Higuma is a famous Japanese restaurant, or cantine, should I say, since it’s very popular and very inexpensive, especially for a restaurant located in the heart of Paris.
But is it any good, and is it worth doing the long waiting lines just to have a meal there? In this article, we’ll try to answer these questions for you.
Higuma, like many other real Japanese restaurants, is located in rue Saint-Anne in the 1st district of Paris, not too far from the Opera Garnier in the 8th district. The Metro station to get off of would be Pyramides.
The Saint-Anne district is basically the Japanese Quarter of Paris. There, you’ll find plenty of Japanese stores, hotels, and of course, restaurants.
Oddly enough, most people would think of Japanese restaurants as places serving fresh sushi and sashimi, but here they are mostly serving other types of popular Japanese dishes.
This area is quite central; from there, you can easily get to the Grand Boulevard, Le Louvre, Madeleine, or Place Vendome.
The restaurant is in the Rez-de-chaussée and has a pizzeria sur rue. This basically just means that it’s on the first floor and has an entrance accessible from the street.
The restaurant is in the corner of a small street, and the entrance is quite narrow, though the space has many rooms, including an underground, if I recall correctly.
The decoration is quite simple, nothing fancy; even the glass and the carafe d’eau are very reminiscent of those of a school cantine. There is a nice open kitchen in the entrance where you can see the cook in action.
It’s quite noisy in there, which doesn’t bother me. One thing I love about the restaurants in this area is that all the employees and cooks are really Japanese.
The menu in Higuma is quite simple. It’s the kind of joint where you come, you eat, and you go. So orders have to be decided quickly. That’s why the restaurant has a single, double-sided page as a menu and no images either.
Note that there is a sort of food showcase in front of the restaurant, giving you a hint of the different dishes the restaurant offers. You can then easily figure out from the description which dish is which.
You basically have Lamen, Curry, Itamemono (wok), Donburi (food on rice), Menu, Starters, and Drinks. These menus often include a soup and some gyoza (seven pieces).
For the drinks, outside of the classic soft drinks and water, it’s either Japanese tea, beers, or sake, and that’s basically it.
It was not the first time my husband tried this restaurant, and he told me about it once when we crossed the street. This joint is quite famous because it’s inexpensive and has good cuisine, like many other restaurants on this street, to be fair. It’s everything you would ask from a popular Asian restaurant.
With the restaurant being in the center of Paris, it’s quite easy to end up eating there. For example, that day we were trying to find a parking spot to go to the Louvre, and the Saint-Anne street was simply in the way.
We were a bit stressed about the stroller we had since the entrance is quite tight, but once inside, we had more than enough room to sit down, and the waitress was very helpful.
We ordered three dishes since we didn’t have time to eat breakfast. My husband had to wake up one night to watch some UFC fights. The first one was a Shio Lamen, a Katsu Curry menu, and Yakisoba with two Japanese teas since my husband is trying to quit drinking.
The first dishes that came in were the ones on the menu. I was expecting some miso soup and the classic white cabbage salad that you get in sushi restaurants. Here we got some broth soup and some salad with tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Nothing fancy, but still, the salad sauce was quite good.
The yakisoba was very good, way better than the average meal you can get at buffets. This one was tasty; the squid were soft and not too chewy, and the pork, sliced very thinly, was melting in your mouth.
Yooyi ate most of this dish. We know we shouldn’t give him this kind of oily food, but like us, he only likes things with a strong taste.
Some freshly cut ginger in vinegar was disposed of and was quite fitting with the dish.
The Shio lamen wasn’t the best lamen we’ve eaten, but still, the quality was good. The noodles were freshly made, and the pork was quite tender—a decomposing-in-your-mouth kind of experience.
The bamboo in there was good, and the broth was a tad salty, maybe a little light on flavors. I am the kind of person who eats salty food anyway.
Now, one of the most popular dishes in this street is the famous Katsu curry. Well, the sauce was delicious, not too spicy or strong like many restaurant cooks. The pork cutlets were home-made and freshly fried. No, not too thin, not too large; just right.The rice was, well, perfectly cooked, but at this point it probably came out of a Zojirushi Rice Cooker, so nothing impressive but still enjoyable.
I think this dish was our favorite in this restaurant. Simple but very effective. They even had some cooked vinegar and sweet ginger, which was perfectly fitting with this dish. It’s the first time I tried a cooked and sweet version of those, and I think it’s a great idea.
The Japanese tea was good too; it was very well balanced, served very hot, and you could see the leaf in the bottom of the cup.
8.0 out of 10
Higuma is the type of restaurant I enjoy. Popular, good, and inexpensive. Going to Paris is already an expensive activity for a Suburban. It’s not uncommon to spend 100 euros per day for a family on a basic day without any form of luxurious endeavor.
On the menu, it’s either 13 or 14 euros. It’s basically the price of an Asian restaurant in Lognes, but in the heart of Paris. Which is kind of mind-blowing when you think about the difference in prices for rent and the fact that everything in Japan is more expensive than in the rest of Asia.
The food was quite good, well above that of a Japanese restaurant with non-Japanese cooks. This place reminds me of a cantine. It’s popular, noisy, and there’s a big waiting line, but for good reasons.
It’s the kind of pleasure everyone can afford and enjoy, and as Japanese food, it’s probably healthy. So there’s really no reason not to fall for it.
Address : 32bis Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris
Phone : 01 47 03 38 59
Website : http://higuma.fr