Best restaurants in Paris: Clamato


The plain but beautiful interior and exterior of Clamato. Photos by Didier Gauducheau via Hold UP Architecture Blog


80 rue Charonne

75011 Paris01 43 72 74 53

Open everyday for dinner except Monday and weekends for lunch as well.

photo by Paris Kitchen

I’ve never had enough luck to get into Septime, every anglo-phone blogger’s favorite restaurant and undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Paris. So when my friend Nancy was in town I figured we should try Clamato, just next door to Septime and opened by the same group because it has a no reservations policy. We headed over on a Thursday night around 9pm and thankfully it wasn’t that crazy busy. We put our names down and waited at a nearby bar until they rang us.

At the bar, Clamato

Clamato’s interior is charming, inviting, rustic and kind-of perfect right next door on rue Charonne to its big sister Septime. We ended up sitting at the bar, which was one of the best seats in the house because we could see all the action. This place is all about seafood and fish in every form. We ordered a few things to share including a raw fish I’d never heard of which our cute young waiter had recommended. It was served with grapefruit rind, a little citrus and salt and it was incredible.

This mystery fish*, whatever it was might not be on the menu when you are there as the menu changes quite often according to the chef’s desire and product availability, but take the advice of your waiter and order something you don’t have often or have never had. This is the perfect place to try something new because Clamato is all about presenting fish in the most tasty possible way allowing its true character and freshness to stand out rather than covering it up with any unnecessary sauces.

A raw snapper-like fish with grapefruit rind

We had two kinds of oysters which were absolutely amazing but the brussel sprouts roasted with peanuts and a peanut-y flavored hummus to dip them in turned out to be like crack. We couldn’t get them in our mouths fast enough. Paired with the white wine he suggested, Cuvée Argile Blanc, Côteau de St Pierre de Soucy from 2013, I can taste the combo now from memory and it was close to perfection. The wine was so good and of course natural because all of their outposts are focused on natural wines that I’m tracking it down to order a case.

Natural wine, not expensive but a near perfect pairing. Dist by Martine’s Wines, Novato CA

After spending a very long stay this winter in Paris and having the opportunity to go to a huge number of restaurants, I have to say this kind of place that focuses 100% on well sourced products presenting them simply with a touch of something unusual or unexpected is my absolute favorite type of place. While it doesn’t have the romance of an old French bistro because its modern in décor and in thinking, this is more than made up with the superior food and service you’ll have. If you are a fish and shellfish lover, I don’t think you can possibly do any better than Clamato.

A simple idea but crazy good brussel sprouts.

Argile Blanc White Wine

*Note: I apologize for the lack of details on this and some upcoming posts. My notes were lost when my phone was stolen in Morocco last week.