Live Like a Local: Tapas and Small Plate Restaurants in Paris


The small plate trend in restaurants, inspired by the classic tapas bars of Spain, has now morphed into a bevy of full fledged eating establishments.

Small plate restaurants have sprung up all over Paris in recent years. Instead of spending hours at formal restaurants serving endless courses, one can now casually nibble on a few small plates with a glass of wine and consider it lunch or dinner. 

Here’s a list of our top picks for small plate restaurants. 


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American chef couple Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have come along way since they moved to Paris in 2007, having just barely graduated college.  In order to make friends in the big city they opened their apartment dining room to strangers, cooking elaborate multi-course dinners on weekends with paying guests. It was an overnight hit and within six months they had over 10,000 requests. With limited resources they could only serve so many people, so they decided to open a restaurant to fulfill the demand. Verjus, located off the Palais Royal, opened in 2012 and again the success was immediate, becoming one of the hottest tables in Paris. 

Their second restaurant, Ellsworth, was a turnaround from Verjus, which serves a set four to six course menu. Ellsworth, named after Perkins' grandfather, is much more casual and serves a varied selection of small plates. A list of American regional dishes prevails on the menu, including Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Lobster with Green Goddess dressing, duck meatballs with cilantro and crunchy carrots and fried chicken skins served as nachos. 

The condensed wine list consists of small vintners. 

34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Tel. +33 (0)1 42 60 59 66

l'avant comptoir

L’Avant Comptoir & L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer 

Chef Yves Camborde restaurant Le Comptoir is one of the most popular and beloved restaurants in Saint Germain des Pres. The postage side restaurant always has a line at lunch and at dinner, and reservations are required months ahead of time. 

An alternative way to enjoy Camborde’s delicacies without dealing with lines is his venue next door, L’Avant Comptoir. In front is a crepe maker along with a showcase of mouthwatering sandwiches on crusty baguettes to go, and inside is a standup small plates bar. A group of signs hanging from the ceiling cleverly lists the dishes along with photos. Don’t’ worry about not being able to speak French, you can easily point to the signs and order. Crusty French bread and slabs of butter line the counter top and wine is poured freely. 

9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97

With the success of L’Avant Comptoir, a second bar opened a few doors down. L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer specializes in seafood with the same concept of a standup bar. Fresh local oysters, shrimp, tuna, cerviche, and scallops are among the dishes on offer. 

Delectable sandwiches on baguette include smoked haddock with lemon jam, fresh tuna prepared tataki style and crushed tuna with passion fruit and coriander. 

3 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 38 47 55



The team behind a mini empire of two restaurants – Fish Boissonerie and Semilla, a sandwich bar -- Cosi and a wine shop, La Derniere Goutte, have added another address to its winning formula. The team's newest addition is Freddy’s, a tapas and wine bar. You will find the venue a little more comfortable than others because there are bar stools. The exposed stone walls, wood floors and bar and dim lighting create a cozy and club like atmosphere. Freddy’s is strictly food and wine, with no coffee or dessert served. Executive chef Eric Torchon, along with Thomas Estrader, prepares an eclectic menu including Bigorre ham, codfish fritters, falafel, duck satay and razor clams. Another appeal is Freddy’s is open seven days per week, serving till midnight. 

54 rue de Seine, 75006 

Mary Celeste 

Located in the trendy northern Marais area, Mary Celeste has been a magnet for hipsters and Millenials. Although it’s primarily a cocktail bar, Mary Celeste has won raves for its excellent limited menu of small plates. Wild oysters are some of the best in all of Paris. Besides an imaginative range of cocktails Mary Celeste also serves a good selection of micro-brewery beers. 

The name is based on a legendary American boat that mysteriously was discovered deserted and adrift in 1872. 

Mary Celeste has been repeatedly nominated for top cocktail bar by numerous blogs and websites and during Fashion Week hosts parties and events. 

1 rue Commines, 75003
Tel: +33 9 80 72 98 83

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