Luis Rendón is my new favorite person in Paris. And the guy who makes the tortillas is my second favorite (I suppose if I got his name, he might be the first.) But it’s Luis behind the great Mexican fare at Candelaria, a narrow slip of a place in the upper Marais that serves authentic Mexican food.

adding masa hefting tortilla dough

Lately there’s a new openness, a willingness to try something new in Paris, and to take other cuisines seriously. When I moved here nearly a decade ago, the Japanese restaurants on the rue Saint Anne were nearly empty and never, ever in a million years (or even ten years, for that matter) would I have imagined that there would be several excellent Mexican restaurants to choose from in several neighborhood.

But here we are right now, and it’s encouraging to see them not filled with folks from elsewhere hoping for a taste of home, but young people happily slurping udon or soba, and yes, even picking up burritos and jamming them in their craw. (Although I still don’t have to worry much about having to share my hot sauce with other diners in the vicinity. Except for my friend Fréderic, who can easily outdo me in burrito and taco consumption. Good lord, can that man eat.)

tortillas and dough

And no one is happier to see it than me. And, of course, the diners at Candelaria.

jarritos soda salsa dish

Mexican cuisine was given UNESCO heritage status at the same time that French dining was – as well as falconry, Croatian gingerbread craft, and the Kirkpinar Oil-Wrestling Festival, which sounds kind of, um…interesting…and perhaps will come to Paris next. One can only hope.

canderlaria cooks

But for now, the only oil I’m interested in is that used to fry the house made tortillas, which are made each morning by mixing the masa harina by hand with a blend of herbs, then either using them after they’re deep-fried as a base for tostadas or for chips to dip in guacamole and salsa. Or else served soft, to wrap up sautéed spicy meats or melting cheese with strips of green chiles layered inside for warm taco fillings.

more tacos beers

Candelaria has been welcomed by the cocktail crowd, too, because behind the plain white wooden door in the back of the taqueria is a full-on cocktail bar; lively, crowded, and has become quite the hot spot. On my only visit back there, aside from easily being the oldest person in attendance, I forgot my woes over an excellent Guêpe verte (green hornet), an iced drink made of tequila infused with a jolt of bracing fresh lime juice, chiles, cooling cucumber, spices, and agave, although Josh the bartender/owner told me there are a few new drinks with chiles in them, which I need to go back and try.

hot sauce fried tortillas

I am starting to become more interested in cocktails, but I have to watch myself because if I drink too many, I’ll lose track of how many tacos I’m eating. (Although they don’t serve food in the cocktail bar, except on Sunday night.) So I’m trying decide if I should make it my regular hangout on Sundays, or if I’m better off staying away those evenings.


Because a number of us are happy to see places like Candelaria opening up here, and not just Americans and Mexicans, the place has gotten pretty busy.

candelaria window half-eaten taco

One of the issues restaurants face in Paris is that many are small and can only seat a certain amount of people. Because they only have a finite amount of spots for diners, naturally if a lot of people show up, seats will be scarce.

cheese tacos

Thankfully they’re started doing take-out and they’ve extended their hours. But it’s not traditional in France to give people their check until they ask for it—it’s considered rude, like saying “Scram!” And diners tend to hang out, chatting, even when others are waiting.

salsa spiced black bean brownies

So your best chances of getting a seat are at off-hours, like mid-afternoon or outside traditional meal times. And if you see me waiting, I’d appreciate it if you’d ask for l’addition when you’re done eating.

The menu changes from day-to-day, and from lunch to dinner, according to whatever they feel like making. They also have vegetarian options, too. And Mexican beer.

black bean brownies

And brownies. Ah yes, the brownies.

eggs measuring cup

The spiced Black Bean Brownies may not be traditionally Mexican, but since I’m an American eating in a Mexican restaurant in Paris where a chef is Peruvian and the brownie-maker is British, just take a bite and I’m sure you’ll agree that these brownies are a very compelling argument for globalization.

mixing brownies

The chocolate brownies are adapted from Heidi’s recipe for Black Bean Brownies, and boy, are they good! The first time I tried one, I’d had dinner with friends and felt like something sweet. Spotting the tray of dark-dark brownies on the counter, with moist, shiny centers, I just had to order one, and I was so glad I did.

Alison comes early in the day to mix them up. Because the kitchen is tiny, she had to share space with Luis and the tortilla-maker. So she’s melting chocolate, cracking eggs, and whipping everything up as best as she can in the space provided, and she invited me in one morning to hang out and watch her make them.

What’s funny is that I was asking her about how much spices she puts in the brownies. She showed me her recipes, which uses star anise and some chile powder and when I questioned how much, she said “Oh, about half a teaspoon, or whatever, you know..” which struck me as funny because I was translating some of my recipes into French and realized that I could cut out about half the instructions for French cooks.

brownie batter mixing chocolate

For caramel, I just had to say, “Caramelize the sugar” instead of “Put the sugar in a pot. Heat it over low heat, stirring gently, etc…” and people would know what I meant. The French measure spices and leaveners using regular “coffee” and soup spoons, not specific measuring spoons, and it always makes me smirk a bit when I read tests from the states about how one scale is .0005 degrees more accurate than another, or how various measuring cups can be off by 1/4 teaspoon that others, and everyone wringing their hands about what bakers should do and how life will go on as we know it?

1:2 teaspoon melted chocolate for brownies

¡Ay caramba! Of course, measuring is important, but baking is actually not as precise as people think it is, and it’s nice to be more relaxed about things and enjoy the process rather than get all worked up about the tiniest of details. And when in doubt—just add more chocolate.

blending in eggs scooters outside

I was offered a brownie and foolishly, I didn’t take it. But I had plans to come back that day for lunch which was in about an hour, and wanted to make sure I had plenty of stomach space reserved for those tacos.

When I came back (a little early), Luis was getting everything ready for lunch and piling cheese and chiles directly on the griddle, and smearing crisp tortillas with black bean puree and queso fresco (hey, where’d he get that in Paris?) – and I waited patiently at the counter for my spicy sausage (picadillo) tostadas and tacos, along with a real, honest-to-goodness Mexican grapefruit soda.

Alison making brownies rolling tortilla

The two gal-pals from California that I befriended at the counter, one of them said, “Oooh…my lips are tingling!” which is the desired effect of Mexican seasonings, for many of us. And while other places have “toned it down” with respect for local tastes, everyone here seems to be happy with the heat.

taco time! eating tacos

I was hoping that Photoshop had a “Remove Turkey Neck” setting, but then I remembered that when eating tacos, you’re not really supposed to be concerned about what you looked like and I dove right in, too. But maybe we can call it “Taco Neck”, which I’m sure I’ve gotten from eating so many tacos.

52, rue de Saintonge (3rd)
Tél: 01 42 74 41 28

[Update: Luis Rendón has left Candelaria and opened his own restaurant and café, Café Chilango at 82, rue Folie de la Méricourt, which serves authentic, and excellent, Mexican fare.]

candelaria sign

Related Links and Posts

Tacos y Tortillas

Mexican Restaurants in Paris


Candelaria (Croque Camille)

Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream

Candelaria Taqueria and Tequila Bar (

Candelaria (Facebook)

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  • May 23, 2011 7:47pm

    Looks fantastic! Wish there was a place like this in my neck of the woods. Have a toastada for me please.

  • May 23, 2011 7:53pm

    I went here for my birthday a few weeks ago – it was AMAZING, made this expat feel right at home

  • Quinne
    May 23, 2011 8:00pm

    Hi David,

    So I couldn’t tell from the pictures but does Luis use his hands to make his tortillas or a tortilla press? I use a tortilla press but they can only get so big. I guess that is the standard size…wish I could get them bigger.

  • May 23, 2011 8:10pm

    Ate there a few weeks ago. Loved it. Small and off the beaten path. Loved it. It was a change from all the cheese and bread and crepes. Don’t get wrong there is nothing wrong with French bread and cheese but good Mexican food is good food anywhere.

  • Kelly
    May 23, 2011 8:14pm

    It looks great! I love Jarritos mandarin soda. I’ve never tried the grapefruit. I hope they have that flavor at my supermarket.

  • Eva
    May 23, 2011 8:44pm

    It’s considered rude in Mexico to bring you the check until you ask, just like in France….

  • May 23, 2011 8:54pm

    I’ve eaten here and it was really good. I wish the place were larger though–maybe some day. Also, I would have loved to have had a margarita with my tacos but it wasn’t possible. I wouldn’t have minded a side of refried beans either. But I will go back.

  • May 23, 2011 9:04pm

    I went there for my birthday in April and they treated us to one of those brownies, big enough for us to share! Everything was great.

  • May 23, 2011 10:37pm

    go Paris with the Mexican boom…wonder when NYC’s mexican restaurants are going to step it up. Even the good ones aren’t that creative.

  • Susan
    May 23, 2011 10:43pm

    It’s good that Paris is enjoying other countries foods. It offers a sort of adventure and cooking inspiration, if nothing else!
    I think folks new to cooking and without someone to show them how, are the ones that want a lot of the detail in a recipe. I’ve learned as I’ve cooked for a while now that baking isn’t as precise as some folks believe. Geez..look at the number of same-named recipes with different amounts of the same ingredients, leaveners included, and you wonder why so many believe it’s an absolutely precise science! Yes, some recipes are better than others depending on the proportions, but most work. You probably want that precision if you’re making it for resale and repeat patronage, though.

  • May 23, 2011 10:50pm

    Oh man, you’re killing me. I adore Mexican food and this looks absolutely incredible. If you’re ever in Miami, though, there’s a great Mexican place and I will happily have a taco showdown with you!

  • May 23, 2011 11:24pm

    As much as I love French food, I can definitely appreciate the need for a good taco every now and then. Glad to see that the Paris restaurant scene continues to globalize.

  • May 23, 2011 11:31pm

    Grapefruit is my favorite Jarritos, too! :)

  • May 23, 2011 11:41pm

    Another fantastic sounding place to eat. you really have a knack of finding them. If I ever visit Paris I won’t know where to begin at all!!

  • May 24, 2011 12:44am

    I’m partial to jamaica Jarritos.
    Great review, the place sounds absolutely charming.
    Love star anise and chile with chocolate – ooh!
    Sorry about your neck.

  • May 24, 2011 12:47am

    Thank you for saying that baking isn’t as exact as some people think. I had a customer who was absolutely livid that I suggested there wouldn’t be a terrible difference between 9.5 ounces of chocolate 10 ounces of chocolate in her cake. (the issue of course being that the chunks that we had were all just barely under 10 oz pieces.) I asked her if she had a scale, which she replied she did not, and then I more or less accused her of not being as avid of a baker as she thought she was, or else she would have one. It wasn’t one of my finer moments in retail/customer service.

  • May 24, 2011 1:51am

    Muy Bueno!! This post is right up my alley with my tortilla addiction. As a matter of fact, I just finished a turkey taco dinner. I hadn’t thought of adding herbs to my tortillas. What a great idea! I always learn something new here. Thanks!

  • cheryl S
    May 24, 2011 2:46am

    Hi David,
    So, did you ever go back for the black bean brownies?
    If you did, what spice or spices do you think were in those brownies? Maybe cinnamon or 5 spice?
    I’d love to give them a try.

  • Margit Van Schaick
    May 24, 2011 2:54am

    Enjoyed today’s post a great deal. Wonderful photos! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, and just want to tell you how much I value your posts. When several days go by without something new, I worry a bit that you might wonder just how many people really care . This is related to your comment to the NY Times concerning the massive recipe sites. so, I want to thank you for what you do and to tell you I truly appreciate your work!

  • May 24, 2011 3:25am

    haha! i hope someday to sport a taco neck. i have been lucky enough to travel/backpack in mexico a fair amount, and so have developed some mexican food snobbery. it’s hard for me to accept a tortilla NOT patted together at 5 am by an abuelita who doesn’t like me as authentic…but i have to say this post made my mouth water. good for paris!

  • Eric
    May 24, 2011 4:32am

    I think it’s more like a “tostada neck”. Anyway, food looks delicious :)

  • May 24, 2011 4:32am

    I seriously think Candelaria will be my first stop when I will be in Paris (which is in June).

    Gracias for sharing your love for Mexican food.

  • Al
    May 24, 2011 7:10am

    This post had me salivating and in giggles throughout due to your lovely writing as always, and more than just authentic, the food looks delicious!
    Iif it’s in a small place, a writeup by David Lebovitz is surely increasing the the line/wait in the future. Oh, and what a lovely idea to put herbs in the masa!

    Don’t worry your neck does not have the hanging folds of skin which would make it a true turkey neck, it looks more toned than that, I should consider myself fortunate if when I reach a certain age my neck looks like that!

  • May 24, 2011 7:35am

    “The spiced Black Bean Brownies may not be traditionally Mexican, but since I’m an American eating in a Mexican restaurant in Paris where the chef is Peruvian and the brownie-maker is British, just take a bite and I’m sure you’ll agree that these brownies are a very compelling argument for globalization.” = one of the funniest things you have written in a while. I love it that you can now get good/real Mexican food in Paris!

    Your comments reminded me of a time when I taught a Mexican cooking class to Japanese women in Taiwan. True Story.

  • May 24, 2011 10:06am

    great pics really, looks sooooooo tasty and I love that cooks are men, really it is hot.

  • May 24, 2011 10:09am

    Chuckling about the “spoon” for measuring. Here in Luxembourg prescription directions are written in French and almost always the dose is one ‘cuillère.’ Which may not be a huge deal in cooking, but made me a bit uncomfortable when it came to dosing my small children. So, I looked in my utensil drawer at the huge variety of spoon sizes (who knew!) and decided to take a sampling into the pediatrician. I’m sure she thought I was a nutter. But now I know what a “spoon” is!

  • May 24, 2011 10:21am
    David Lebovitz

    Katy + Liz: When ScharffenBerger chocolate started making baking bars, they were (and still are) 9.7 ounces, or 275 grams; I think it was because the molds were European, they had to be that size. For recipe that call for 10 ounces of chocolate, people weren’t sure if they should buy another bar- but the owner of the company would just tell people to use a 9.7 ounce bar instead. (Perhaps they could have used it as a ploy to sell a second bar of chocolate, though!)

    The French use cuillère à café (coffee spoon) and “soup spoon” for teaspoon/tablespoon measurements, too. Some readers have asked for more precise measurements and the page lists an American teaspoon as 4,929ml, and I don’t even think my scale is that precise : )

    cherylS: There’s star anise, cinnamon, and chile powder in them. They also add a bit more chocolate, too.

    Quinn: The cook who makes the tortillas uses a press, mostly because he has to make so many and doesn’t have the time to pat them all out. He does portion them by hand and I’m thinking of gifting him a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to make the task a little speedier for him.

    Eva: It is pretty funny. I was just in the US and waiters would put down the check the minute they brought me the meal, usually because in the states, folks are used to doing things more quickly. It does seem a little ‘abrupt’ if you’re not used to it, although it’s just considered normal and many folks in America like it because we can leave when we want without having to flag down a waiter – which can take a little time, in Mexico and in France, too.

  • Sam
    May 24, 2011 11:15am

    I’m both happy and frightened that you’ve written about Candelaria. It’s my weekend/weekday/at least twice a week hangout because the food there is like a drug it’s so yummy. But the amount of attention this place is getting, rightfully so, is making this less and less comfortable.

    Btw, got my portion servings worked through so I know how much I can eat and still have space for those brownies. That took a bit of time.

  • May 24, 2011 11:31am
    David Lebovitz

    Hi Sam: I don’t usually write about new or “hot” restaurants because most of them in Paris are already operating at full-capacity. But I did consider that because of the size of this place, and did put an advisement in the post that people should really try to go during off hours. I did also talk to the owners of Candelaria about an increase in business and they said that they now do take-out and are open later, too.

    Others have written about the place (including various blogs and US newspapers) and they’ve had a few months to find their footing. And I also assume that most of the people eating at Candelaria are locals – expat or Parisian – since I don’t know if people coming from out of town come to Paris to eat Mexican food (even though it’s very good). So hopefully mentioning it here won’t impact it too much, even though there may be a bump in business.

  • May 24, 2011 12:40pm

    Terrific! I arrive in Paris and you turn me on to a place that’s closed today! LOL
    Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

  • Lisa
    May 24, 2011 12:59pm

    Please, please, I beg you. Next time you go there will you politely ask them to open a branch in Geneva? We are many, many Mexican-food-starving ex-pats here.

  • anna
    May 24, 2011 1:39pm

    reminds me a bit of the black soybean sweets you find in japan. people here throw them in cakes all the time, leaving them whole to showcase their special taste and texture. i have yet to see them in brownies so will have to try adapting this recipe.

  • May 24, 2011 1:45pm

    I have suddenly got this urge and love for REAL mexican food – not the ‘sizzling fajitas and nachos’ that most places serve. I have just got Thomasina Miers (with the mexican restaraunt Wacha) new mexican book, and I can’t wait to work my way through it!!

    Oh, I would go on the Sundays if I was you! Cocktails AND food!

  • May 24, 2011 1:48pm

    Traditional Mexican food in Paris sounds a little crazy, but after reading this post I believe it! And I have to say, I love your argument about measuring for baking not having to be 100% on point every.single.time. I’ve learned to love it even more ever since I started eyeballing things a little more. And I’ve found that the treats come out tastier then too!

  • May 24, 2011 2:04pm

    I had a wonderful lunch at Candelaria last week. Fantastic!

  • May 24, 2011 4:53pm

    You have convinced me. I just might have to eat Mexican the next time I’m in Paris. At least the black bean brownies – miam!

  • Doukissa
    May 24, 2011 5:15pm

    It all looks so good and tasty. Too bad they didn’t go all out and do up the kitchen in the traditional Mexican style for real effect. Somehow, it just makes you appreciate the food that much more.

  • May 24, 2011 6:18pm

    This place looks amazing! We are mexican food starved here in Miami too – I eat as much as I can when I go back to CA. This will be added to my stops when in Paris. The Black bean brownies sound interesting, and I’d love to try the Guêpe verte! Great post. Great….now I’m hungry.

  • May 24, 2011 6:20pm

    We are headed to Paris in June, taking our 12 year old daughter for her first visit. We live in Silicon Valley, a true haven for Mexican food. I couldn’t imagine going to a Mexican restaurant while in Paris. However, I’m really happy for you that you have such a wonderful option as Candelaria.

  • I swore I’d never eat Mexican food north of Houston, but the time they are a changin’ even far away as Paris. Wonderful post, has me dreaming my tongue’s on fire and loving every lick of the flame!

  • May 24, 2011 6:34pm

    Whoa all of that looks sooo good,food glorious food!

  • linda Schiffer
    May 24, 2011 6:45pm

    Hi David, I loved reading this post and I can’t wait to make these brownies for all my Mexican friends. Just to make you laugh, I’ll share with you that my Mexican “son” calls his turkey neck his “pelicano”. However, that doesn’t stop him from gorging on tacos. Why would it? — they are too delicious. Thanks for sharing your culinary adventures — I really enjoy reading every one. Linda

  • sarah
    May 24, 2011 7:02pm

    Spoken loudly to another ex-San Franciscan! This place cures any trace of homesickness … I love Paris even more now that it has true tacos and hot sauce.

  • ruth
    May 24, 2011 7:10pm

    Hi David,great place to go when I´ll go to paris thanks for the informations you always gives us.I saw you yesterday in a tv program on channel travel here in spain, you made an icecream with bacon that looked delicious,you were with Andrew zimerman,but I have to say that sometimes I just can´t watch him he eats the most disgusting foods!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gary Collier
    May 24, 2011 7:23pm

    I heard about your site through a blurb in the New York Times.

    This is outstanding and excellent and informative, as well.

    Many thanks,

    A new devotee!!


  • Linda
    May 24, 2011 9:49pm

    Hi David. I picked up The Sweet Life in Paris on Mother’s Day and couldn’t put it down! I did a year of studies in Montpellier an internship in Angers in the 80’s. Your book brought back so many memories – the “greves” of the electricity workers at lunch time and the train company at Christmas, the guy at the Gare de Lyon who threw change back at me within minutes of first setting foot in Paris because I had unintentionally given him a Dutch coin, chopping bars of chocolate to make chocolate chip cookies, learning to love red wine and blue cheese, spending every weekend for four months in Paris at a different museum and never once setting foot in the Louvre, drinking menthe a l’eau (yes, I actually loved it!), being run off the sidewalk by city buses, eating the perfect meal of a baguette and a slice of pate… You’ve got me looking for the next cheap flight. Thanks!

  • stephanie
    May 24, 2011 10:16pm

    It is funny because I did not know how much I liked Mexican food until I moved to France. I never made Mexican at home and only went to Mexican restaurants when I was invited. Now…..I make fajitas at least once a month and am always looking for a good Mexican meal. French food is divine, but sometimes my palate really wants something colorful and spicy.

  • May 24, 2011 10:29pm

    Hey David, ironically, I walked by this place this past Sunday, and remembered a post you did a month or so back about tacos and Mexican food in Paris. I came back to the hotel, pulled out my lap top and realized it was not the same place. And, voila, here it is. I was in the Marais tonight for dinner with friends (Chez Janou), I may have to make one last trip to this district before I return to L.A. Love this post, and all your photos – you are such a great story teller!!

  • AnnaZed
    May 24, 2011 11:15pm

    Black bean brownies, yum!

    ~ a non sequitur ~

  • May 25, 2011 12:20am

    Actually, David, I wish that life had a “Remove turkey neck” setting. Sigh.
    I will be looking up that black bean brownie recipe this afternoon – thanks for reminding me.

  • May 25, 2011 4:16am

    I will not let you lead me to beginning obsessing levels with tacos like you did with the chocolate. Surely, it must be better to pretend that I don’t like Mexican food and don’t need it.

    Instead, I will concentrate on how amazing those brownies look.

  • May 25, 2011 4:21am

    Black bean brownies? Seriously? Now there are two of my favorite foods I never imagined would be in one sentence. I wish I could visit Candelaria from what I’m reading and seeing. But, alas, I shall have to make do with the virutal visit by way of your photos and narration.

  • Natalie
    May 25, 2011 5:37am

    David, thank you SO much for tweeting about this place a while ago. It turned into a destination spot for our recent trip to Paris, and we absolutely loved it!! Luckily I went on a Sunday and enjoyed my dinner at the bar with Carina, Arash and Adam. The cocktails were great, and I had my first taste of Parisian pilsner. Loved the charm of the whole place, from the casual front-of-the-house to the very ambient lounge.

  • gigi
    May 25, 2011 11:22am

    hello david,
    firstly i am a big fan… and i have tried your devil’s food cake and it is diiiivviiinnee!!!!!
    you make france (paris in particular) sound so gastronomically fun and exciting and you make me wish, everytime i read your blog, to move to paris.. anyway… i love your advice: when in doubt just add more chocolate… delicious!!! teehee..

    p.s. my daughter (who is 2) loves the chocolate cake too ;-)


  • May 25, 2011 12:31pm

    Hmm, good mexican food.. We are looking for it in Germany but so far, no luck. I’m curious about this opening up to other foods in Paris, because it was well known that Paris has no good Italian restaurant. I am wondering if this is still true?

    Thanks for attracting my eyes to Heidi’s black bean brownies recipe, also: somehow I had forgotten about it. A must try.

  • Candela
    May 25, 2011 4:01pm

    Oooraleee…. Now I’m jealous! I lived in Mexico for many years,know how to cook Mexican but it is not the same feeling..I want to go to that place and eat all that beatiful tostadas,totopos,taquitos dorados,pupusas,pozole,mole? & una cubeta please. :) and I don’t care about my “Taco Neck” !! Thanks David for all this info.
    @ Luis: Que tal una sucursal por Italia?! cerca de Livorno ok?…

  • Beemouse
    May 25, 2011 6:21pm

    Argh! After reading your note I went to Candelaria yesterday to try out their wares AND THEY WERE CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS!!! Quel dommage. I don’t know when they will be open again. Do you??

    Yes, I made a note of that at the end of the post – as they noted they were going to be closed Tuesday. I removed it today (Wednesday) as they said on their Twitterstream they were only closing for one day. -dl

  • May 26, 2011 3:05am

    Happy to see Paris starting to accept some great looking cuisine, I look forward to the movement! I’ll be in Paris next month and have put this spot on my list. We may to add it to our Paris mini-guide too!

  • Kathy
    May 26, 2011 3:36am

    David…..where do they get all these Mexican “productos”?? Can you actually buy masa harina somewhere? Last time I came back here from Salt Lake had the suitcase stuffed with fresh corn and flour tortillas, masa flour, and chipotle in adobo. Used up a lot of my 50 lb. limit !!

  • priya
    May 26, 2011 11:59pm

    So glad to see the quality of Mexican food improving in Europe. When I first got here and saw ketchup parading as salsa, this Texan nearly had a breakdown which lead to learning to make EVERY single Mexican item from scratch. Nixtimalizing corn, pureeing it and then making tortillas is a line i wont cross again. Now, I too splurge for Maseca at a specialty store, but i hope this trend continues and the availability (and price!) of the ingredients becomes more accessible (I still import every type of dried chile when I visit home!) So glad to see these guys are NOT catering to local tastes, nor have the same menu everyday!

  • May 27, 2011 5:15am

    Looks like home to me! haha it made me laugh the Salsa Valentina in that pic, a staple in my house =)

  • May 27, 2011 10:22am

    I was surprised to see the title of this post on my RSS reader. My dad’s hometown in the Philippines is named “Candelaria”. It’s always associated to happy memories for me, so it’s no surprise that I do love this post. Maybe one of these days I can visit the Candelaria in Paris.

  • streaming
    May 27, 2011 10:48am

    Oh, I will surely take a trip to Paris this year.I can say that I love this post:-)

  • trezz
    May 28, 2011 8:03pm

    I was born 50 years ago in a litlle town in Mexico near the International border with the U S. My grandmother elaborated the tortillas with fresh corn raised in the field, cooked the grain all the nigth, taked to the mill at 4.00 hs in he morning and after that she made the most delicious corn tortillas. All by hand , cooked in the “comal “with the fire of mezquite wood. All fresh, natural and delicious .Now, well,you are eating only a 10% of the real thing.

  • May 30, 2011 8:29am

    A friend & I had lunch here about a month after they opened and I’ve been dreaming of going back. The ingredients are so fresh and everything we tasted, including a drink made with hibiscus water, was amazing. Love your pictures – everything looks just as good as I remember!

  • June 2, 2011 9:01am

    The food looks delicious both on the webpage in in person. However, I had to admire it from a distance as there was no chance we would get served because the place was so busy (later in the evening on a Wednesday night).

    I know that you made several references to it being a small place…but just to emphasise the point to others- it really is tiny. Think Lilliput proportions!

    Hopefully their success continues…followed by a move to bigger premises. Super cool looking place though.

  • June 2, 2011 9:10am
    David Lebovitz

    Belles Lettres: Yes, Candelaria got suddenly popular due to articles in major media outlets. I had considered that when posting this, but figured I’d issue a note about that in the post, and figured if the magazines were going to write it up, why not me? (Since I’m a neighbor. And I like the owners and cooks a lot.)

    I think at some point they’re going to have to institute a system where they give patrons the check to avoid over-lingering after eating. It’s traditional to let restaurant guests remain as long as they wish in France (which is pleasant), but guests also need to not be oblivious that there are other patrons waiting and give up their seats after a reasonable amount of time.

    I have a feeling that it will even out after a while, or perhaps they will expand somehow.

  • Sandra
    June 3, 2011 3:37pm

    Oh my gosh — this place looks fantastic! I lived on this street about five doors down last year. Wish he was there then…. I guess I’ll have to go back and visit!

  • cara_mia
    June 5, 2011 8:38pm

    Do the French eat Mexican food with their hands, or do they use their forks and knives?

    Just imagine, in another 10 years, you might see French-Japanese or French-Mexican fusion cuisine in Paris!

  • June 8, 2011 4:34pm

    I love that you talked about how baking doesn’t have to be as exact as most people think. I totally agree! I’m working on perfecting a chickpea blondie right now but I’ve got to make a point to try Heidi’s Black Bean Brownies. The addition of Mexican spices sounds like a great idea!

  • Risa
    June 14, 2011 8:41am

    I like this: “When in doubt, just add more chocolate.”

    And to a previous commenter, Luis looks like he has the arms to knead that dough by hand. I would linger in Candelaria if only to gaze at those arms working the tortilla dough.

    Are black bleans similar to azuki beans?