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Clown Bar was named “Best Bistro in France” by the country's top food publication, Le Fooding, in 2015. It hasn't lost a step since. Set in the landmarked canteen where the performers from the next door's Cirque d'Hiver (“winter circus,” still operational) took their between-show meals in the early 20th century, it's the type of place that would be jammed just for its handsome Belle Epoque decor. But chef/owner Sota Atsumi isn't content to let the place slide by on its looks. Instead, in a miniscule visible kitchen, he's creating some of the most exciting food in this exciting foodie city. A native of Tokyo, Atsumi's food is sometimes very French, sometimes Japanese, and often somewhere in the middle. In the French column is the pithivier, a duck pie that stuffs breast, leg, and foie gras into a buttery, caramelized crust, bringing the Loire countryside to the plate. In the middle are raw sea urchins served in their spikey shells and smothered in a béarnaise sauce that takes a bit of extra tartness from yuzu. And the restaurant's most Instagrammed dish—a complete and undisguised veal brain—is uncompromisingly Japanese, the brain tasting like the most delicate tofu, its creaminess smartly cut by a dashi broth infused with yuzu vinegar. “Bar” is in the title, so you shouldn't neglect the booze, which consists of expertly curated, natural (self-fermenting) wines from across Europe. Let the expert staff guide you in choosing a bottle or glass. This may well end up being your most memorable meal in Paris.