L’Avant Comptoir

Communal butter at L'Avant Comptoir. All photos by Meg Zimbeck.

Push back beyond the crêpe window up front and and you’ll find a convivial and crowded counter packed with elbows, charcuterie boards, communal pickle jars, and wine glasses. It’s standing room only at Yves Camdeborde’s small plates wine bar, a hit since it opened in fall of 2009. Delicious and hearty bites like duck hearts, ham croquettes and boudin noir macarons are washed down with an impressive selection of wines sold by the bottle or the glass. The opening of seafood spinoff L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer next door and, more recently, L’Avant Comptoir de la Marché just a few blocks away has dispersed the devotees throughout the neighborhood. The original remains packed, however, so go during the off hours or be prepared to be get to know the person next to you very, very well.

Practical information

Address: 3 carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006
Nearest transport: Odéon (4, 10)
Hours: Open every day for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Telephone: No phone
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L’Avant Comptoir in photos

What people are saying

Le Fooding (2015) “Even for those disoriented diners who come for an afternoon snack, the ritual is still the same at Camdeborde’s pintxos bar: walk through the door past the plastic curtain, wait at the bar surrounded by artists, tourists or wandering souls (often all three at once…) and find a spot at this tapas bar, with a basket of Thierry Breton bread and a jar of salt from Salies-de-Béarn. You’ll be rewarded with the following: an extremely comforting croque monsieur with marinated oxtail, flash-seared piquillo peppers and a horseradish cream in buttery triangular-shaped bread.”

Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2011) “I should say that I actually liked the place well enough.  The deal is it’s a quality-conscious, natural-wine, Bordier butter establishment that nevertheless is standing-room only, with self-service bread and condiments, and no plates.”

Dorie Greenspan (2009) “Not to be missed: Iberian ham croquettes (once fried, the ham dissolves inside its crispy shell — too bad I just used the word voluptuous, it would be perfect here, too)…”

Le Figaro (2009)  “Quelques mètres carrés de néogouaille orchestrés par un Camdeborde toujours aussi fameux à faire trinquer mémoire et moderne…”

The New York Times (2009) “…This short, narrow, standing-room-only space with white tile walls, a broad pewter counter and an open kitchen is what Camdeborde calls an “hors d’oeuvres bar,” and it serves up an array of delicious small-plate Basque- and Béarnais-inspired nibbles…”

John Talbott (2009) “The entire Bayonne rugby team was celebrating; they were very drunk, very into jumping in unison on the fragile floor-boards, chanting/singing Basque fight songs, smoking and drinking much more…”

The Paris Notebook (2009) “Claustrophobics might want to abstain as it’s standing room only at the zinc bar laden with a communal bread basket, a tub of Bordier butter, white jars of pickles and peppers meant to be shared amongst your neighbors…”

L’Avant Comptoir in video

Anthony Bourdain’s Paris episode for “The Layover.” The segment on L’Avant Comptoir begins around the 12:20 mark.

4 Comments on L’Avant Comptoir

  1. Not impressed. Salad had so much vinegar it was inedible. Foie grass superb. Nothing else impressed. So overrated.,

  2. Disappointing lunch. More PAris foutaise. Would last a month in New York. Cool Paris is pretentiou crap.
    jww

  3. In response to The Daily Bite: Uncomfortable at L’Avant Comptoir:

    L’Avant Comptoir, a convivial place. Disappointed to discover on two separate occasions staff using packages of prepared peppers, cooked turkey, cheese slices, and battery eggs (Carrefour). When questioned as to the use of prepared peppers, the somewhat defensive response was “with over 500 orders per day we don’t have time to prepare everything ourselves”. Using the lowest quality prepared products does not seem a worthy alternative particularly when promoting the notion all ingredients used are of the highest quality from the best regional producteurs.If this is happening where you can see it, what’s happening on the other side (Le Comptoir)?

  4. In response to The Daily Bite: Uncomfortable at L’Avant Comptoir:

    It’s funny that Aaron should call the place a “total crapshoot”, this is what I wrote about it in the recent update of a Paris guide: “Vous vous faufilez avec un chausse-pied dans ce réduit blindé de monde, et c’est la plongée en apnée. Bien au-delà du coude-à-coude, c’est une méditation étourdissante sur la plasticité du corps humain (attention aux côtes enfoncées tout de même) et le pouvoir de la mode. Vous êtes sur le mètre carré le plus parisien de Paris…”

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