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Chez Michel, Marseille

6 Rue des Catalans
Tel: 91 52 64 22's insider take:

Chez Michel is not the most attractive restaurant, thanks to a cheesy, seafood-inspired decorating scheme, but it does offer delicious and authentic Marseillaise cuisine. In particular, since 1946, this has been the place to sample the local culinary pièce de résistance: bouillabaisse. They are so rigorous about following the traditional recipe for the famed fish soup that, before they cook it, they show you a basket containing all five of the traditionally required poissons that will go into the pot, including the pricey rascasse (scorpion fish) so often skipped by less conscientious kitchens.

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