By Robin Boch
Parisian Chipotle. These two words may not seem to fit together, but after eating Chipotle in Paris four times during my first two months here (yes, I am averaging at once every two weeks), I would beg to disagree. Who needs wine and cheese when you can have a burrito the size of a small child?
I am a big Chipotle fan, and moving to a new continent didn’t change that. I value its (debatably) low price, clean ingredients, and predictability. Though whether I get a salad, burrito, or bowl changes depending on how I feel that day (let’s be real, who actually gets the tacos?), everything else is always the same: white rice, black beans, steak AND fajita veggies, pico, corn, cheese, and lettuce. I have eaten at two different Parisian Chipotles and have tried both salads and burritos, and here is my honest review:
Taste: Someone warned me that Chipotle in Paris probably would not taste the same as it does in the U.S., and though this is true, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it still helps eliminate my craving every time. The chips are just chips, with none of the salt or lime that makes them so good back at home. The “Mexican” cheese also tastes a bit off from its usual flavor. Everything is a bit less spicy and flavorful, though it is close enough to still make me satisfied. I just can not say no to the corn/cheese/fajitas/cilantro-rice combo!
Service: Mixed reviews here. I have come into contact with some people who smile and work with me in French, while another employee immediately responded to me in English and told me there was no restroom when a sign clearly showed that there were “toilettes” downstairs. Granted, I get English-ed at plenty of restaurants, so this is not that new. I appreciate that during one visit, they warned us that they were out of ice before making the drinks we ordered and that during another visit, they let me know that we could not pay with cards, but that being said, an established food chain in one of the biggest cities in the world should have ice and take credit cards.
Quality: I may be a bit biased because I usually grab food within an hour of the restaurant closing, but it is fairly common that the steak is either tough or the container is empty and not being refilled. My meals have not been very hot either; I have decided that if it is going to be lukewarm anyway, I might as well bring it home and drink one of my own Coke Zeros with it. That being said, extra points are given because I have not been able to find black beans at any grocery store here but Chipotles are still just like the ones at home.
Convenience: One Chipotle in a 10-minute walk from my university. Another within 20 minutes. It is by far one of the quickest and cheapest restaurants in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Odéon areas, which is a great excuse to just grab dinner on my way home and not cook stir-fry for the fifth time that week.
Bonus: I correctly guessed how many Chipotles there are in France (six!), so I won a free meal! I love Chipotle and I love France; can you tell that I’m cultured?
Overall, Mexican food is a rarity in Europe, and good Mexican food is even harder to find. I am still scarred by the ketchup that Poland tried to pass off as “salsa.” Chipotle in Paris may not have the exact same flavor or quality as it does in the U.S., but it quickly puts an end to my Mexican craving. Eating here brings me back to going on wholesome dinner dates with my younger sister and timing how long it takes to eat the entire burrito after high school basketball games, which is all I could really ask for.
Leave a Reply