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