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May 20, 2008 12:42 PM

Seafood Birthday Dinner in Paris

I will be visiting Paris from New York for the first time this weekend and am seeking a great seafood restaurant for my birthday dinner on Saturday night. I am particularly interested in a great raw bar selection (oysters, lobster, etc). My boyfriend and I are in our late 20's, want a restaurant with a nice atmosphere - not touristy! Also would like to keep it somewhat easy on the wallet, with entrees in the 15-25 euro range.

We are staying in the Marais. As we will be going out for drinks afterwards, an area with a nightlife scene would be nice (the Bastille perhaps).

Please let me know if we need to book beforehand, and thanks for your help!

Also we are considering L'Entrecote and Les Refuge des Fondues for our two other dinners. Am I misguided with these two choices? Opinions/thoughs are welcome.

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  1. My personal favorite is La Cagouille at 10 rue de l'Ouest (near Place Konstantin Brancusi) in the 14th, which is Montparnasse. There's a lot of night life in that area, and it is also close to the Latin Quarter, which is the personification of night life.

    I know other hounds will be weighing in on their own favorites.

    1. L'Entrecote is OK , never heard about le Refuge des Fondues, though that sounds like a specialty restaurant.

      La Cagouille is nice, as is l'Uitr. Fish too (rue de Seine). But 15-25 euros for fish in Paris is tight.

      5 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        We hope to have raw bar selections, etc. on top of entree, which I know are expensive. Probably wish to stay around 150E total (which might leave more room for a more expensive entree, not sure how much wine/dessert/raw bar would add up to).

        Is Le Bar a Huitres too informal for a celebratory dinner? I have been reading good reviews.

        1. re: tatiana_nyc

          Of the brasseries, Bofinger has a good selection of raw bar shellfish, and it is probably walkable. It is not "great", but with your shouldn't expect much more.

          1. re: tatiana_nyc

            You could definitely stay within your budget at the little hole in the wall oyster bar called L'Eclume in the 1er. However, it wouldn't be very "birthday-ey" to me.... La Cagouille has raw bar as well as fantastic cooked offerings that really let the fish's flavor shine through.

          2. re: souphie

            The best value fish restaurant in Paris IMO is "Fables de la Fontaine" in the 7eme, it has very well cooked, innovative fish dishes - starters at €12, mains from €22. They don't have a "raw bar" but do serve oysters, langoustine etc (depending what is good at the market). Book for the second sitting to give you more time.

            Most big brasseries like Bofinger will have the big "raw bars" usually out the front of the restaurant with a man shucking to order. Quality varies a bit, but as it is raw there is no real cooking (and it is not only the oysters that are raw) so quality is probably more a factor of good suppliers and high turnover so everything is in its prime. A big platter of "fruits de mar" can be expensive - but it does look good.

            The Marais is very good for nightlife, lots of bars and cafes. It is the gay heart of Paris , however it is a pretty mixed scene.

            Souphie: ref your suggestion of "Fish" in rue du Seine. It isn't really a speciality fish restaurant, like all Parisian restaurants it has a few fish dishes but it does not specialise. The name "Fish" comes from the english expression "drink like a fish" as it is really a wine bar.

            1. re: PhilD

              I liked both Fables de la Fontaine (thanks again for the recco PhilD) and Fish very much, but neither has a raw bar (at least that I saw). Fish is a little less expensive. When I went, the majority of the menu was seafood. Again, both were great; I think Fables is probably a little out of your budget. I went to Bofinger a few years back, and it was fine but nothing that made my heart sing.

          3. This is a good fish restaurant choice:


            two can easily eat for 150e.

            3 Replies
            1. re: f2dat06

              We just ate at Fish Boissonnerie in the 6e (is this what you folks are referring to as 'Fish' in earlier posts). If so, I disagree with PhilD, I was just there last week and it did specialize in fish. I didn't recall a raw bar but had some nice selections as first courses that were leaning to the sushi side of things. The cost was about 35-40 euros a piece without wine. Great place.

              1. re: SoupRQT

                Yep, thats the place. They have great wines - one of the owners has a wine shop down the street and picks stuff out from there to sell in the restaurant.

                1. re: SoupRQT

                  Yes Fish (la Boissonnererie) has fish dishes on the menu (very good ones), but it also has meat dishes, and vegetarian dishes. In fact it is very good for vegetarians because the English chef labels dishes as meat (including fish) free, and understands vegitarians don't like sauces and stocks to be meat based.

                  That is why I don't consider it to be a "specialist fish" restaurant. To me a specialist fish restaurant has fish/seafood making up 90 to 95% of the menu, and there are quite a number of specialist seafood restaurants in Paris in which this is the case.

                  Fish is a great wine bar, and really nice restaurant but it is inaccurate to call it a fish restaurant. Matthew (the chef) changes the menu monthly but the mix of meat/fish/vegatarian dishes stays reasonably constant. And no they don't have a raw bar.

                  SoupRQT - sorry I am being pedantic on this but I don't feel it is right to direct people here if they are really looking for a specialist fish restaurant, or to put people off the restaurant if they want meat or a vegetarian dish. I am glad you enjoyed it, it is a good restaurant, and I have spent many a happy evening there chatting with Hayden, Juan, Ollie and Drew.