Restaurant Reviews

Fraîche: A Summer Must for Light French Fare Along the Canal St-Martin

by Isabel Miller-Bottome

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Everything about Fraîche is in keeping with its name: light and refined dishes made with market-fresh ingredients, surprising flavor combinations, and a sunny yet airy space that puts you immediately at ease. Whether for a weekday lunch with colleagues or an intimate dinner date, you’ll walk away from a meal at this unpretentious Canal St-Martin bistrot full and restored.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Tiffany Depardieu, whom you might recognize from Top Chef’s second season in 2011, and fellow École Ferrandi graduate, Michael Boivin, lead a small team in the open kitchen. The menu changes monthly to reflect the best of whatever is in season, and is served with fresh bread from their neighbor across the canal, Liberté Boulangerie. On a recent visit, I admired Depardieu from my seat at the bar, as she calmly arranged entrées of crab with avocado cream and crunchy spring veggies, and sliced fresh tuna for a quinoa salad, while every table in the dining room filled up with eager lunch-goers.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

With a set lunch menu du marché (entrée, plat, desert) at 16 euros, it’s easily one of the best values in town. And with its location between Belleville and Canal St-Martin – an area slowly becoming populated by friendly, high-quality local businesses like Myrthe and La Fontaine de Belleville – it’s an ideal spot to cool off and recharge after a hot, busy day in the city.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Fraîche is truly a breath of fresh air and the ideal summer address: satisfying and simple French cooking (sans the rich sauces and heavy meat dishes), modest prices, and a laid-back atmosphere to match its neighborhood.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Canal St-Martin bistrot, Fraîche. A summer go-to for light French fare.

Fraîche – 8 rue Vicq d’Azir, 75010. Métro: Colonel Fabien; Tel: +33 (0)1 40 37 54 23

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Written by Isabel Miller-Bottome for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Isabel Miller-Bottome. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Isabel Miller-Bottome

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Isabel moved to Paris after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. Her poetry and articles have been published by The Catalyst, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Spectrum Literary Journal, The Daily Nexus, The Culture Trip, and the HiP Paris Blog. View Isabel Miller-Bottome's Website

One comment on “Fraîche: A Summer Must for Light French Fare Along the Canal St-Martin

Sounds lovely. I often stay in that area. What’s the address & phone #?
Thanks.

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