La Tête dans les Olives

This pocket-sized piece of Sicily, hidden on a ramshackle little street between Belleville and the Canal St Martin, is an Italian delicatessen by day and and a tiny restaurant before and after opening hours. Set up by Cedric Cassanova, La Tête dans les Olives has received much acclaim since it opened, with Michelin-starred chefs stocking up on authentic Italian produce here and Le Fooding awarding the restaurant its 2011 award for Best Table d'Hote

Hosted by bona fide Sicilian Marco or by owner Cedric (both equally charming), La Tête dans les Olives' dinner sessions are for 6 lucky diners only, who are seated at foldable tables in the middle of the the 14m2 shop, surrounded by shelves crammed full of alluring Italian produce, including capers, dried pasta, herbs, passata, and large vats of serious olive oil, the shop's speciality. 

Positioned at the end of the table, your amiable host prepares simple Sicilian food before your eyes, focusing on interesting yet traditional Sicilian flavour combinations and high quality ingredients, many of which are for sale in the shop. There is no menu - the meal will depend on the season and the inspiration of your host.
Marco prepares the vegetable course
The aperitif consists of four variations of succulent Sicilian olive, two different types of the fruity, spicy olive oil, tapenade, and sun-dried tomatoes all of which can be savoured with any wine you wish to bring along with you (it's BYO and the excellent vintners Le Verre Vole is just around the corner). Then comes the vegetable platter, with 5 bite-size morsels of each delectable hors-oeuvre served on a rustic little wooden board placed in the middle of the table for guests to pounce on. On our visit we had mushrooms stuffed with wild oregano and capers, oranges with anchovy, and carrot with mint and a Sicilian ricotta that was the consistency of Parmesan. You can also opt for an additional fish course (for a supplementary - and paltry - €15 for the whole table), which includes tuna bresaola, anchovies and tuna "salami"-  fiendishly salty and devilishly good. Then comes the pasta course - perfectly al dente pasta with fresh seasonal ingredients (we had penne with mint and tuna). Diners can then opt for a cheese plate or skip straight to the sweet course, featuring cantuccini-like biscuits and lashings of honey.
Pasta Course - Penne with Tuna and Mint
Fish Platter - Tuna Bresaola, Tuna Sausage, Anchovies
Dulci - Honey and Cantuccini
The whole meal comes in at a minuscule €30 per head, but you can of course rack up the bill by buying litres of the fine olive oil and jars of sun-dried tomatoes on your way out.

Due to the killer combination of excellent ingredients, authentic but exciting recipes, a charming host, an intimate setting with a scarcity of seats and a more-than-reasonable price tag, understandably it's rather difficult to snag a table at La Tête dans les Olives (you'll need to book three months in advance). You can, however, pop into the shop whenever you like for a quick olive-oil-and-Sicilian-charm fix...

La Tête dans les Olives
2 rue St Marthe
75010 Paris
Tel: 09 51 31 33 34
Shop open: Tues-Fri 2pm-7pm, Sat 11am-6pm
Restaurant: Lunch and dinner, by reservation only via email 

All images copyright Kim Laidlaw

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 


  1. I can't wait to try this gorgeous restaurant....xv

  2. Delicious looking bistro.
    Hankering for olives now, this minute!

  3. Can't wait to be experience this little Sicilian haven!

  4. Wow this looks amazing and such a treat.

    The Wanderfull Traveler