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I have never been more excited to write about a restaurant than I am today. Please allow me to introduce you to Can Alegria, a former cabaret where Edith Piaf sang in the early days, turned Mediterranean cuisine hotspot.
With a Catalan name loosely translated as House of Joy, this small and cozy restaurant is a food heaven located in the heart of Pigalle. I was scheduled to attend a show at a flashy, world-famous cabaret in the neighborhood, but wasn’t terribly attracted by their expensive dining offering. Looking for options around Place Pigalle, I randomly picked this spot (ok, reviews might have played a small part) and let me tell you, it was a great decision.
Corsica-born, Ferrandi-trained Chef Marc-Antoine Colonna, with the help of a close friend, opened the restaurant in 2018 and in just a few short months, they skyrocketed to #1 on TripAdvisor. As I’m writing this, they are still in the Top 30 Restaurants in Paris, out of an astounding 15,000+ competitors. Now, that’s impressive.
Nevertheless, accolades don’t mean much unless backed by reality, so I went on to sample the food. The grilled octopus with sweet potato purée, coriander and rosemary was flavorful and tender, and was accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth chunks of Romanesco and fingerling potatoes. A more surprising dish was the roasted cauliflower with spices, tahini, and almonds. Although listed as an appetizer, it was certainly big enough for a meal, and unexpectedly delicious. I would’ve never thought of pairing cauliflower with cinnamon (the most detectable of all the spices), but it worked flawlessly.
I also peeked at my neighbors’ dishes; the trout ceviche with beets and coconut milk looked so good that I wished I hadn’t already finished a pretty big meal. So big in fact, that I had to pass on the desserts, although they looked very appealing. The chef varies them every day, I was told by the lovely server with impeccable English. The desserts are typical French classics such as Baba au rhum, chocolate mousse, or Pavlova with passion fruit, and are highly instagrammable, as proven by the restaurant’s own account. I would have loved a chance to taste them all. A good excuse to return, I think. Because one thing is certain: this place is definitely one I’ll bookmark for future visits.