A neat fish restaurant in Paris: La Marée

Yesterday I tried again what used to be one of the classic fish restaurants in Paris back in the 1960s: La Marée. It's on the angle of rue Daru with the Faubourg St Honoré in an "art nouveau" building, and it has replaced what used to be until 1963 a pharmacy owned by White Russians.

By classic restaurant, I mean a comfortable setting, with wood panelling, almost (wow, the ugly word!) bourgeois but soooo "gemutlich", and with food that was always remarkably "true" - and by that I mean the best ingredients and careful, precise preparation.In short, a whiff of the sea. The last time I went there was some 15 years ago, it was still very good, even though the 1960s had become something of a lost decade. Then it changed hands in 2006, and I was curious to see whether it had maintained its original class...

Well it has! It's now run by a couple of very talented young people: Yves Mutin, the chef, and Stéphanie Bennassar who looks after clients in the dining room (still with the 1960's panels on the walls - but why not, they've become now part of the "classic look of the restaurant). Next time you're in Paris, don't miss out on it!

First Let me tell you where it is: go all the way to the end of Faubourg St Honoré, where it becomes Avenue des Ternes (that's in the 17th Arrondissement). Ah, before I forget, another plus: if you like music, it's right next door to the Salle Pleyel, so you can combine an evening of music and follow up with supper at La Marée. These young people running the place are clever and keep the restaurant open for the very purpose of catering to late music fans - meaning people come in for dinner as late as 11 pm...

The food? I'd give it at least two stars if I were the Michelin Guide (indeed I've been to 2 stars restaurants that didn't deserve them - more on that another time). The classical cuisine was perfect: I had white asparagus with mousseline sauce, flavourful, cooked right (they could be eaten right to the end, yet they were not soggy) and the sauce was light and tasted just right, not too much lemon. My husband had a classic fish soup as entrée, equally good with the usual accompaniment of fried bread, rouille and grated swiss cheese to float on the soup. This was followed by a salmon perfectly done with new potatoes pan-fried in delicate poultry-flavoured butter and an unusual, very "nouvelle" preparation for fish fillets of St Pierre: served in a light purée of fresh peas (it's the season now), the fish was covered with paper-thin slices of raw tomatoes. A striking green-red dish! The wine was satisfying dry and fruity Pouilly Fumé Blondelet 2009 "Domaine Le Bouchot". We closed the meal with a crème brulée, which was ok (probably the only thing that could have been better) and a coffee with "mignardises" (small petits fours and chocolates) that were superlative.

Total cost? A little over €100 for two, which is very reasonable for a well-served meal based on fish fare - always an expensive kind of food - in a pleasant surrounding and well-served (the service is fast).

The address: Restaurant La Marée 258, rue du Faubourg St Honoré
tel: +33 (0)1 43802000
opened every day

PS It's a good idea to call to reserve a table. We went on a week-day and it was really full (we couldn't eat before 10 pm).