Les Fougères

Les Fougères

One of the best things about dining in Paris is that almost every neighborhood has several outstanding restaurants that lucky locals keep close to their vests. Through a friend in the 17th arrondissement, I discovered just such a table at Les Fougères (The Ferns), an excellent little place with an attractive dining room dominated by a long banquette upholstered in fern-patterned cut velvet. As I arrived on a rainy winter night, the welcome was truly a solace—drenched coat and leaky umbrella were instantly spirited away with a solicitous smile, so I suspected we might be in for a nice evening, and indeed we were. From an amuse-bouche of brandade de morue (garlicky cod and potato purée) and goat cheese—an unusual but delicious combination—to pineapple roasted with Christmas spices, chef Stéphane Duchiron’s cooking was superb. Standouts included ravioli stuffed with Auvergnat pork in a bouillon hauntingly seasoned with star anise; shrimp in a warm infusion of lemon grass, fresh coriander and coconut milk; a beautifully cooked filet of sole with black-olive rice; and veal breast gaily garnished with ribbons of organic carrot. It’s fairly expensive, but with excellent service and a delightful atmosphere Les Fougères is a real find, so dare I ask you to keep it to yourself?

10 rue Villebois-Mareuil, 17th, Fixed-price lunch menu €25, dinner €36; à la carte €70. Prices are per person without wine.

Originally published in the February 2010 issue of France Today

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