Slightly off the beaten track in an up and coming part of Paris’ 10th Arrondissement, Vivant was a delightful find for a fresh, simple dinner in a super cool ambiance with lovely service. Phyllis expertly sums up the restaurant in her review below. – Erica
It was no surprise that Pierre Jancou’s latest restaurant would be beautiful—his last two spots, Racines in the Passage des Panoramas and La Crémerie on the rue Quatre Vents in the 6th —are both stunning. Even so, I was still struck upon entering by Jancou’s knack for uncovering hidden gems. This one, located on the Rue des Petites Ecuries in the 10th, was an exotic bird shop in a previous life, hints of which appear in the motif of the bright green Art Nouveau tiles which cover the walls from floor to ceiling. It may be a new restaurant, but you wouldn’t know from the decor. With its faded charm and cool ambiance, it blends perfectly with this part of the up-and-coming 10th arrondissement.
Phyllis Flick/Erica Berman
Like its predecessors, Vivant serves meticulously sourced products and only natural wines. On the night of my recent visit there was a small blackboard menu and between three of us we were able to try nearly everything on offer. We started with a creamy Burrata from the Cooperative Latte Cisternino with tiny capers from the island of Pantelleria off of Sicily; delicate slices of fragrant Parma ham that were slightly salty and sweet; and seared Dupérier foie gras over shaved baby artichokes and a handful of greens—all delicious. Mains included cochon de lait (suckling pig) with hearty mashed potatoes, Challans Duck and line caught merlu (hake) from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, both expertly cooked and served with an assortment of vegetables that included fava beans, carrots, celery-rave, and spinach.
Fois Gras and Artichokes – Phyllis Flick
The wines on offer are 100 % natural — or “living”, as Jancou calls the wines he likes to serve. So what does that mean exactly? According to More than Organic, Jancou’s website, natural wines are wines “made in small quantities, by an independent producer, from handpicked, organically grown grapes, with no added sugar or yeasts, no adjustments for acidity and no micro-oxygenation or reverse-osmosis”. So, in short, all you are getting are the grapes and what the wine maker is able to express with them. If sulphur dioxide is used, it is used in minimal quantities and only at bottling.
Natural wines are fragile and their tastes tend to differ from year to year and even from bottle to bottle. They can be unstable and unpredictable. Upon opening they might be fizzy and have a funky smell. Nothing a little decanting won’t normally fix but many people are put off by them and dismiss the natural wine movement. I’m not sure where I sit on that fence, and don’t know enough to make an informed opinion, but I like natural wines and am not put off when I come across a quirky one.
We trusted Jancou’s judgment for the wines and started with 3 different whites by the glass to share. I was busy catching up with friends in from the US and before I knew it, our chalk board was whisked away and I have no idea what they were. Next up was a bottle of Moulin à Vent, which was simply delicious.
This is a lovely neighborhood restaurant, serving simple but well-prepared cuisine using only exceptional products. The prices are steep—we paid 180 € for three without coffee or dessert—but these sorts of ingredients don’t come cheaply. If you aren’t interested in knowing where your ingredients come from or don’t care what techniques were used to make your wine, you probably won’t “get” Vivant, and I imagine there will be plenty of folks who will walk away disappointed. But if you do care, you just might walk away feeling delighted, like I did, that little restaurants like this exist.
43, rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010
Métro: Château d’eau or Bonne Nouvelle
Open: Lunch and dinner Mon – Fri, closed Sat and Sun
- Check out Alan Richman’s extensive piece about Paris’ best new restaurants and the bistronomy trend
- HiP Paris friend Kim Laidlaw Adrey writes about new SOPI coffee shop, Kooka Boora (which HiP Paris Blog’s Erica Berman included in our roundup here)
Written by Phylis Flick for the HiP Paris Blog . Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in.
9 comments on “Vivant: Organic Wines and Simple, Fresh Flavors in Paris’ 10th Arrondissement”
Good food, but would never go back. They have mice and the owners don’t care!!!! Not okay for me.
I just went to Vivant for the third time. I am not sure there will be a fourth any time soon. I am a big fan of the hip interior and bustling ambiance of this funky little restaurant and the cool neighborhood in which it is located but, I have to say that my friend and I were very disappointed in the overall experience. The night was cold, and so was the interior and attitude. Initially we were placed at a tiny tiny table crammed in a corner where even the thinnest of thin would have had a hard time fitting comfortably. With some finagling, we were able to move to another table. The food (expensive it is) was served quickly and inexpertly. Appetizers came staggered and main courses arrived staggered and before the appetizers were finished. When we commented on this, there was silence from the server. My friend found pebbles in her mushrooms and a bone in her chicken pasta.
My duck came pretty much not cooked. When I sent it back to make it medium rare (instead of the raw that it was) it was returned with a flourish and a mutter of, “voila votre canard trop cuit.” (Here is your overcooked duck). It was actually perfect except for the attitude with which it came.
We were given the check before we were able to order coffee. We were told we had to leave as the next seating was arriving. I understand wanting to turn tables, but we were told we had to be out at 9:30. It was only 9:20. All in all it was a chilly and stressful meal. Luckily the company was good. The food was tasty, but in my opinion, a bit too pricey for what it is.
It was delicious Karena!
Roger, I have never thought of natural wines as being more expensive than other artisan wines. I think you can buy some very good natural wines for less than ten euros. In Paris, the Verre Volé, Caves Augés and La Dernière Goutte all have fairly inexpensive bottles. But you are right, something that is made by hand is always going to be more expensive than something made industrially.
Yes Sarah, unfortunately the prices are more than your average bistro. But, this is because they are using exceptional, sustainable ingredients which come with a price. There are many very good restaurants in Paris that are easier on your budget, so don’t worry, you can still eat very well in Paris even if this one is not in your budget this time around. Have a wonderful honeymoon!
Was going to pin to my “places to visit on honeymoon” pinterest board but then saw prices! Looks amazing but I don’t know if it’s in the budget for this trip 🙂
That is my kind of restaurant. Perfect, yet simple . ingredients carefully cooked with an unfussy presentation. Together with natural wines – unbeatable. Only question – why are natural wines so expensive? I know the answer, the question was rhetorical and longingly voiced.
Phyllis, the artichokes and fois gras look delish! Yum, a wonderful spot!
Art by Karena