El Nopal is a hole-in-the-wall, cash-only, haven of genuine Mexican food on the Canal Saint Martin.
When El Nopal launched in 2010, it was at the heart of a wave of Mexican appreciation in Paris – Candelaria, Bocamexa, El Guacamole, Rice & Beans, Itacate, Cantine California and even American mega-chain Chipotle.
Some restaurants shuttered after the hype died down, as Paris moved onto a burger craze that just won’t die. El Nopal has continued to prosper, recently opening its second outpost in Pigalle.
Perhaps this is because El Nopal stays truest to the essence of Mexican street food. Alongside burros and tacos, the cantina serves up gorditas, tortas, campechanas, quesadillas and tostadas.
Tortillas are made in-house, giving significant competitive advantage over most of the aforementioned Mexican joints. Beers include Negra Modelo, Sol, Pacifico and Dos Equis.
Since a refresh of the Canal Saint Martin location, there is no seating so you must take it to go. In Pigalle, there are a handful of places to soak up Huevos Rancheros on a Sunday.
Whatever you are eating, the food is the most authentic you can find in the city.
Impress fellow hipsters: try the gorditas – which means “little fat one” in Spanish – which are small savoury pies made from corn dough, filled with meat or vegetables depending on the day.
Canal Saint Martin, 3 Rue Eugène Varlin 75010,
Metro: Chateau Landon
Pigalle, 5 Rue Duperré 75009
T. +33 (0)7 86 39 63 46
Tuesday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm + 7pm – 10pm
Saturday 1pm – 11pm, Sunday 1pm – 9pm