121, rue Saint Honoré (1)
Hard to describe, and why bother? Twenty- four seats, sold out lunch and dinner a month ahead with a one month limit on future bookings. But so good, worth trying. Occasional openings for lunch.
Open kitchen. One (French) woman chef/owner, one Asian helper, dishwasher, three front of the house, including the Asian husband of the chef, in charge of tea pairings. Mostly French clientele. A great meal.
The buzz last year was that Yam’Tcha was temporarily closing for an expansion. Wrong. The only expansion was the chef’s family. A second baby born in April. While the restaurant was closed, it was tastefully renovated, including the menu which basically lists prices and beverage options. There are no menu choices. Every dish is over the top. The staff could not be nicer or more professional, in a professional, but friendly way. For us, a top choice in Paris.
A recent dinner at the two seat kitchen counter reconfirms our past enthusiasm. Very expensive, but in every way memorable, unusual, exceptional and fine. Beautiful to look at, better to eat. Eight unique courses, each exquisite. And a third chef in the kitchen, so now a staff of three, plus dishwasher. Worth repeat calls for a hard-to-book table.
Bittersweet. An early October (2014) dinner was our last meal at Yam’Tcha on rue Sauval. After three more services, it closes to become a tea and Chinese steamed bun take-out shop (see Brioches Vapeur a Emporter, 1st Arr.) while a new, larger (35 vs. 24 seats) restaurant is built around the corner at 123 rue St. Honore. Fingers crossed, the expansion works for the restaurant, and in terms of charm, intimacy and what remains our every-time- best-meal/experience in Paris is able to survive. They deserve to succeed and to prosper.
Yam’Tcha was our favorite restaurant in Paris when it was on Rue Sauval. Now literally around the corner on Rue St. Honore it remains our favorite restaurant, in slightly larger, but more comfortable, more refined space. The kitchen has expanded by 3x or more, allowing for the addition of a pastry chef, a third cook and prep space in the basement. Otherwise, no change, which is very good news. Never a repeat dish. Every meal better than the last. Restaurant and staff keep getting better.
Yam’Tcha now open four days, Wednesday through Saturday. Six course meal which was 120€, now 150€, and still a steal.
Technically, a fusion menu. Elegant, inventive Chinese-style French food. Tasting menu only. No choice.
100€, multiple courses at dinner and most lunches. Several days a week, a 60€ lunch. One course better than another. A Michelin 1- star. In every way deserved.
Our most recent dinner: Fried shrimp wonton, salad with Spanish ham and quail egg, scallops, foie gras and oyster with potato, steamed sea bass with chili pepper and black bean, chicken breast over shitake mushrooms, cheese- filled steamed Chinese bread, Pavlova with grapes and sherbet, chocolate filled rice balls
There is a great deal of food, served in 10 or so small courses. It is a long evening. For us, this is the perfect restaurant. And it has gotten better, if such a thing is possible.
Still a hard table, but 68 lucky folks succeed every day. The French version of Nexflix “Chef’s Table” has done an episode (with subtitles) on the chef and her family. Next best thing to being there.
Attentive, proper, friendly. English- speaking.
Tea pairings offered at 25€. Wine and tea combination pairings at 35€. Wines only, 45€.
Lunch 60€ on some days. And lunch on other days and dinner, 120€. No choice. (They know better anyway!)
The food could not be better, the fixed meal more interesting or diverse, the paired wines more tasty or generously poured, or the service more intelligent, solicitous and genuinely warm.
The legendary American food authority James Beard was once asked, “Mr. Beard, what is your favorite restaurant?” He famously responded, “Why madam, it is the same as yours, a restaurant where I am loved.”
We feel loved at Yam’Tcha, but that took time. We became familiar clients because we returned trip after trip to experience warm hospitality, beautiful French/Asian food consistently executed and served at the highest standards by lovely people who hardly change year to year.
Our 2019 lunch confirmed – once again – that this is our favorite Paris restaurant still. Book early. (And if you fail to book, or fail to land a precious table, consider an impromptu lunch at the Boutique around the corner on Rue Sauval, the original Yam’Tcha location, where they serve tea and steamed buns (bao), including the “cheese course” at the restaurant.)
Or try the newest offshoot, a more overtly Asian casual restaurant and take-out, Café Lai‘Tcha, across the new Les Halles Park accessible from Rue Sauval at 7 Rue du Jour (around the corner from the 24 hour Au Pied du Cochon.)
(12x+) (2012 – 2019)