There is a certain subtlety to a well prepared Indian dish. While that may seem contradictory to many, anyone who has had a truly amazing Indian meal would be inclined to agree. The individual spices, though intense, don’t compete with one another, but rather simmer together to form one single smooth and decadent flavor. This is perhaps the most savory cuisine of them all, and when done correctly, a true luxury and shining example of comfort food. When any of the thick, brightly colored sauces seeps their way into the heaping pile of steaming hot basmati rice, or when scooped up by a hot piece of fried paratha, one experiences a real ‘melt in your mouth’ flavor. So, where can one find the best Indian food in Paris?
Welp, due to Indian food’s place in the ranks over in the western world as ‘takeout or otherwise generally convenient meal,’ it’s also a great option for a cheap feast out in the town, or even from the comfort of your own couch. It’s strange how most ethnic countries’ cuisines have become ‘street food’ in our eyes, despite what I would argue to be equal to, if not greater than levels of care and precision, patience in preparation, and quality of ingredients, but that’s a conversation for a different day. Regardless, Paris is absolutely brimming with amazing foods from Asia, due to it’s large Asian population. There are particularly notably large populations of people from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which means so much incredible food, particularly in the La Chapelle neighborhood. While perhaps not the most well-kept area of town, it’s downright authentic and worth the trip from anywhere in Paris. Check out the grocery stores, Indian clothing and jewelry shops, and this restaurant, which I think is the best Indian food in Paris, Nalas Aappakadai.
The best part? It’s so cheap. Second best? It’s BYOB.
The decor is nothing impressive, thought it’s nice to sit outside and people-watch when the weather permits. Inside, a strange juxtaposition of traditionalist Indian paintings and color-changing neon lights. The service is very friendly, however I will say that the only downside is they are simply understaffed and ill-equipped to handle a busy Friday or Saturday night. So, it’s best to avoid those times. The menu is beyond extensive, there is every option available for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
So what do I recommend? I like to get some samosas to start, and then keep it real with some basmati rice and some of their straightforward curries. The butter chicken is next level, the palak paneer, though vegetarian, is perhaps my favorite dish. The cheese in it is incredibly well done, and the spinach sauce is just fresh and decadent and wonderful. Their spicier dishes, such as their madras, are also really delicious. Be sure to ask for their ‘sauce piment,’ which is really more of a spicy pickled chutney. They’ve got milkshakes for dessert, if you can fit one, and many options for bread. Typically we go with one cheese naan and one paratha, which I much prefer to naan ever since I visited Bangladesh. I’ve never had them, but apparently they are known for their chicken lollipops appetizer.
As you can see below, the prices simply can’t be beat. But this is good food, regardless of price. I would pay more for this food, and I’m not saying that this is the best food for this price. I mean it’s better than many of the upmarket Indian restaurants here in Paris. The only downside, like I said, is that they struggle on a busy night. I don’t mind waiting, but the food sits there for a long time before it’s run to the table, and ultimately is served cold. Last Saturday, they forgot our bread completely, despite asking more than once. Someone needs to tell them that running hot food should be the first priority, it would make a big difference between me wanting and not wanting to come on a busy night. However if you head here any time from Sunday to Thursday, or even at lunch, you will leave feeling very, very satisfied. This is definitely the best Indian food in Paris.
Nalas Aappakadai, Paris 10 (Best Indian Food in Paris)
Where: 54 Rue Louis Blanc, Paris 10 | Metro: La Chapelle 2, Louis Blanc 7 + 7B, Magenta RER-E. Open: Every day, lunch and dinner (there is a lunch menu). | How Much: Less than $10, up to $16 per person. BYOB. Credit cards OK. Takes reservations. OK for kids. Outdoor seating available.