Where to lunch on a cold, grey, January day in Paris? Fresh, homemade soba noodle heaven, of course. YEN, a Zen-like, two-story affair just steps behind Café Flore in the 6th arrondissement is a Japanese treasure, offering silken tofu that’s as smooth as pudding; feather-light tempura; and deliciously satisfying al dente soba noodles bathed in a fragrant mahogany-toned broth that both fills and satisfies. With every bite, every sip, you feel as though you are offering yourself a “good health” treatment. We sampled a soba noodle and broth paired with the shrimp and vegetable tempura, as well as version offering plump and pleasingly moist poached oysters touched with a flourish of brilliant green spinach. The tofu starter, served in gorgeous white bowls and topped with pungent fresh ginger, thin rounds of spring onion, sesame seeds, and soy sauce, was subtle, but simply ethereal. For dessert, try the unusual black sesame ice cream, smoky, with a touch of crunch, and the intense green tea ice cream. As I walked out the door, my soul was full of sunshine, and I hardly noticed the dense gray sky above.
YEN, 22, rue Saint-Benoit, Paris 6. Tel: + 33 1 01 45 44 11 18. Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Près. Closed Sunday and two weeks in August. firstname.lastname@example.org Lunch about 20 € per person, not including beverages. 35 € lunch menu. 68 € dinner menu.