Brunch in Paris just got better. Why? Tacos. And coffee. And skateboards.
I am ever on the search for the best Paris brunch spots, so when the opportunity arises to go brunching with friends on a Sunday, a-brunching we shall go.
Today’s brunch spot of choice: Cafe Chilango
While they are well established on the taco & cocktail scene, they are relatively new in the brunch-o-sphere.
They have a bright and lovingly decorated space just north of Republique, the hotbed for all things eat-worthy.
For 19 euros, you get a coffee (Cafe Lomi), fresh pressed juice, the plat du jour, and a choice of tartine or granola.
Cafe Chilango starts strong out of the gate for setting down a set of mugs so beautiful, I was immediately driven to blissful happiness just looking at them. All set up on this little tray in front of me so that I could drink everyone’s coffee before they had a fighting chance.
This is where I get brunch drunk with excitement and don’t even notice that my photos are not remotely in focus.
Wha? Were my eyes even open? I think I just squeezed my eyes shut and clicked the camera.
Because I wanted to dive into this bounty. Freshly baked granola, I can only assume straight out of the oven that morning, with fromage blanc.
You could choose a tartine instead of granola, which is really just bread with jam, and you’d be a fool for doing so. I would laugh at you and point, and then just shake my head and look at you sadly, and then eat my delicious granola while giving you a face that says “You are a shmuck and you make poor life choices”.
I was a big fan of the granola if you can’t tell.
Juice options were orange (standard), carrot ginger (now we’re talking!), or a mix of orange/carrot/ginger (boom!).
Four mixes and a carrot/ginger it is. This juice is squeezed so fresh that the carrots were being delivered as we spoke. And I can prove it.
Hey look, a crate of carrots.
Next up, the mains. I have to admit I was sorely disappointed to discover that there would be nothing egg-related in this brunch. You know how you go into brunch just dying for coffee and eggs in whatever form, and in this case, I thought someone had finally imported the much-needed breakfast taco to Paris. But we’re not that progressive yet. Good thing those mugs were so beautiful.
Three options for the main:
1. Plat du jour: Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish made of fried corn tortilla pieces that are usually topped with a green or red salsa, chicken, eggs, cheese & cream. There are two schools of thought with Chilaquiles: either you boil the crispy corn tortilla strips in the salsa to make them soft, or you leave the fried strips of tortilla to be topped with salsa & toppings to be eaten crispy. This was the soft version, and I am most definitely interested in trying what sounds to me a whole lot like breakfast nachos.
3. Stopped listening when I heard tacos
Listen muchachos, all FOUR of the guys in there were from Mexico City. A taco-lovin’ Texas girl is HARD PRESSED to find a good taco in Paris. Save for Candelaria*, the best (and only respectable) tacos you can find in Paris. (*Hang on to that nugget of info for a later not-surprising surprise.)
I have good news, and I have bad news. Let’s dive in.
The good news is, LOOK AT THESE TACOS.
They are so beautiful. Let’s look again, from down here.
Mm, that’s nice. Now let’s walk over to the Chilaquiles.
Hello, there.More Good News: Spice level was perfection. French people are incredibly sensitive to spice, so you don’t see a lot of good heat in these parts, and this was nice and spicy. We loved it.
The Bad News: I’m going to talk about Chilaquiles like I’m an expert, when I’m not. But I will say this. My first disappointment was that they were described as coming with chicken, but they showed up with no chicken. Dost thou lie to me about my Chilaquiles? Dare-est thou rob me of the authentic experience as it is meant to be?
Secondly, from what I can tell, this dish typically includes not only chicken or beef, but also…EGGS. Scrambled OR fried. It would have been the perfect dish to complement all my brunch fantasies. Had this dish included chicken and eggs, I would have just started throwing hundred euro bills around the place in a state of elation. “Tacos! Spicy salsa! AND EGGS! Hundreds for everyone!”
I have hundies on the ready at all times for occasions such as throwing and excitement.
Look, I can’t tell a dude from Mexico City how to make his Chilaquiles. I don’t know a thing about it. All I’m saying is that had there been eggs on that thing, in any form, I would have hugged everyone in the restaurant.
How could I forget? Look at this.
Spicy Chipotle peanut sauce. You heard me. Not for the faint of spicy heart. It was chipotle peanut perfection.
I naturally had no choice but to add on a piece of banana bread at the end, what with the giant hunks of chocolate taunting me from the glass case.
We devoured it instantly, like rabid dogs who had not just had a full brunch.
I had a little chat with Oliver, one of the guys who started Cafe Chilango, to get the low down. First of all, Chilango is slang for someone from Mexico City, and all of these guys are authentic Mexicanos, teaming together to bring a powerhouse combination under one roof. I noticed six key moves that make this place special and will bring you back for more.
When their forces combine: 6 Smart Choices
Power Move #1: He used to work at Cafe Lomi, known for its high quality coffee, and that’s what you’ll get as a part of your brunch menu. Paris has always been a bit lacking in the coffee arena, but there is a small coffee revolution sweeping the city, primarily spearheaded by Australians. (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)
Power Move #2: He pointed over to the chef, busy constructing a pile of tacos, and explained that for two years, he worked at Mariage Frères, considered by many (most) to be the best gourmet tea company in Paris. Top quality upon top quality.
Then there’s their wine guy, in charge of their selection of natural wines (all the rage) and craft beers (also known to be quite desirable among the peoples).
If you’re a fan of natural wines and their accompanying spunk, as is most of Paris and its wine lovers (myself included), we now have Power Move #3, natural wines & craft beers.
PM#4: All their baked goods are made in house using a special kind of organic low-Gluten wheat from Apt, located in Provence. Now all those gluten intolerants have a reason to flock towards breads and cookies and cakes. Or I can somehow convince myself that I’m eating healthy when I order one of everything.
I couldn’t help but snap a quick picture of the table next to me, even if it was slightly inappropriate, what with its beautiful bounty of food and colors. The headless guy in the blue shirt, Luis, one of the Cafe Chilango owners, is the former chef of – wait for it – Candelaria. (Worlds explode).
So he’s been cranking out the best tacos in Paris day and night, and has taken the best tacos in Paris and joined forces with a coffee master + tea master + natural wine & craft beer master + Gluten-free special wheat baker. We are up to Power Move #5, Taco Power. Extreme taco power.
Power Move #6 is the eclectic decor. (My friends broke out into fake laughter as I took this, accentuated nicely by a clutching of the chest, shoulder grab, wide open mouths and dual closed eyes, all necessary components of fake laughing.)
We are talking crucifixion skateboards.
We are talking tiny super hero figurines.
Skulls & mustaches.
And free tanning!!
So come, have a brunch, and a nap, and a tanning session. Let your mouth catch on fire from delightful regional Mexican specialties, and throw hundred euro bills around in joyful expression (but only 19 for the brunch).
82 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
01 47 00 78 95
|Tuesday||8:30 am – 1:00 am|
|Wednesday||8:30 am – 1:00 am|
|Thursday||8:30 am – 1:00 am|
|Friday||8:30 am – 1:00 am|
|Saturday||10:00 am – 1:30 am|
|Sunday||10:00 am – 6:00 pm|