Paris Blog: A look at the one and the only Parisian Chipotle

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When we were living in the US, we didn’t eat at fast food places too frequently.  And when we did, it generally trended more towards ‘healthier’ fast food variants (i.e. Subway, Quiznos, etc…).  And then there was Chipotle.  Chipotle was our go-to after long 20 mile runs or 80-100 mile rides when we wanted to do nothing else other than get instant fullness via a massive burrito that was relatively healthy (in moderation).

Last spring when we were picking out houses, we had heard there was a Chipotle in Paris, but never paid it a visit during our house-hunting.  In fact, never even looked it up on a map.  Probably a good thing in retrospect, as otherwise we might would have just lived across the street from it.  There’s only one Chipotle in France, and it’s here in Paris.  There are also a handful of Chipotle’s in London – but that’s it for spots outside the US.

But since moving here last summer, we have wandered up there about 2-3 times now.  The reason for the lack of visits to it is simply that it’s a bit of a haul to get to.  Here’s a quick map of Paris, showing where it is, and where we are:

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The few times we’ve gone, it’s been via Metro (subway).  And due to the way the lines are, there’s a handful of train switches.  Not terribly efficient.  Getting there on bike isn’t too bad however.

At any rate, once you arrive, here’s what you’re looking at:

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Once inside, you’ll have the counter just ahead of you to the left.  You’ll want to pick-up a menu along the way (obviously, completely unnecessary for me).

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We’ve lucked out in that out of the 2-3 times we’ve been there, it’s only been busy once.  Likely because we have only gone on ugly rainy and cold nights – pretty late too.  I hear that during the day at lunch the line is out the door crazy.

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Menu-wise, it’s virtually identical to the US Chipotles.  You can go with Burrito, Tacos, Burrito Bowl, or a Salad.  It’s not clear to me if you can also get some of the off-menu items like Quesadilla like you can in the US.

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And the meat selection is the same here.  No horsemeat option or snails here.  Just Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Veggie.  Unlike the US however, all fillings are the same price.

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And then finally, pretty much the usual toppings.  And of course, there’s wine on the menu here (as well as beer).  Though, that’s in the US too.

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For those doing the math at home, 9€ is just under $12US.  A pricey burrito!  Though, just about everything is more expensive in Paris (except Baguettes).

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Ordering is essentially the same as the US.  You first get your burrito wrap warmed up, and then choose the type of beans before moving onto meat:

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It’s notable just be how much smaller the kitchen space is compared to most American Chipotles.  The area behind these guys to the left where the knives are hanging are the only cooking surfaces.

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There are two items which are different.  First is the rice.  They have a brown-rice variant, and no white rice:

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And on salsas they taste similar, but not exactly the same.  Still good stuff.  I would note that when we were up in London for the Olympics, we had Chipotle there and didn’t find the taste as similar to the US Chipotle.  A bit more variation across the board than we would have liked.  Not sure if that was a one-off day or not.

So we were a bit hesitant coming here it would be significantly different, and were happy it wasn’t.

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Way back in November we actually ran into the owner of Chipotle France at a community event.  Ironically, he’s a pretty avid triathlete, cyclist and runner.  Especially cycling though – way into cycling.  He gave us two cards for free burritos (regrettably not for life, just two burritos).

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(Translated: The gourmet restaurant where where you eat with your fingers)

Once you’ve paid out, the rest of the restaurant space itself is actually a bit bigger than most US Chipotle’s I’ve been to, at least as far as seating goes.  You’ve got seating on the main level facing out onto the streets (as seen in the glassed in picture up top).  And then if you head upstairs you have an entire level of seating that wraps around the staircase.

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And then, it’s time to enjoy the burrito:

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Regrettably, it doesn’t take long:

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And yes, the Napkins are almost the same too…with the added France website bit.

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And you thought this post made you hungry?  Just imagine me, I’ve been sitting here editing photos and text for the last 75 minutes.

Thanks for reading!

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24 Comments

  1. Tosin

    I had chipotle last night for dinner. They had brown rice in addition to white rice, so i tried the brown. Tasted the same, but just a little firmer on the rice. I'm usually really hungry when I go there so they sometimes can't close my burrito. Sometimes I wish they had the hard salad shell like qdoba has, bit it's not a deal breaker.

    Reply
  2. Steve E.

    Is Coca Cola Light the same as Diet Coke?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup. Parisians are HUGE Coca Light (Diet) fans here. Though, nearly equaling it is Coke Zero. Very rarely do I see someone (local) drink regular Coca Cola.

      And, at our cupcake shop, I can't remember the last time someone ordered a regular Coca Cola (versus Diet Coke all the time).

      Reply
  3. Mark Valites

    This article reminds me very much of another recent enjoyable one on "Food Value" - it focuses on Chipotle & has some suggestions for getting more for your money there:

    link to adventure-journal.com

    In re-reading it, I did have to laugh a bit when French pastries were knocked for their low food value...

    Reply
  4. I was starting to get addicted to Chipotle during a three month work stint in NY a few years ago. Then a friend sent me a link to a calorie counter and I was scared off eating them too often!

    I haven't been to the ones in London yet. It would be a good way to refuel after a 20 miler though....

    Reply
  5. Chipotle is one of the few fast casual restaurants I go to. Interesting to hear that it's in Paris. I guess that's one fast food export that's not doing too much harm!

    Reply
  6. Maggs

    OMG ther is a Chipotle in Paris & not one in Hawaii???

    Reply
  7. Robin

    Jeez. Why can't America export good Mexican food?

    Reply
  8. Oh, they can. Given your location have you been over to Anahuacalli yet? I'm a Brit but I've been living in Texas since '84 and am a true Mexican food convert - one of my hobbies is to find it wherever I travel. Its usually quite bad, but in amusing ways. Having said that, Anahuacalli (on the NW corner of Rue des Bernardins and Bd Saint-Germain) has to be one of my favorite restaurants - possibly in the top 3 when it comes to Mexican food.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Anahuacalli is quite good. Especially since it's only a block away. :) Service can be a bit mixed sometimes though (more than normal here), but the food generally makes up for it.

      Reply
    • Richard replied

      Glad its not just us. BTW, I'm sure you already have favorites for when you have vistitors, but we found the Hotel Abbatial Saint Germain to be very pleasant when we were their last.

      Reply
  9. Interesting how similar it is to the US version, especially since it's owned by McDonalds, which has very much tailored their restaurants to the local countries. I'd expect, as they expand internationally, that Chipotle will start changing things up.

    Reply
    • Brad replied

      McDonald's divested it share of Chipotle years ago FYI.

      Reply
  10. Dr. D

    Ray - Great site as always.

    #11 - In reference your comment about who owns Chipotle......Founded by Steve Ells in 1993, Chipotle had 16 restaurants (all in Colorado) when McDonald's Corporation became a major investor in 1998. By the time McDonald's fully divested itself from Chipotle in 2006, the chain had grown to over 500 locations.

    I hope this helps.

    Reply
  11. Rich

    Hahaha, I'm loving the review of this restaurant, the same thoroughly in-depth style you have become renown for when testing a piece of kit, I for one will be looking this place up next time I'm in London. Great site man, keep up the good work :)

    Reply
  12. Jonas

    yum! i have a chipotle 250m away from me! but sadly after the first month or so i don't go there very often - too busy! but still the best

    Reply
  13. Joe

    Loved Chipotle when I lived in Kansas City. Favorite meal at chipotle was right after the Marine Corps Marathon while I was waiting for friends to finish before we headed back to hotel.
    There are only two in Canada (both in Toronto). Whenever I'm there on business I go at least once (I have been there for lunch and dinner - pre- and post-meeting once) and my bosses are quite happy to expense that dinner versus more expensive options.

    Reply
  14. Stefan

    Do they use the Cheddar/Jack mix or Swiss Cheese? Every time I've had mexican food in French locals they use swiss or something similar and kill it. I was glad to see that you can find cheddar at the restaurant supply shop, as much as I love French cheese, I think it would be a deal breaker for me living in France.

    Reply
  15. Paul Shoemaker

    Just around the corner on Rue Drout, is a great secret of Paris. The Drout is an large auction house which is open to the public. You can take a walk in the various salons and see things that came out of an ancient chateau, the Pope's closet, or art from modern to old world. It changes often, so it is always worth a look. Of course, I can drop in during my lunch break - so I am spoiled!

    PS. Bistro J'Go on Rue Drout is a great wine bar. Don't tell anyone, don't want to ruin it!

    Reply
  16. rog-

    For even better Mexican, head over to Anahuacalli at 30 Rue des Bernardins in the 5th and enjoy a margarita negra while you're at it. Note that this is real Mexican! Not tex-mex!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, we eat there a bit - it's only a few hundred meters from us. As I noted above though, service can be a bit mixed there though - but good food.

      Reply
  17. I eat here at least once a week. Not as good as in the States, but I'll take it.

    Cool blog. Keep it up.

    Reply
  18. Kathy

    Love their fresh food! Hope one day I can enjoy it in Paris!

    Reply
  19. Ali

    Chipotle in the US just came out with using GMO ingredients. They are listed in the ingredients section of their website. Out of curiosity, I checked the French website. Their ingredients page is quite different and not as well-labeled. Do you know what the French stance on Chipotle and GMOs are? I haven't lived there in a few years, so I was not familiar with the labels the meat had on your picture of the menu. I'd love any insight you (or others) may have! Thanks!

    Reply

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