There's no name on the outside - just heavy iron grills on the opaque windows of the matt black facade.  But Asuka - this hidden little 12-seater Japanese restaurant on a side street on the dark side of Montmartre - has been drawing in those in the know for over ten years with its authentic Japanese fare and convivial vibe. Once you're through the doors, you're warmly welcomed by the adorable owners, Mr and Mrs Date - a couple from Tokyo in their sixties who have been in Paris for 30 years but who still lace their thickly-accented French with a heavy dose of arigatos.

On the menu are several multi-course options which include a starter, miso soup, salad and then a main course featuring maki, sushi or grilled fish - which change depending on the season and market availability. But we're not talking the bland cabbage salad, boring miso broth and flavourless fish that are the norm in many a "Japanese" restaurant in the capital. Here the food is innovative, fresh and delicious: julienned carrots in sesame oil, delicate made-to-order maki and the succulent and sweet marinated shiitake mushroom sushi are like nothing you'd find in the ubiquitous--and often dubious-- sushi joints throughout Paris.  

The atmosphere is friendly and the setting is cosy, with an abundance of family memorabilia and random bric-a-brac as decoration - you feel like you've been invited into someone's home. Someone who can cook damn good Japanese food that is... 

145, rue Marcadet, 75018
No reservations
Dinner Mon-Sat. Lunch Mon-Fri.
Prices are about €25-30 per head without alcohol. 

All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw Adrey


  1. I like this concept of a 'dark side of Montmartre'. Can you elaborate?

    I also love those children's cartoon glasses!

  2. Hi Adam,

    It was a little bit of poetry - one side of Montmartre (the south side) is lit up with the bright lights of Pigalle, and the floodlights which illuminate the Sacre Coeur. That's where all the hustle and bustle is and the tourists and the action. The north side of La Butte however is very different to the other side and the grandeur at top of the hill - it's off the beaten track, it's the hidden side of the hill... it's a different vibe all together.

    I love the cartoon glasses too - and love the juxtaposition of them and the very pretty Japanese crockery.


  3. Sounds lovely .... do they always have an option for a non sushi eating partner?

  4. i love the phrase 'dark side of montmartre' - living on the bright side of montmatre, i always think of the backside as darker: 1. less tourists lights from Pigalle 2. a little darker in lifestyle (i.e. more real and interesting instead of glitzy tourist traps) and 3. I think it literally is darker - with the front having the southern exposure, the north side of the hills is going to get less sunlight more of the time (I'm not positive on this one, but it's always the impression I've had)

  5. Hi Fiona,
    There is just the grilled fish option for non-sushi eaters, I think. On the evening we went, this was off the menu, so it'd be a bit of a risk I think for someone who doesn't eat raw fish...

    Hi Forest,
    Completely agree! That's exactly how i see it!

    --Kim xx

  6. Wow, that sushi looks outstanding! I have to believe that any eatery with room for only 12 is the real deal.

  7. Will try this week, thanks.

  8. Hope you like it, Reza. Let us know what you think!