or Kirin beer or wine by the glass for those on less of a detox vibe.
On the dessert menu: homemade cake, agar agar (Japanese panna cotta) and fruit compotes. The bento boxes can also be ordered for delivery for those living or working in the area, and they are a great fair-weather picnic option for al fresco dining along the canal.
96, Quai de Jemmapes (Le Citizen Hotel), 75010
Métro: Jacques Bonsergent
Open: Tues – Sun, noon – 4pm
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