Tag Archives: oysters

L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer

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: 01 42 38 47 55
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Seafood & oysters, small plates

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Reviews of interest

Le Figaro (2016) “Poissons, coquillages, crustacés mijotés, marinés, tartinés où Saint-Jean-de-Luz croise le yuzu, la Sardaigne surfe à deux plats du Cap Ferret et l’huître Bloody Mary partage son roulis avec les bulots en mayo wasabi. Il y a du Tokyo et du parigot dans ce grand plongeon. Un océan planqué derrière le bar.”

Time Out (2016) “Like its older sibling, here you eat standing up, and everything happens at the bar – from ordering to getting stuck in to the quality wines and tapas-style dishes. It all happens in a relaxed, old school atmosphere where it’s easy to make friends with the other diners.”

Le Fooding (2016) “Toujours tabous les tabourets, on gouaille, on tutoie et on s’arrime au zinc sur ses deux cannes pour des tapas à se taper le cul par terre. Et c’est la mer qu’on voit danser dans ces couteaux rôtis soulignés d’une machiavélique poudre d’orange sanguine, tandis que beurres Bordier multicolores et pains de Breton font rugir les pétoncles noires de Normandie relevées d’un jus savant. Tout en saveurs d’ailleurs, d’ondulantes tagliatelles de seiche en bouillon et pâtes à l’encre envoient Marco Polo à Osaka…”

L’Huitrier

Practical information

Address: 16 rue Saussier-Leroy, 75017
Nearest transport: Ternes (2)
Hours: Open every day for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance, but walk-ins are welcome
Telephone: 01 40 54 83 44
Average price for lunch: 40-59€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Classic French, oysters & shellfish, seafood
Website   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Simon Says (2013) “Les poissons sont un peu plus en retrait comme si les fruits de mer avaient raflé la mise. Le turbot avait un bel aspect, mais la cuisson était allée un peu trop loin ; quant aux saint-jacques, elles étaient juste en petite tenue, satisfaites de leur retour mais sans grande danse du ventre, sans joie communicative. Pour le dessert, tarte aux pommes, elle aussi désenchantée, ne jouant pas le jeu, tournicotant dans un réchauffage hasardeux. Parfait en rôle de faire-valoir.”

Simon Says (2010) “… parfait pour les fruits de mer et poissons.”

John Talbott (2008) “We ordered a dozen #3 speciales and they were plump and good, along with an order of fried anchovies…”

L’Huîtrade

Practical information

Address: at Le Chiberta at 3 rue Arsène Houssaye, 75008
Nearest transport: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile (1,2,6)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Book a couple days in advance
Telephone: 01 53 53 42 00
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: 60-100€
Style of cuisine: Oysters, shellfish, seafood
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Le Fooding (2015) “Three customized oysters to start (in a chilled broth, with a lemon-seaweed granita, or as escabèche, which lacked a little pep), and afterwards, a big salty slap from the grands crus, served raw: the Idéale, the Secrète and the Ronce varieties from David Hervé (Marennes-Oléron), thespéciale and the plate from Yvon Madec (Prat-Ar-Coum, Finistère), the Gillardeau spéciale (Marennes-Oléron), the Perle from Joël Dupuch (the Arcachon basin), or even the spéciale from Florent and the Seven from Florie Tarbouriech (the étang de Thau), amongst others, depending on the season.”

Le Figaro (2015) “Une petite embarcation où sobre et sommaire font style, dans l’esprit vingt mètres carrés sous les mers: murs nacrés, gris tendres, lumière brumeuse où se partagent, dans le même souffle, le banc d’écailler, une douzaine de couverts sur comptoir et une installation de bouteilles à messages.”

L’Hôtellerie Restauration (2015) “L’offre? Une assiette de huit huîtres de crus entre 24 et 48 euros ; les Trois huîtres en préparation froide : l’huître en nage glacée (l’une des plus anciennes recettes de la maison), l’huître en escabèche et l’huître concassée on emportera son plateau ou sa bourriche, parfois millésimée, une « Huître-Pain de seigle » pour combler un petit creux de midi ou une « Huître-Apéro » en soirée…”

Le Monde (2015) “A L’Huîtrade, on rencontre la crème des ostréiculteurs et on déguste les meilleurs parcs du territoire : Yvon Madec de Prat-Ar-Coum (Finistère), David Hervé des Charentes, Joël Dupuch du bassin d’Arcachon, la maison Gillardeau de Marennes-Oléron, Florent et Florie Tarbouriech du bassin de Thau.”

Oysters in Paris

In a half shell, here’s everything you need to know about buying, ordering, and eating oysters in Paris.

Oyster Season:

Oysters are in season (i.e. available and excellent) during any month that has an R in it (September-April), but you’re not likely to see the best on menus until October. Oysters naturally spawn in April and will spend the summer fattening up their plump little selves, plus you’re less likely to have bacterial issues with oysters in the chilly winter months. They feature  prominently in celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s – roughly half of all oysters eaten in France will be slurped up between these two holidays.

Key Vocab:

  • huître-  an oyster. pronounced wee-tra (without the h).
  • coquille d’huître-  oyster shell
  • écailler-  a pro oyster shucker
  • ostréicole–  oyster farming
  • ostréiculteur–  oyster farmer
  • demi-douzaine-  a half dozen
  • douzaine-  a dozen
  • plats- European oysters with flat shells. They are rare (only 2% of oysters) due to overfishing and blights so be prepared to shell out the big bucks for these guys.
  • creuses- Pacific oysters with cupped shells (the most common). Sometimes still referred to as Japonaise.
  • mignonette– a traditional sauce to accompany oysters made of chopped shallots and red wine vinegar
  • claires– essentially these are oyster vineyards. They’re salt water basins that oysters spend time in that lend a particular terroir to each bivalve. They are used to cleanse and purify the oyster, and protect the delicate mollusks from extreme temperature changes. Time spent in the claires will change their flavor and texture and can even extend the shelf-life.

Size Matters 

Oysters are ranked according to size. When purchasing, you’ll see a number on the sign ranging from 00-5 for cupped oysters and 00-6 for flat ones. The smaller the number, the larger the oyster, so 00’s are the heavyweights while 6’s will be tiny.

  • fines- small-medium sized oysters (it’s been calibrated).
  • spéciales- slightly larger and fleshier oysters than the fines (also, calibrated).
  • fines de Claires- fines oysters that have spent two months in the Marennes-Oléron claires filtering the the estuary water in and out of their fatty bodies.  They are a higher density oyster that grow 20 per square meter.
  • Spéciales de Claires- oysters that ripen for two months in the Marennes-Oléron claires but with more space so that they plump up more than fines de Claires.
  • Pousse en Claires- considered a low density oyster (only 5 can be grown per sq meter), these oyster heavyweights that are grown in the above mentioned claires for four months. They’ll be very sweet and fleshy.
  • Papillons- very small oysters (usually 30 grams).
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Pousses en Claires Oysters for sale at L’Ecume Saint-Honoré (photo Meg Zimbeck)

Oyster Growing Regions

As with wine, the flavor and texture of an oyster are deeply dependent on where the oyster has been harvested. Each body of water has different trace minerals, tidal patterns, temperatures, and salinity that will change the flavor of oysters as it filters through their fattening bodies. The flavors will change from season to season and year to year in any given location depending on rainfall, algae and other natural factors.

  • Aquitaine: Arcachon is a celebrated Southwestern bay near Bordeaux where oysters start off in the wild. Small babies then suction themselves to terracotta tiles that farmers deliberately place in the water. They are then placed in sacks (beds) and left to slowly grow and fatten up in the deep sea. They can occasionally acquire a greenish tint due to the algae.
  • Normandy: The Northwest has deep sea oysters from Cotenin Peninsula, Isigny oysters, and nutty Saint-Vaast. Utah Beach is another well-known spot for sweet oysters.
  • Brittany: The small amount of flat oysters produced tend to be farmed along Brittany’s coast. Cancale (firm and salty), Paimpol (juicy and plump from deep-sea farms), Bélon (oyster celebrities from the famed estuary in Southern Brittany that mature in brackish water), Quiberon (well-balanced flavor), Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix and the Bay of Brest are the regions most famous places for great mollusks.
  • The Central West Coat: Ile de Ré, Noirmoutier, Baie de Bourgneuf, Pornic, and Beauvoir-sur-Mer are all areas for fine oysters.
  • Languedoc:  Bouzigue is noted for the extremely pure lagoon water (grade A) so that its oysters can be consumed immediately after being caught.
  • Marennes-Oléron: You’ll find oysters from the Ile d’Oléron which are farmed, and Charente oysters that are fattened up in claires. It’s the claire-ripened oysters that are particularly noted from this region. Sometimes the bluey-green algae from the brackish waters will tint the oysters a special hue.

How to Eat Them:

Oysters are almost never rinsed (to preserve the flavor), often shucked in front of you, and always served over ice. In France, they will typically still have the adductor muscle attached (i.e. they will stick to the shell) as that is thought to keep them fresher longer. You’ll want to take a tiny fork and gently pry it loose, if necessary. Squeeze a little lemon on top, pour some mignonette sauce in the shell, or forgo all condiments and slurp it back in one gulp.

Photo by Meg Zimbeck
Oysters at Le Mary Celeste (photo Meg Zimbeck)

Our Favorite Places to Eat them: 

We first asked our panel of Contributing Editors three years ago to name Five Great Oyster Places for indulging in some half-shell love. Their overall favorite: Huîtrerie Régis.

  1. Huîtrerie Régis– Régis’ superb oysters come from the famous claires of the the Marenne-Oléron.  They’re  available for take out or to eat on the spot in the cheerful little dining room.
  2. L’Ecailler du Bistrot– The “bistrot” in question is carnivore-heaven Paul Bert, just next door.  But at L’Ecailler the focus is on seafood, including a gorgeous array of Belon, Utah Beach, and Spéciales.
  3. Garnier– Get your Gillardeaux to go like Lobrano does or take a seat in this classic brasserie for some of the city’s best bivalves.
  4. L’Ecume Saint-Honoré– This charming poissonnerie has several tables for dégustation on the spot.
  5. L’Huîtrier– Claires and Belons are on the menu at this sleek address in the 17th.

To that list, we now add some new favorites:

  • Le Baron Rouge– The bar brings in an oysterman from Brittany who shucks to order on the street corner. Shop at the Aligre market then scrunch among the trashcans and use a car as your tabletop for a uniquely Parisian oyster experience.
  • Le Mary Celeste– Good cocktails, nice wine, and wild oysters served with a wonderful slightly spicy Asian-influenced sauce. In season, the bar does oyster happy hour with oysters for 1€ each..
  • La Cabane à Huitres– Francis Dubourg grows his oysters in the Arcachon basin and brings them direct to Paris for tasting in this adorable room outfitted to feel like a seaside shack (cabane).

Le Dôme

Practical information

Address: 108 boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014
Nearest transport: Vavin (4), Edgar Quinet (6)
Hours: Open every day for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance
Telephone: 01 43 35 25 81
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: 60-100€
Style of cuisine: Classic French, Brasserie
Website   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2015) “The upside of a city that trades on history, however, is the persistence of such majestic creations as Le Dôme’s airy millefeuille, gargantuan portions of which are hacked off a tree-trunk-sized whole that the servers parade around the restaurant with justifiable pride.”

Simon Says (2015) “C’est une sorte de grosse bestiole. Qui ne bouge pas… On y vient ici s’offrir les poissons du jour, les plateaux de fruits de mer écumant d’iode. C’est impeccable, un peu roué dans la passation de commande où l’on aime bien pousser le bouchon. Mais qu’importe, si l’on a réservé ici, c’est que l’on savait exactement où l’on allait. Sans trop chercher, on atteint avec une aisance déconcertante une addition à 200 euros pour deux personnes.”

Condé Nast Traveler (2015) “I don’t eat fancy food, so most of my recommendations are for bistros and other elbows on-the-table sorts of places—like this one, where Hemingway met painter Jules Pascin, commemorating their story in A Moveable Feast. Here, the fish is still prepared in an old-school way (i.e., filleted tableside) and the maître d’s still wear tuxedos.”

Dorie Greenspan (2008) “Whenever I see a big metal platter with a mound of crushed ice and a pile of oysters, clams, shrimp, langoustines and other precious shellfish, I imagine that I’m in Paris in the 1920s… my favorite place to enjoy this luxury – and is it ever a luxury (especially now with the dollar so weak) – is at Le Dome…”

Photo courtesy of Patricia Wells’ website

La Cabane à Huitres

Practical information

Address: 4 rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015
Nearest transport: Montparnasse-Bienvenuë (4, 6, 12, 13)
Hours: Closed Sunday-Tuesday; Open Wednesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 45 49 47 27
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Classic French, oysters

Reviews of interest

Le Figaro (2011) “Chaque semaine, il monte d’Arcachon avec sa propre production d’huîtres, mais aussi des cannelés et d’autres babioles gourmandes estampillées Sud-Ouest. Pour profiter d’un pique-nique sans façons autour de l’épatante formule à 18€ (une douzaine d’huîtres + foie gras ou saumon fumé), débrouillez-vous pour arriver avant 22h30, le patron ne joue pas les prolongations!”

L’Ecume Saint-Honoré

Practical information

Address: 6 rue du Marché St.-Honoré, 75001
Nearest transport: Tuileries (1), Pyramides (7, 14)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Thursday from 11am-7pm & Friday-Saturday from 11am-10pm
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 42 61 93 87
Average price for lunch: 40-59€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Seafood, oysters & shellfish
Book Online

Reviews of interest

Le Figaro (2011) “Lorsque l’Écume Saint-Honoré, l’un des meilleurs poissonniers de la capitale, se dote d’un espace dégustation, cela donne ce bar à coquillages pour avaler six huîtres sur le pouce, de rares pouces-pieds ou un saumon fumé, le tout accompagné de cris de mouette en fond sonore. Rafraîchissant.”

Goumard

This historic spot is known for oysters and grand platters of fruits de mer, as well as its classified, Louis Majorelle – designed art deco toilettes.

Practical information

Address: 9 rue Duphot, 75001
Nearest transport: Madeleine (8, 12, 14)
Hours: Open every day
Reservations: Last minute booking usually OK
Telephone: 01 42 60 36 07
Website
[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=202475318786031781734.0004a33aa88a3b22c4546&ll=48.868122,2.32565&spn=0.003465,0.009645&z=17 width=500 height=325 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]View a map of all of our restaurants here.
Average price for lunch: 35-49€
Average price for dinner: 50-99€
Style of cuisine: Classic French, brasserie, seafood
Special attributes: standout seafood, late night bites, continuous all-day service, open Sunday, open Monday, valet parking
Type of crowd: suits, foodies, neighborhood locals
Interior: elegant & luxe
Atmosphere: formal

Reviews of interest

  • Figaroscope (2009) “Goumard a aménagé au rez-de-chaussée un petit comptoir de ­dégustation d’huîtres (29,10 € les 12 huîtres dont 3 belons n° 3) ouvert en continu de midi à ­minuit… Au menu ? De très belles huîtres plates ou creuses, spéciales ou fines de claire dont les ­remarquables huîtres d’Yvon Madec à Prat-ar-Coum.”
  • Alexander Lobrano (2009) “Gourmard has slimmed down a lot for this new century, and I’d certainly be willing to give it another go for the good value menu, but I couldn’t help but regretting what it once had been…”
  • John Talbott (2009) “I went today with a trusted palated friend and he and I were thoroughly pleased with the all inclusive menu (3 courses, 1/2 btle wine, 1/4 btle water and coffee) for 49 Euros.”

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