Le Chat Ivre
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A tapas bar with all the smarts, plus a surprisingly convivial atmosphere.
Wedged between Bastille and Charonne, Le Chat Ivre (‘the drunken cat’) started life as a bistro and later evolved into a spritely tapas bar with a chic, understated décor and a come-hither contemporary menu. At least, that’s how it looks at first glance, but the atmosphere once you’re settled in is far more down to earth, with shared tables and a happy buzz of conversation.
The wine list is limited to two whites and three reds, but the choices are sound – perhaps a glass of cold Mâcon Solutré from the Domaine Girard, or a little red Bordeaux by Clos Lamothe (€6 each). From the tapas menu, we liked a creamy burrata from the Pouilles region in Italy (€7) or squid with chorizo (€8), though they didn’t quite lift themselves above competing contemporary, canteen-style menus. Better were grilled Japanese-style chicken brochettes (€7), washed down with a pint of Jupiler lager (€5.50).
One thing’s for sure, the cool and easy going feel of the Chat Ivre sets it apart from the neighbourhood’s many cookie cutter venues. Doing things simply and well with a warm and youthful vibe, it’s one to watch in the 11th arrondissement.