Every time we come to Paris, my wife talks about Diep. She believes that Diep has the best Chinese in Paris. And here we are, after all this time, trying one of Paris best Chinese places, recommended by Michelin guide as well as many others.
Established in 1985 by the Diep family, the restaurant bearing the same name and located just off the most beautiful avenue in the world has succeeded over the years in carving out a great reputation for itself in the Parisian restaurant scene. The Diep restaurant specializes in a combination of Chinese and Thai cuisine executed with finesse and delicacy. A wealth of eastern flavors awaits your palate, and you can choose between the subtleties of Chinese cooking on the one hand and the spicier aromatics of Thai cuisine on the other.
Just a few meters away from the Champs Élysées, Diep is a small place nestled on 22 Rue de Ponthieu. Another location is a few meters away, on the other side of the world's most beautiful avenue. Inside is a dimmed ambiance enchanted by a calm Chinese music and decorated with some fine Chinese art.
We were invited to the first floor where a few square tables were professionally setup. I enjoyed the space given between the tables, unlike most restaurants in the capital where you feel like you're dining on the same table with others.
Gentle and smiling waiters welcomed us and made sure to keep us entertained while our friends joined. We enjoyed the time to appreciate the fine china plates and cutlery displayed - blue porcelain plates, silver cutlery, wooden chopsticks, cloth napkins all neatly placed on a white table cloth.
The menu looks simple, printed on a pink nylon paper and proposes hundreds of choices:
- Vegetable dishes
- Thailand's specialties
- Hors d'oeuvres
- Vietnamese specialties
- Chinese specialties
- Steamed specialties
- Hors d'oeuvres
- Fish and seafood
- Noodles and rice
The place is few lines:
- The floor is all covered with a blue and red carpet
- The walls are painted in pink
- Chairs and sofas are covered in red fabrics
- Tables are covered in pure white table cloths and setup the fine dining way
- Silver cutlery, fine China plates and wooden chopsticks add a touch of finesse
- The ceiling is low and painted in light green
The Diep restaurant specializes in a combination of Chinese and Thai cuisine executed with finesse and delicacy. A wealth of eastern flavors awaits your palate, and you can choose between the subtleties of Chinese cooking on the one hand and the spicier aromatics of Thai cuisine on the other.
It was time to order: A woman approached us and helped with the menu. She suggested some tasty plates, avoided others all with a smile and taking all the needed time. We made a big order to taste as much as we could from the varied menu.
- Spring Rolls: Even though oily, the spring rolls are airy, fresh and crunchy. They are served and enjoyed very hot
- 'Madame Butterfly', Shrimps on Toast: Fried bread with shrimps is special, crunchy and full of taste. I like how triangular shaped pieces of bread are topped with a piece of shrimp; You'll be looking into it just wondering how they do it. Fried all together, the combination is delicious
- Crab Salad is so fresh. A rich salad filled with strong flavors that make you smile. Superb to say the least. Those are real crab used, not the synthetic version of them
- Fan-Ko, Chinese dumplings with shrimp: Steamed and tasty
- ½ Peking Duck: Duck served with its skin and hoisin sauce, the skin served with rice pancakes, the flesh sautéd with ginger, all accompanied with onion fingers. Yum! The real taste of non oily and aromatic duck where a mix of textures blend perfectly well together. A superb duck, crunchy envelop, a premium hoisin sauce all wrapped together in a transparent rice pancake that is eaten like a sandwich. Awesome!
- Sauteed Beef with Basil: Chunks of tender meat mixed with vegetables and basil leaves that make all the difference and add the needed rich flavors.
- Thai Chicken Curry (with coconut milk). This is more of a soup than a chicken serving. They might love in Thailand, but I personally didn't understand what it's all about. Too watery and too tender. I'll skip it next time
- Pork Ribs: If you're a pork ribs fan, this is a plate you have to order. Individually cooked pork ribs, caramelized from the outside and perfectly cooked from the inside. The crunchiness is followed by a rich taste of meat. I loved it
- Fried Rice with Shrimps. Wanton fried rice with eggs and shrimps. They should maybe call this fried rice with oil! Too much oil!
- Imperial Style Shrimp (spicy): Shrimps imperial, fried and served in a grilling pan. Enjoy dozens of flavors and aromas as well as interesting textures embracing those fine shrimps. This is a must order
- Noodles: What's supposed to be a simple plate all Chinese restaurants excel in was way too oily. It lacks flavoring and has an unpleasant burning aftertaste.
Diep serves real Chinese food and not the same kind of food served at fast food joints. Even though it is expensive considering the small portions served, the tastes are real, authentic and rich.
But there was something wrong - some dishes were too salty while others were too sweet. There's a lack of equilibrium in salt and sweet used. As for the excess of oil, I think it's normal for Chinese food. My recommendation for you, is stop at dinner and don't order dessert: The dessert part was a disappointing experience that made me forget about the pleasant dinner. We had the chocolate spring rolls that are simple bread sticks filled with Nutella. These bites are heartburning and too commercial for a Chinese restaurant. The pineapple ginger fruit confit are like the ones you would buy at your grocery store. It's a large portion that's too heavy to eat for dessert. We each had one piece only. And then came the pineapple flambé. Two deep fried pineapple slices covered with flaming alcohol. In few words, I felt like I was drinking a medical alcohol bottle followed by a strong bitter flavor and an oily feel. It was very unpleasant to eat.
I liked it but I was honestly not mesmerized. I expected more from tonight's experience.
Passing by the French capital, Diep is a place to visit. Although it is located near Champs Elysees, they serve interesting Chinese food the non-touristic way.
- We were charged for a plate we didn't receive
- The service is not as fast as it should be especially when it comes to asking for the final bill
- Strong frying smells haunt the place
- Desserts are a mess