5 Places to Eat Excellent Oysters in Paris
Briny, salty and slightly sweet, oysters have been popular with international bon-vivants since the 17th century. And what better place to try some of the best oysters than in Paris, the culinary capital of the world?
Paris is known for serving up some exceptional culinary delicacies; from foie gras to frogs legs, and oysters to escargot. Oysters are in season, and in this article I’ve outlined 5 places where you can eat some excellent oysters in Paris. So get ready to eat your heart out in the city of light!
Some Helpful Tips for Enjoying Oysters in Paris:
If you’re an oyster connoisseur, you already know that freshness and quality make all the difference. But if you’re new to these seafood delights, here are some things you should know:
It’s All About Terroir
If you’re unfamiliar with the French notion of terroir, it’s time to incorporate this one into your foodie vocabulary. Terroir refers to the specific qualities and nuances in flavor that a specific place or environment brings to the food. It’s most commonly used in reference to wine or cheese, though terroir can be used to help describe any food, especially oysters.
Each variety of oyster has its own subtle nuance of flavor, ranging from sweet and mild to briny and metallic. All of this has to do with where they come from, and how they were matured. Typically, French oysters hail from the Brittany or Normandy regions, though you can find oysters from all over the world in Paris.
A restaurant serving oysters should always list the variety, as well as the region where they came from. Usually, the name of a specific producer or farm is also listed. Pay attention to this, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice on which ones to try!
Really! Oysters are categorized by the amount of meat inside (and of course type) according to a standardized measure. At most places, they offer a range from N°00-N°5. The smaller the number, the larger and meatier the oyster.
It’s also worth mentioning that larger oysters take longer to cultivate and mature, garnering higher prices. As well as earn some bigger accolades from oyster experts.
How to Serve Oysters
When you go to an oyster restaurant in Paris, oysters will be served the traditional way – raw and on the half shell. They will always be served on ice, and usually accompanied with lemon wedges. Some restaurants will also serve a sauce mignonette to accompany the oysters. Basically, the mignongette is a delicate sauce made with shallots, red wine vinegar and various seasonings.
At some places, you can buy the oysters in bulk, and the fishmonger will shuck them right in front of you. This is always an impressive aspect for first-timers.
Now that you know some of the basics, you’re ready to try some of the best oysters the city has to offer. So without further ado, here are 5 places to eat excellent oysters in Paris!
1. Huguette, Bistro de la Mer
If you’re in a need of a coastal reprise amidst the hustle and bustle of Paris, Huguette is your answer. Situated in the heart of Paris’ Saint-Germain neighborhood, Huguette serves up delightfully fresh seafood in a low key atmosphere. Reminiscent of a leisurely bistro by the seaside, this is one spot to enjoy excellent oysters in Paris.
One of my favorite aspects at Huguette is the extensive selection – and not just in oysters! Huguette offers pretty much any kind of seafood, from sea urchin to octopus to steamed mussels and lobster, they’ve got it. Oyster offerings aren’t scant either, with a dozen different kinds available, including Fine de Claire, Belon, and Utah Beach varieties.
And if you want to have a little seafood feast of your own at home, Huguette also sells their famous fare to go.
huguette, bistro de la mer – 81 rue de seine 75006
open daily from 8:00-2:00
2. Le Dôme
Le Dôme has been around since 1898 and is widely regarded as a Parisian institution. Not only does le Dôme serve up some of the best seafood in the city, it also has quite the history. At the turn of the 20th century, the area around Montparnasse was still largely on the outskirts of Paris and was considerably less expensive than much of the city center.
The combination of uncharted territory and lower prices drew the Belle-Epoque’s infamous international intellectual figures in droves. Before it specialized in seafood, le Dôme was frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Nowadays, the restaurant still resembles much of its Belle-Epoque glory; complete with red velvet banquettes and gold accents. Their selection of seafood is just as top-notch and you can purchase the likes of lobster, sea urchins, scallops and of course, oysters either to dine in or take away.
If there’s one place in Paris where you can eat excellent oysters, the Dôme is it. At the fresh counter, you’ll choose from over a dozen varieties hailing from all over the world, including the rarer plates de Cancales.
le dôme montparnasse – 108 boulevard montparnase 75014
open daily 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-23:00
3. Langousta Passy
Where can you eat excellent oysters in Paris 16th? Langousta Passy is an oyster bar located just blocks from the Eiffel tower in the lively Passy area. The no-frills interior is minimalist chic, centered around fresh oysters and seafood delights on display.
Langousta offers a great selection of not only oysters, but nearly any kind of seafood you can imagine. Their oyster offerings tick all the boxes in terms of variety, quality and presentation. Oyster connoisseurs will appreciate the selection here as they have some harder to find varieties available, such as Saint Vaast.
Plus Langousta lets you decide whether to dine in and take advantage of their sumptuous wine pairings, or opt for an evening at home and order take out. They deliver too!
langousta passy – 20 rue singer 75016
open weekdays 18:00-23:00
open weekends 11:30-14:30 and 18:00-23:00
4. Le Mary Celeste
On the hunt for some delicious oysters in le Marais? Look no further than le Mary Celeste. This swanky cadre is a neighborhood favorite, and it seems they’ve created the perfect combination. Part craft cocktail bar, part fine eatery/oyster bar, the menu is ever-changing, but you can rest assured the quality never wavers.
Pull up a chair at the semi-circular bar in the middle of the room and watch the experts shuck excellent oysters right in front of you. The selection of oysters here changes regularly, though Belon and Bouzigue varieties are usually on offer.
And you won’t want to miss their happy hour! Come in between 18:00 – 19:00 to enjoy oysters for just €1 a pop.
le mary celeste – 1 rue commines 75003
open monday through friday 18:00-2:00
weekends 12:00-2:00 nonstop
5. Opium, La Cabane
Tucked away between upscale art galleries in Paris’ 6th arrondissement, is laid back Opium, La Cabane. This spot is a true hidden gem when it comes to eating excellent oysters in Paris. Italian vibes emanate from the kitchen, and the seafood-centric menu incorporates plenty of influences from France’s sunnier neighbor.
Indulge in their impressive selection of oysters (including Utah Beach and Pousse en Claire types) matched perfectly with a glass of crisp white. The wine pairings are exceptional here and elevate the experience without adding too much to the price tag.
If you’re in the mood for a more traditional Italian meal, however, you can find it here too. Tuscan charcuterie boards and caprese salads are also on offer, alongside a hard-to-beat homemade tiramisu for dessert.
opium, la cabane – 44 rue dauphine 75006
open daily 12:00-midnight
Well that just about finishes up my guide to 5 places to eat excellent oysters in Paris. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that it has been helpful to you. And if you haven’t tried oysters yet, this is the perfect opportunity.
See you soon in Paris and bon appétit!