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May 12, 2012 01:46 AM

Top Paris caves à manger?

The title says it all; what are your top picks for caves à manger in Paris? Looking for recs for true caves à manger as opposed to wine bars; you know, small spaces, bottles lining the walls, and where customers can pop in to pick up a bottle on their way home or pay a corkage fee and linger over their choice with a plate of something tasty to accompany it.


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  1. The wine bar à the back of Legrand et Filles, La Cremerie, Le Verre Volé, Papilles(?), Racines.


    8 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      I think Albion will mature into one as well.....

      1. re: PhilD

        Great suggestions, thanks! Keep 'em comin'!

        Any opinions on Le Baron Rouge, Le Rouge et le Verre, 5e Cru, l'Ame & l'Esprit du Vin, le Porte-pot, La Cave des Abesses or La Cave du Miroir?

        1. re: canadiangirl_in_Paris

          BR has been thoroughly discussed here already. I think it is great and great fun. The guys (and girls) at Miroir are very wine knowledgeable. Haven't been to the others.

          1. re: canadiangirl_in_Paris

            La Cave des Abbesses has a very pleasant terrace, one of the hippest spots, but casual hip, not oppressive hip. It does not have real food, just charcuteries and snacks and sometimes oyster.

            1. re: Parigi

              As always, Parigi, very helpful. May head here for a birthday night out with the girls. Thanks!

              1. re: canadiangirl_in_Paris

                Thanks. You noted that it does not have real food, right? It also closes early at 21h30 as the wine shop is its main business.
                Format-wise and time-wise it is more suitable as a pre-dinner apéritif place. Or a light non-dinner after a gargantuan dégustation lunch, for example.
                Come to thnk of it: that area of Montmartre has quite a few hip bars. The hip bar selection for that area seems much larger than the good resto selection. There are also Le Progrès on the corner of rue des Trois Frères and rue Yvonne le Tac , and Le Doudinge, on 24 rue Durantin.
                You'd think th Montmartrois drank and draink and drank and never ate !

          2. re: PhilD

            Had a great meal at Albion the first time. Then had a less than average meal the second time. I will not be recommending it in the near future.

          3. re: Maximilien

            You can't "pop in" at Les Papilles.

          4. The lines between a bar à vins and a cave à manger are pretty blurred these days. And then you also have a sort of épicerie version to confuse definitions even more. Anyway, the choices are amazing. A few of my faves. Chapeau Melon off the rue de Belleville in the 19th (métro: Pyrénées), exceptionally good nosh, and a great opportunity to sample a "quartier populaire" out of the tourist circuit. Jeu de Quilles on the rue Boulard in the 14th (métro: Mouton-Duvernet or Denfert-Rochereau), a meat-eaters delight and just next door to the ultra-special Hugo Desnoyer bouchererie, but a wee bit pricey. Cave des Abbesses in the 18th, ditto Parigi's remarks... love this place. Quedubon on the rue Plateau in the 19th (métro: Buttes-Chaumont), just a stone's throw from the glorious Parc des Buttes Chaumont, fabulously simple and tasty menu; La Patache on the rue Lancry off the Canal St-Martin, just as popular with beer-drinkers as wine drinkers, excellent bar food, livelier younger crowd than le Verre Volé just across the street. Maybe not quite the template you are looking for but the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie near the Sorbonne in the 5th has a cool jazz-infused vibe and a delightful setting that appeals to me a lot. Although it gets a Gallic shrug and indifference from me, Le Baron Rouge near the place d'Aligre is very popular -- and probably deservedly so-- with the guide-book set. On a hot summer day or evening, the terrace of le Mauzac on the rue Abbé de l'Epée on the Val-de-Grâce side of the 5th is kinda idyllic but it means sharing your time and space with earnest types from the nearby Ecole Normale Supérieure (one of the grandes écoles, reserved for France's academic crème de la crème). And for lunch, my wine bar of choice is the tiny Zinc Caius on the rue d'Armaillé in the 17th... mmmmm-mmmm. And then what about the tapas/ small-plate bars that do regional specialties like the fabulous Dans Les Landes (southwestern French/ Basque) in the 5th and the very hip and very good Aux Deux Amis (French-Spanish) in the 11th?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Parnassien

              In doing a search for wine bars, this place came up: Aux Tonneaux des Halles at 28,rue Montorgueil, 75001. Has anyone been here? If so, would you recommend it? Thanks.

              1. re: RCF

                I've passed it many times and it seems popular. But have never been tempted to try it. Or more precisely the clientele doesn't appeal.

              2. re: Parnassien

                Wow, thanks for this. Very helpful. I keep hearing about Chapeau Melon; it wasn't around when I lived in th 20th. Nor was La Vierge de la Réunion near métro Alexandre Dumas which is also geting a lot of ink these days. Maybe a back to the old 'hood is in order...

                1. re: canadiangirl_in_Paris

                  I've only been to la Vièrge de la Réunion once. Very likable. But the immediate neighbourhood is quite dead. My flâneur tendencies were stifled. I like my caves à manger/ bars à vins to be part of a process rather than just a destination.

                  1. re: canadiangirl_in_Paris

                    Chapeau Melon has only a handful of seats and is a very difficult "walk in" in the evening, particularly Sundays. And they seem not to answer the phone. Worse, their call-backs always come when we've already made other plans.

                    1. re: mangeur

                      oops, well spotted. We overlooked the pop-in requirement. Since they aren't pop-in-able or at least risky without a rezzie, take off Jeu de Quilles, Papilles, Chapeau Melon, Zinc Caius and, Le Verre Volé from the list.

                2. Had an excellent meal at Le Verre Volé a couple of weeks back Max. Food is solid and lots of natural wine selections at reasonable prices. The food is perhaps a step up at Les Papilles and the set menu is very good value at 35 euros for soup, main, cheese and dessert. There's plenty of intresting wines from Burgundy and further south at excellent prices and service is good.
                  Best Regards

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jeremyholmes

                    I've been to all of them except Papilles, that's why the "?"

                  2. Where do you live?
                    Was it Parnassien who said he would not cross town for a wine town? He has a point. Wine bars here have a definitely neighborly ambiance. You pick out one you especially like and get yourself adopted.
                    Starting from the second, third time you go, you will be recognized, and your taste too, and the caviste will steer you to bottles he thinks you will like.
                    Our fave cavistes even know the type of cooking we like to do, and he advises accordingly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Parigi

                      I live in te 3rd, but like to get out of my neighbourhood and see what's going on elsewhere. Thanks all for the suggestions. Looks like a busy four-day weekend ahead for me!