Sometimes only a burger will do @ Cantine California, Paris

A month ago when the weather finally started to improve, I decided to start my hunt for a decent burger in Paris. I actually don’t fancy eating burgers in the winter they seem more of a summer food. Back home in London I love GBK, my gorgeous Australian friend Ms Claire introduced me to that particular Kiwi chain many moons ago and nothing comes close to matching my love for it. Living in Paris, anything foreign especially American fast food seems to have some unnatural appeal and le burger well it is on a pedestal, when Burger King opened its first store here  in December 2013 after a 15 year hiatus there was a 2 hour queue for le whopper – quite!  What I wanted was a place that not only served a burger made in house – none of this rubbish of buying in pre-prepared burgers unwrapping the plastic cooking it up and then serving it – which is what a lot of places in Paris do and can legally get away with saying their food is freshly prepared. I too can freshly prepare food by going to Picard (the best frozen food supermarket ever created) opening the box and putting it in the baking tray. I didn’t want a burger from a van – no matter how gourmet  I actually don’t like to walk and eat and dislike picnics with a passion  – drinking and maybe eating the odd crisp is ok on grass but not full blown eating. Luckily for this finicky foodie – the famous Cantine California food truck opened a stand alone restaurant in the Marais – hooray – time for a solo dining burger adventure!

Le Lieu/Location

Cantine photo

The location is in the heart of hip and happening Marais not far from Nanashi, Bob’s Kitchen and Le marché des Enfants Rouge – in a two words achingly hip. However, the actual restaurant seems to have managed to create a kind of chilled out Californian cool and a happy medium between surfer cool and the beautiful people with it’s use of natural woods and neutral paints. There are tables, a bar for solo diners (ahem) and a couple of tables on the pavement.

L’ambiance/Good Vibes

I was welcomed with a big smile and offered a seat at the bar which I gladly took. It gave a me a good view of the open kitchen and the rest of the restaurant. It is a very popular place at 20h in the evening with a wide variety of patrons: families, couples, solo diners and groups of friends whilst being eclectic does give it a laid back vibe that means if you don’t feel comfortable eating solo you can sit and observe and not feel like you are being watched. The waitress kept smiling at me as if to reassure me and I wanted to tell her:  “honey I am a pro-solo diner” but didn’t want to discourage her. It was lovely to see someone wanting to ensure everyone including solo diners felt relaxed.

Les Plats/Food

Cali Burger

I was left to peruse the menu which consists of: small plates such as chip and guacamole for 6, salads large or small for €9 and €14, tacos and other plates. For those of you who like to brunch that is offered here as well. None of the previous entries interested me as I was here for one thing and one thing only: a burger. Some of the entries seemed like a hard attack sandwiched between a bun – the Dude- bacon, cheese, caramelised onions, peppers  etc although having said that I went for the Cali Classic with bacon so you know who am I to talk.  All the meat used here is organic and it needs to be when the homemade burger and fries cost €15. I liked that I was offered the choice of how I would like my meat cooked as medium/à point in France seems a little rare for me at times although here it came just how I liked it pink with no blood running from it.

Having said all that they did the one thing I hate – toasted the bun. Why on earth do people feel the need to toast a burger bun, I actually hate the crunch and suspect I am in the minority. What is great – the burger is juicy, freshly made and tasty  but the overly toasted, slightly burnt, bun ruined it for me.

I didn’t have dessert as I don’t care for brownies, cookies or muffins and stuck with my locally brewed beer which complimented the burger nicely.

If you like your burger bun toasted and want to try the food of the now famous food truck then head here – you won’t be disappointed. I am going to continue my burger quest.

Where? 46 rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris

How? line 3 or 11 (stop Arts and Métiers)

Pricey? The burger and fries will cost you €15 and then add a beer – but you are paying for quality so make a meal of it!

Open when? open for lunch from 12 – 3 and then reopens at 19h30 onwards

Website: http://www.cantinecalifornia.com

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