Where to Eat in Paris: L’Avant-Comptoir for Wine and Tapas

Charcuterie plate at L’Avant-Comptoir

Chef Yves Camdeborde’s casual and crowded standing room only tapas bar was one of my favorite discoveries on my recent trip to Paris. It’s cramped (try to get there as close to the noon opening time as possible) but a good time- and great meal– is had by all. This is great spot to try with friends, especially those who don’t mind giving up their personal space for a good meal.

Chin chin at L’Avant Comptoir

The Basque-inspired menu of small plates hangs from the ceiling. We headed to the back of the zinc bar to enjoy simple tapas and a few glasses of wine.  You can practically make a meal out of the bread, butter, sea salt and jars of cornichons which rest on the bar. Seriously. Do not miss the Bordier butter.

Even the bread and Bordier butter is memorable

The menu also features lots of petit sandwiches and dips, croquettes, and various specials. There is large and reasonably priced wine list to pair with the simple but tasty small plates. Service is upbeat and friendly. The whole experience was devoid of snobbery and left me smiling.

Finger food goodness: artichokes and cured ham waffles

The decor is porcine inspired, with cartoon pigs adoring everything from the wine glasses to the bathroom decor.

Left: the pig motif runs throughout Right: don’t forget to sprinkle the fleur de sel on your bread and butter

L’Avant-Comptoir is about enjoying the simple things without the fuss, making it a perfect find for foodies who like finger foods.

The hanging menu at L’Avant-Comptoir

Most plates are priced under € 10 and portions are pretty generous. For it’s simplicity and deliciousness, I preferred L’Avant-Comptoir to the highly acclaimed Le Comptoir next door.

Chef Yves Camdeborde of L’Avant-Comptoir

Address: 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon,
75006 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 44 27 07 97
Hours: 12pm – 11pm

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Where to Eat in Paris: L’Ecailler du Bistrot for Oysters

The shellfish plate at L’Ecailler du Bistrot

Looking for a great oyster bar in Paris? Head to rue Paul Bert in the 11th. There is Bistrot Paul Bert just down the street, and the unpretentious maritime-themed L’Ecailler du Bistrot, which has combines classic French ambience with excellent seafood.

Plateau de Fruits de Mer Time Lapse at L’Ecailler Du Bistrot Paris, France

It’s all about the seafood here. While my crab and scallop allergy kept me from the shellfish platter, my friends devoured it over the course of an hour.

One of L’Ecailler du Bistrot’s maritime-themed rooms

The fresh oysters from Normandy and Brittany, cockles and various other crustaceans all received rave reviews from my friends. The sole muniere was a standout, as was the half lobster served with frite, and the linguini with clams.

The half-lobster at L’Ecailler du Bistot

The entire meal was complemented by a few bottles of reasonably priced (for Paris) wine from the menu.

The oysters are ready for their close-up

Left: the empty shells Right: oysters on the half shell

Linguini with clams

This was a meal I had absolutely no expectations about, and wound up one of my favorites of the trip. The cozy atmosphere and good service did not hurt.

The Sole Muniere (before and after)

No doubt– L’Ecailler du Bistrot is a seafood standout.

L’Ecailler du Bistrot

22 Rue Paul Bert 75011 Paris

phone +33 1 43 72 76 77

Opening hours:
Monday-Friday, noon to 14h30 and 19h30 to 23h

Closed Sundays & Mondays

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Where Foodies Shop in Paris: Eric Kayser For Baguettes

A peek inside the pastry case at Eric Kayser

French foodies (and visiting food snobs) know that you have the right to order your baguette as doughy or well done as you like you, or “bien cuit.” That’s why they head to one of artisianal baker Eric Kayser’s handful of Parisian shops for fresh bread baked baguettes.

Cases full of Eric Kayser’s artisanal baked goodness

Artisanal bakeries like Eric Kayser keep the flour on the premises and the bread is cooked there in five different ovens to varying degrees of doneness or  ”bien cuit.” If you prefer your baguette a little doughy, order “pas bien cuit.”

Sandwiches served on Eric Kayser’s baguettes

Whatever you do don’t help yourself to a bottle of water from the deli case– “self-serve” does not exist here. The apple tart in puff pastry is also outstanding.

A baguette from Eric Kayser

No trip to France planned? Not a problem. Eric Kayser now has three New York City outposts.

Travel Tip: look for a name on the marquee

Eric Kayser

Several locations throughout Paris.


79 Avenue Mozart

Paris, France
+33 1 42 88 03 29
Monday-Saturday 7am-8pm


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Where Foodies Shop in Paris: Patrick Roger for Chocolate

The almonds in a Patrick Roger chocolate Bar

Patrick Roger is a rock star of chocolate. He’s both a highly esteemed chocolatier who has earned the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) honor as well as a “chocolate artist” who is known for sculpting animal forms from cocoa and displaying them in his gorgeous boutiques.

Lioness in chocolate at Patrick Roger

He’s know for cruising around town on his motorcycle covered in cocoa powder and using the rubber from Ducati tires for the handles of his jewel toned blue bags. His persona might be bad boy Willy Wonka, but his creations are both whimsical and delicious.

Patrick Roger creations nestled in his signature blue boxes

It”s worth visiting his Left Bank boutique store to try some of his explode-in-your mouth “colours” candies, which look like edible gems but unfortunately too delicate to travel well.

Patrick Roger colours are fresh tasting and beautiful to look at

Patrick Roger is also thoughtful. He’s known for sourcing the best possible ingredients from around the globe and his next level candies combine non-traditional ingredients like basil, lemongrass, oatmeal and Sichuan pepper in a way which inexplicably elevates chocolate to the next level.

Cases of chocolate deliciousness at Patrick Roger

This is a great place to blow some euros. You truly cannot go wrong. There is also a great selection of mini-chocolate bars for 7€ that travel well in their cool tin packaging and last– in theory– for up to a year. Once opened, they tend to disappear within hours.

Marizpan whimsy at Patrick Roger

The distinctive blue box of Patrick Roger

Patrick Roger Chocolate Boutique

3 place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris
Tel: 01 42 65 24 47
Tel: 09 67 08 24 47

From Monday to Sunday
10.30 a.m to 7.30 p.m

108 boulevard Saint-Germain
75006 Paris
Tel: 09 63 64 50 21
Tel: 01 43 29 38 42

From Monday to Sunday
10.30 a.m to 7.30 p.m

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Where Foodies Shop in Paris: Jacques Genin for Chocolate and Caramels

A beautiful tray of chocolates from Jacques Genin in Paris

Jacques Genin makes some of the finest chocolate and caramels in Paris. Unlike other masters of the craft, he is self-taught chocolatier who has mastered the craft outside of the traditional French system with impressive results. When my foodie friends led me into his zen like chocolate shop in the Marais, I felt temporarily transported to Tokyo’s Ginza district.

It’s like being an adult in a very posh candy store

Jacques Genin’s exquisite store is a temple to chocolate and candy for the adult palette. Everything comes in “fun size.” It’s all about the caramels here. They come in a variety of flavors from the traditional (salted, unsalted, salted butter) to the unexpectedly delicious flavors like ginger, tonka, and mango-passionfruit.

Caramels at Jacques Genin

You can even order a flight of caramels for 7 €, which sounds steep– until you’ve tasted the caramels. Unfortunately the caramels I purchased at Jacques Genin did not make it all the way home. They have a way of disappearing once you’ve tasted them.

The jewel case designs at Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin chocolate Bonbons are served in some of finest hotels in Paris

The Pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) case at Jacques Genin

Going to the Candy Shop: The Zen space at Jacques Genin has tables for tea service and a flight of caramels

The Menu at Jacques Genin

Foodie tip: buy more than you think you want. Jacques Genin caramels are a great gift and travel well (if they don’t disappear mid-flight).

Jacques Genin

133 rue de turenne – paris 3ème
+33 (0)1 45 77 29 01

27 rue de varenne – paris 7ème
+33 (0)1 53 71 72 21

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