You know what sounds good to me right now? A crisp, clean, elegant pairing of an oyster plate plus a stiff martini. And, it seems I’m not the only one to think so. Over the last few years, internationally, we’re seeing more pairing menus dedicated to oysters and cocktails – some people even take the combo one step further with the oystertini.
Here in Paris, you can’t talk about oysters plus cocktails without talking about le Mary Celeste. This Quixotic Project venue has been on the scene coming on five years and seasonally serves up local oysters with a large range of cocktails as well as craft beers and natural wines. More recently they have company with other new Paris venues dedicated to serving interesting imbibables alongside bivalves. So if you’ve already slurped your share of mollusks at Mary Celeste, check out these more recent additions to the scene:
Les Maquereaux : A welcome update to the Seine’s Peniche Population
Many of the Seine’s floating restaurants can seem somewhat touristy or a bit out of date. But, not so, Les Maquereaux. This “Peniche 2.0” injects tasteful, youthful fun and quality to the city’s central quai and serves up a small selection of organic, sustainable seafood – including oysters – alongside wine, beer and a special menu of cocktails conceived by consultant Emlie Amroni and head bartender Anne Thomas.
The drinks menu features sours, strongs, and after dinner drinks. But the selection that’s most interesting in terms of pairing is the “Gin ‘Ette” section, which includes three drinks that mix different gins and herbs for an appropriate accompaniment to oysters. For example, try the “Coriander” which combines Tanqueray gin with coriander and lime.
Istr: Oyster Happy Hour at the Trendy Foodies’ HQ
This cool new restaurant and bar in the 3eme arrondisement serves up a great selection of seafood including an oyster happy hour at a buck a bivalve! As with many of the other city’s hot spots, they’re also serving small plates and natural wines, making it a regular destination for the city’s fashionable foodies.
Istr offers a winning trio of chic and fun deco, pleasant prices and interesting cocktails. Of note, do try the martini made with a touch of vinegar alongside the oysters, which come in many forms…tempura with tzatziki sauce… in shots…and more. Otherwise, you can order them “nature” with the house soy-ginger sauce. And if you order up the hot sauce, you’ll get an impressive range of tabasco from green to versions I didn’t even know existed.
Ostrea and Perdition: Fresh Seafood Plus Speakeasy Cocktails
It’s an STLB! Except in this case we’re not talking “STLB” in terms of “Short on Top, Long on Bottom” mullet business. (Sorry that might either be a cultural or generational thing that not everyone reading this gets) I’m talking STLB “Seafood on Top, Lounge on Bottom” yummy business. And, I am taking full credit for the new and improved STLB definition! The main restaurant, Ostrea, serves up a selection of oysters and seafood plates in their tidy, tiny, white-tiled restaurant. But those in the know, will push past the semi-hidden door at the back of the restaurant, head down stairs and make a visit to Perdition, the speakeasy style bar below.
Here, Ms Anais Teulier (previously of Prince de Galles and l’UC 61) serves up sexy cocktails like their Parisian French Cancan (fino sherry, whisky, crème d’abricot, Noilly Prat, bitter vanilla) or non-alcoholic cocktails like the floral, fruity and herbal Moulin Rouge in an under-the-radar lounge ambiance.