In 2016, the team from Saturne took over a historic bar near the Cirque d'Hiver and installed chef Sota Atsumi (ex-Vivant) in the kitchen. Atsumi's dishes dominated Instagram for a solid two years and Clown Bar became one of the town's most difficult reservations to snag.
A simple spot where you can taste bottles of excellent natural wines alongside a few small plates from proprietor Camille Fourmont, formerly the bar manager at Le Dauphin. Not to be confused with the other Buvette, this off-the-beaten path bar (that is technically a shop where you can buy bottles) was selected as the Best Cave à Manger by Le Fooding.
Fresh off Paris’ greatest resto reboot of recent years - transforming the defunct destination Restaurant Bones into the beloved seven-day mainstay Restaurant Jones - chef-restaurateur Florent Ciccoli doubled down on the Voltaire neighborhood in late 2017, opening Café du Coin with the aid of frequent collaborator Greg Back (L’Orillon, Les Pères Populaires).
For the wine-indifferent, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie is merely a timeless, picturesque terraced café on a shady lane beside the Panthéon. But for alert wine geeks, it might as well be the Panthéon itself, as pertains to natural wine.
A truly mixed crowd packs this Oberkampf wine bar, for natural wine and small plates.
I became a fan of chef Edward Delling-Williams when he was cooking at Au Passage, and so I was thrilled when he opened Le Grand Bain on one of the grungiest / coolest streets in Paris. Like at Au Passage, there’s an ever-changing chalkboard menu of small plates, many of them vegetable driven (if not always vegetarian). You’ll also find massive hunks of protein to share. On a recent night, my friend and I competed for the last bite of a beautiful (entire) sole for only 30€, while vowing to return for the whole lamb shoulder that had us drooling on the neighboring table. This delicious drama played out while sitting outside on a street that’s a destination for graffiti tourists. Le Grand Bain is a great place to eat well and to drink natural wine while surrounded by the joyful cacophony of Belleville.
We have not yet reviewed this restaurant. Check back soon for our thoughts!
Address: 60 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
Nearest transport: Rennes (12), Vaneau (10)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 06 88 88 48 23
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Small plates, modern French
Reviews of interest
Time Out (2016) “As soon as you enter this well-presented cave-cum-restaurant on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, you get an inkling you’re going to eat well. There’s something about all those interesting wine bottles stacked on the walls, the friendly intimacy of the main room (just 15 tables) and the small kitchen nestled at the back that immediately gives a good, homey impression.”
Le Monde (2016) “L’assiette est comme un écho. Elle correspond à des appétits curieux de tout avec une innocence qui est revenue de tout: des palourdes avec du cidre et du citron, du porc avec carottes et bergamote, des ris de veau, racines et cueillettes. C’est biblique, nature, sans chichis. C’est du Doux Jésus. Une sorte de chant tranquille, fredonné.”
Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2015) “Bare-bones, boxy, and cheerful, Sauvage resembles a small-town Scandinavian coffee shop. But owner Sebastien Leroy outdoes himself with a surprisingly uncompromising natural wine selection, and an improvisational menu that grasps beyond the usual cheese and charcuterie to include – at least on the night I visited – a bright and vivid lobster salad.”
Le Figaro (2015) “Des casiers à vins bien fournis, des produits hyper sourcés en arrivage direct, quelques chaises et tables en bois et une atmosphère camarade…”
Paris Bouge (2015) “Velouté de chou-fleur et œufs de saumon, jambon fumé de la Manche, saucisse du Jura et son bouillon de légumes, joue de porc au cidre, fromage normand, riz au lait à la flouve ou encore crème de butternut…”
Le Fooding (2014) “Une vraie potée, du jambon bien cochon, des fromages qui puent, une soupe pour faire chabrot et un coup de rouge en plein quartier chochotte ? Si ce n’est plus possible chez Gérard, ça l’est chez Sauvage, la cave à manger de Sébastien Leroy, ex-décorateur de cinéma, aujourd’hui chercheur de goûts.”
Photo via Sauvage’s Facebook page
Following their success with Verjus, where the more elaborate formula of dégustation + wine pairings has drawn a loyal following of happy locals and visiting celebrities, Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have decided to open something more casual. Let’s call it “serious casual” because at Ellsworth (named for Perkins’ grandfather), foods that you might see at a county fair are elevated through careful sourcing and a sincere spirit of DIY. The fried chicken from Verjus Bar à Vins has moved over to Ellsworth, leaving the former as more of a place for drinks and snacks before or after dinner at Verjus.
Freddy's is a great call when you want to share some delicious nibbles and great wine while perched on a stool, especially at odd hours or on Sunday and Monday when many other places are closed.