Virtus Restaurant

New Home, New Michelin Star

May 8, 2019By Heidi EllisonRestaurants
The restaurant Virtus in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.
The restaurant Virtus in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.

Two hot chefs, Chiho Kanzaki and Marcelo Di Giacomo, have moved their restaurant Virtus to a new location in the 12th arrondissement, formerly the home of Petter Nilsson‘s regretted La Gazzetta and then Simone Tondo’s less-regretted Tondo.

It’s a great space with lots of room and stained-glass windows, whose decor changes with each new tenant. The current chefs seem to have brought their mismatched hanging lamps with them, which don’t really suit this more upscale setting.

As is only natural, they have also brought some of their favorite recipes and ingredients with them.

Virtus restaurant Paris
Shall we call this a briochant? (a cross between a brioche and a croissant).
Virtus restaurant Paris

In a classy touch, we were given warm towels to wipe our hands with, then a delicious braided bread – a cross between a brioche and a croissant – was set down on the table, followed by a plate of amuse-bouches: a fabulous polenta chip dotted with yuzu-flavored cream, a less-interesting beet chip and a little savory cake.

Virtus restaurant Paris
White-asparagus tempura with broccoli cream.

We had all ordered the three-course lunch menu for €35 (it has since gone up to €39). The first course was a winner: a very lightly battered and deep-fried (like tempura) white asparagus stalk served with béarnaise sauce flavored with reine-des-prés (meadowsweet), which we all went mad for, and broccoli cream. Lovely.

Two of us were slightly less taken with the main course of line-caught tuna cooked tataki-style and served with mushroom sauce, boiled potatoes, broccoli rabe and chili powder. I found the fish-mushroom combination off-putting at first, but it grew on me.

Virtus restaurant Paris
Frozen yogurt with coconut and passion fruit.

The light dessert was a unanimous hit: frozen yogurt with coconut and passion fruit, topped with a transparent sugar wafer. Brilliant. It so happens that I had the same dessert at Virtus when it was still called Le Clandé a few years ago, but so what? It deserves to be kept on the table.

After that visit, I rated the food at 7.5 out of 10. Today, I would up that to 8.0. Michelin agrees and gave Virtus a star in its latest guide.


One Comment

  • I didn’t know it was a one-star Michelin restaurant and would not have guessed. First, We are seated at the worst table by the door. No! So another table is found “à l’étage”, close to the toilettes and, curiously, a microwave oven (???). The waitress is absolutely charming but doesn’t know what “articulate” means. Her comments are a kind of bouillie or risotto. My guest and I do not catch a word and have to ask her to repeat. “PLUS FORT, S’IL VOUS PLAIT” at each course.
    Strange idea to serve an Argentinian brioche, rather heavy, as an appetizer. It’s more an étouffe-chrétien.We are asked three times if we suffer allergies (did they really have problems with that, or a special link with the nearby hospital?). Arrives the probably infamous oyster, served with a purée of ananas (pineapple), which is not nice for the oyster nor the ananas. Then… well the very classical modern little things. I write little because the portions are smallish (the fish!). Nothing surprising, nothing very good except perhaps the magret. On Saturday the cheap menu seems to be at €75. A glass of banal white Mâcon, €13. So, one star, really?

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