La Buvette in Paris - the quintessential cave à manger

Some natural wine places are so cute and adorable - I just want to wrap them up, put them in my pocket and keep them to my selfish self.

Meet la Buvette in Paris.

This charming cave à manger is in the 11th arrondissement - the epicentre of the Parisian natural wine scene.

La Buvette - quintessential cave a mangerLa Buvette in Paris - in all its charming glory

Cave à manger invasion

Cave à manger is a trend nowadays. Many wine shops are starting to offer something to munch on as you get to try the wines on the premises.

A brilliant idea!

In my books - a good cave à manger beats any Parisian restaurant. You don’t need a tie or a reservation. And the natural wine/food selection is laser-focused.

La Buvette

We made our way to la Buvette Paris, not even hoping to find a spot. We’d been turned away from aux Deux Amis two blocks away and were fully expecting to go hungry and sad for the rest of the night.

With my hands shaking, I slowly opened the door to la Buvette, peaked in and asked if it’s ok to come in since we didn’t have a reservation.

They looked at us in half-amazement - "but of course". That was a good start!

Entrance to la BuvetteThe entryway at la Buvette - umbrellas and wine - perfect combination for a November evening in Paris

The place was busy, but we managed to find a spot on a little corner of a marble counter, perched like two birds on small stools - feeling happier than ever.

There was a lot of English flowing around. But none of the patrons were first-time Paris visitors. They were seasoned travellers with know-how and dibs on the best Parisian spots.

Top view of food on marble top at la BuvetteA little marble corner that we occupied

The interior of la Buvette is minimalistic.

There is so much white tile everywhere - it almost looks like a butcher shop. I believe it was crèmerie in its past life. Wooden accents, some art and memorabilia soften it up.

Overall, you feel like you are sitting in somebody’s old, well-used and much-loved kitchen.

La Buvette white tile interiorWhite tiles and peeling walls - clearly a reno hasn't been done since the 1930's and hopefully they never dare do it!
La Buvette bar and natural winesAnd a very traditional bar - a nice contrast to the white tiles on the walls

Food at la Buvette

The idea of la Buvette is nothing new - simple natural food and good natural wines. That’s it. But it’s all in the execution.

La Buvette was created by Camille Fourmont as a neighbourhood wine shop. She didn’t expect it to explode in her face and turn into an international sensation.

La Buvette shiny columnShiny disco column - très chic

All of the food recipes come from her creative mind.

Just to get this straight - it’s not a restaurant. All plates are small, meant to be shared among friends and to complement the wines.

We ordered practically everything on the menu.

Food menu on the mirror at la Buvette ParisFood menu on the mirror - a very French thing to do

My vegan self was satisfied by the immense and immensely delicious green olives.

I also had a mini orgasm from large white beans with lemon zest. “Gros haricots blanc & zeste de citron”

It is a famous dish that is a staple on their menu.

Top view of wooden table with food and wine - la BuvetteView from the top at our food and wine at la Buvette - that's when they moved us to the centre stage - a large wooden table.

And I couldn’t stop eating their bread.

Interesting little fact - in North America I can’t touch bread with a ten-foot pole. My gluten radar is kicking and screaming. In Europe - I eat it by the loaf.

My carnivore sister had the famous marinated egg rolled in black sesame sauce topped with bonito flakes. And a huge chunk of blue cheese from Auvergne - with a candied clementine on the side.

Everything sounds so good, right?! Simple and good!

La Buvette - food wine and marbleEating with my bare hands is my only sin

La Buvette Paris - THE book

Camille Fourmont also wrote a fantastic book. The kind of book only a cool Parisian could come up with - defying any genre.

It’s an autobiography with recipes, food porn and inspirational messages. It makes you salivate and aspire to greater things.

La Buvette Paris bookLa Buvette the book - the cover is not that much different from the reality

The book has recipes for most of the things that you'll see on the menu.

We couldn’t purchase the book at the store, but my sister was intrigued enough to order it off Amazon.

I rarely keep wine-related books that I read. Most of them are too cliché or pretentious and end up being donated. But la Buvette took the place of honour on my wine shelf.

Nadine page - la Buvette bookThe book features Nadine Decailly - a brilliant sommelier who served us wine that night

Natural wines at la Buvette

Lots of goodies here! Same as with food - the natural wine selection is tight and very intentional.

We started the night with wines by the glass. And got a bottle when our cousin from California joined us. She prefers white wine, so we ordered a bottle of red.

Natural wine selection at la BuvetteBeaujolais Nouveau season - lots of Gamay in magnums

Riptide 2022, Domaine Cotzé was our choice.

This one got me very excited.

For one - the alcohol level is 11.5%

Even Beaujolais Nouveau that we’ve been drinking is ranking up 14%. To see an 11.5% in red is like spotting a pair of unicorns.

Riptide 2022 Domaine Cotze at la Buvette ParisRiptide 2022, Domaine Cotzé - just look at the gorgeous colour of that wine

The winery is located high up in the Pyrenees, the Roussillon side.

But the fruit is coming from the organic vineyards off the shore of the Mediterranean. It gets picked so early that there is no over-ripeness that is normally associated with the Mediterranean climate.

Then the grapes get transported to the mountains, where vinification happens under no temperature control. No need really, cause it never gets dangerously warm.

The drastically cold temperatures in the winter naturally stabilize the wine.

The person responsible for this marvel is Wilfried Garcia. He recently planted about 2 hectares at high altitude, up where the winery is. Definitely will keep my eye out for those wines.

Riptide 2022 Domaine Cotze handGently touching this wine to make sure it's not a fickle of my over-excited imagination

The second reason I got so excited about this wine is the blend.

It is mostly Carignan (40%), with an addition of Syrah and Muscat.

Carignan provides its signature juiciness and grip, Syrah - the complexity, and the white-skinned Muscat adds a feminine touch - a beautiful delicate nose.

It’s like a ménage à trois with two guys and one girl.

With every sip of Riptide - I wanted more.

It’s what I call a “happy red wine”. You get lighter and merrier as you drink, as opposed to heavier and moodier - as is the case with most bold reds.

La Buvette food with Riptide 2022 by Domaine CotzeCouldn't have picked a better wine with this food

Surprisingly - it got to us. Maybe we were ready to relax. Or maybe we underestimated the Mediterranean sunshine.

By the time we got up to say goodbye - the cheeks were decidedly rosy and the world was a little shaky.

We were sad to leave la Buvette Paris - but we already ate everything on the menu and were getting too comfortable for our own good.

It’s not a resto afterall. You’re supposed to chug your wine, chomp down your food and beat it.

When I open my own wine place - it will be an unashamed copy of la Buvette in Paris.

La Buvette Paris view to the outside

La Buvette Paris

67 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 Paris, France