Tacos & Cocktails
La Candelaria is one of the trendiest spots in Paris, there in no place like it. Somewhere where you can have the best tacos (real Mexican ones, no tex-mex) and amazing cocktails (NY style). How can such a place come to be in the heart of the Marais in Paris (52, rue Saintonge 75003) ? Two New Yorkers (Adam & Josh), One Colombian (Carina) and the gastronomic sense of a Mexican chef (Luis), came together uniting their expertise and backgrounds, Josh, Adam and Carina in the bar scene, and Luis in restaurants. The idea came from Adam and Josh (last picture) who missed the weekly tacos they had in new york and the bar scene itself, Carina(last picture) who has been in Paris more than 7 years and worked in successful bars, had enough input and experience to have the feeling that it could work and Luis (first picture) had all the expertise on making the restaurant part succeed. They started a little more than a year ago and the restaurant has proven to be a big success, open 7/7, the restaurant with service non-stop and the bar opened from 7pm, most nights the place is packed on both ends.
The uniqueness of the place is due to two things, the first one is the layout and decoration, as you come in, you have the impression that is a typical Mexican taqueria, but as you go through the door at the end of the hallway you will be in one of the hippest bars, if you come at night and eat your diner you will have a parade of people that come in and out of the “second door”, stylishly dressed and cool. The second thing is the authenticity and amazing quality in both parts, on the restaurant, everything is made with real Mexican materials and unique recipes, I see them as real tacos with a kick or French touch, because there is something gourmet about them, you can see Luis’s background on Michelin starred restaurants in there. I personally recommend the Nopal (Cactus) tostada and the Pineapple Quesadilla J, in company of Margarita of course, but if you are more into meat they have excellent daily variations. As for the bar a complete different speciality, everything is also well thought, all the materials, sauces and spices used for the customized cocktails, prepared by professional bartenders that do make an art out of a cocktail. Wether you come a to Sunday brunch to forget the Saturday night with a bloody Mary, a Margarita any day of the week or a sophisticated invention of the bar team you will not be disappointed. I only can warn you, you may become addicted to the tacos or the bar side, I tell you by experience, I am starting to call it a second home… (lol!). Not alone in the idea the place is full every night, at some hours of the night you won’t find everything in the menu because it ran out, so if diner is the priority come early!
As a last note outside the place is the story behind it, how a group of young, hard working creative people came together to make it happen, Carina shared with me the story and confessed they did not think it would be a success so fast, they were not even sure the French would love the tacos that much. “We started as 4 now we are 15”. There are plans to open a second bar, not exactly with the same concept, more lounge, music, cocktails but always with their unique touch.
Her advice if you are thinking on going on the food/bar business adventure? Do it with other people, preferably that know the business, there is a lot to do, many decisions to make and the better surrounded you are the best it will be.
The more people I interview, the more excited I get on creating something and hopefully motivating you too, a good idea well thought and put in place with support here and there can turn into something big, sometimes you just have to go for it with what you’ve got J, many examples like this will follow. In the mean time, maybe see you in La Candelaria!