Ah the wine bar. Something I regard as highly as café gourmand. Something Paris does just right.
After my time living in France, I have realized there is close to nothing that makes me as happy as enjoying a plate of charcuterie and fromages washed down with a great glass (or a few glasses!) of red wine. Luckily, there is no shortage of wine bars to choose from here.
Recently, a friend and I had the opportunity to test out Yves Camdeborde’s wine bar, ‘L’Avant Comptoir’. Opening at the end of 2009, the chef wanted to challenge the thought many Parisians have that good food can only be eaten while sitting. That’s right, this wine bar is standing room only and due to its popularity, is usually packed.
Camdeborde’s vision has come true and it truly is a place to where people come to share food, drinks, and conversation. What seems just like a crowded bar at first slowly turns into a gathering of friends as you get to know your neighbors. I came with one friend and ended up sharing a bottle of champagne older than me with at least five other people.
Camdeborde’s famous restaurant next door, ‘Le Comptoir du Relais’, constantly has a line and a long wait, so ‘L’Avant Comptoir’ (literally translated ‘before the Comptoir‘) is the place to grab a bite while waiting.
But that is not all this place is good for – it is a stand-alone establishment with a great selection of natural wines and serving delicious tapas-style hors d’œuvres true to Camdeborde’s south-western French cuisine.
Although some items on the menu change daily, you are always bound to find the communal bread basket, a bowl of corinchons, and large slab of Bordier’s salted butter. Make sure you aren’t shy and get a taste of this outrageous food experience.
As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of butter, I have to admit this is unmatched. I am sure if you have ever had the chance to try Bordier that you will not disagree. It truly is the perfect combination of salty and creamy to add on to your slice of bread.
With the menu hanging on the ceiling as laminated cards, ‘L’Avant Comptoir’ offers a smorgasbord of pork items and other interesting hors d’œuvres. Although it is all in French, the pictures will help you decide which few you want to choose. One of the favorites being the croquettes de jambon – little fried bite-sized treats with Iberian ham inside. Not to be missed!
On top of the great ambience and amazing food, ‘L’Avant Comptoir’ also has reasonable prices: four to nine euros for hors d’œuvres and three to five euros per glass for wine. It also has a takeaway crêpe stand at its storefront that makes both salty and sweet crêpes.
So whether you need to pass time while waiting for the restaurant or you just are looking for a great wine bar, ‘L’Avant Comptoir’ is the place to go.
All images courtesy of ‘L’Avant Comptoir’