Les Amis de Messina

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
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© Thierry Richard
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Gare de Lyon

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A nowhere corner of the 12th arrondissement is the site of one of the capital's least known, and best, Italian joints. Or rather Sicilian, as charismatic waiters Salvatore and Enzo are quick to remind us. Otherwise, there isn't much in the trattoria's single room to establish a sense of location: modern furnishings, tastefully bare decor and a few family photos on the walls are about the sum of it.

Once the food arrives, it's a different story. The meal opens with a range of traditional Sicilian antipasti, such as sardines stuffed with raisins and baked aubergines flavoured with mint, oregano and pecorino. Then comes the inevitable rigatoni dish, served with all the usual Mediterranean suspects – olives, capers, anchovies and peppers; and pappardelle ribbon noodles, prepared al dente to perfection, with homemade sausage and mushrooms. Dessert is a bit of a curveball: courgette with sugar and ricotta. The recipe is chef Ignazio's grandmother's, and she certainly knew what she was doing – it's devilishly good, especially with a little fennel liqueur on the side. You'll feel like you've been to Taormina and back.

Venue name: Les Amis de Messina
Address: 204 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
12e
Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm and 7-10.30pm. Sat 7-10.30pm only.
Transport: Métro : Faidherbe - Chaligny ou Reuilly - Diderot
Price: Mains €40-60
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