Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ohinéné - A Taste of Côte d'Ivoire in Paris

Several months ago, a dear friend recommended a French-Ivorian restaurant in his neighborhood. Tom and I finally planned to have dinner there after a guided tour that we took through the Ménilmontant district and on the appointed day, we wended our way through the streets until we came upon the bright red façade of Ohinéné on the corner of rue de la Chine and rue Orfila.

Ohinéné restaurant
© Discover Paris!

The restaurant is fairly small and the decor is reminiscent of an American lunch room, including a display counter where French take-out items are visible. The dining room is sparsely decorated, but is bright, neat, and clean.

Ohinéné dining room
© Discover Paris!

The appearance of the restaurant can be confusing to those expecting to see "theme" decor to accompany the Côte d'Ivorian dishes that are served here. But rest assured, you are in the right place! One look at the handwritten menu of the day will give you the confirmation that you seek.

Menu of the day
© Discover Paris!

While mulling over the menu, we each ordered a rum punch. Tom's was made with banana and guava nectars, lime, and white and dark rum. Mine was concocted with ginger. Both cocktails were thicker than we anticipated, as though fruit pulp had been used as the base. Both were delicious!

We ordered from the chalkboard that the waiter brought to the table. There were no starters listed, just main courses.

Tom decided to try the fish special of the day. Called Dorade royale marinée et braisée à l’ivoirienne, it was a whole sea bream that had been marinated, braised, and then served smothered in medley of chopped purple onion, tomato, and zucchini. The succulent white flesh of the fish was flaky and tender and separated easily from the bone. A large mound of riz rouge (rice prepared with tomato sauce) was served alongside.

Dorade braisée
© Discover Paris!

Riz rouge
© Discover Paris!

I ordered Kédjénou de poulet, a preparation of chicken stewed with chopped peppers and onion. I received a breast and drumette served in a bowl and drenched in the yellow-orange colored broth in which it had been stewed. A small bowl of attiéké, a dish of light and fluffy fermented cassava pulp, was served alongside. I found the dish nourishing and satisfying.

Kédjénou de poulet
© Discover Paris!

© Discover Paris!

For the beverage accompaniment, we each ordered a glass of bissap, a sweetened beverage made from an infusion of the flower of the roselle (hibiscus) plant. The Ohinéné recipe for this drink is thicker than most bissaps that we've tasted and we found it to be quite refreshing.

© Discover Paris!

The variety of desserts offered were not African inspired, but we were pleased with our choice of Tiramisù, a favorite Italian confection. Served in a square bowl, it consisted of cake soaked in coffee syrup that had been topped with mascarpone cheese and powdered with cocoa. We have not tasted a Tiramisù as good as this in a long time. Many are too dry or lack strong coffee flavor—this one was just right!

It was a hearty, satisfying meal. Edith Gnapié, the chef, came out of the kitchen a few times during the service to be sure that everything was fine in the dining room. Her French husband was our waiter and he was very attentive as well. Though this restaurant is off the beaten path for us, we wouldn't hesitate to make reservations to return here!

14, rue de la Chine
75020 Paris
Telephone: 01 71 20 67 62
Metro: Pelleport (Line 3bis)


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