L’Eden – Downtown Tampa’s spot for tasty international fare.

July 20, 2011

“MMMmmmm… oh man those croissants smell as good as they look” I said after walking in to L’Eden (corner of Madison St and Tampa St downtown). The pastries, coffee, espresso, everything looked great. L’Eden changed it’s concept from a French-Only restaurant to include more international fare a year or so ago, I assume to appeal to a larger clientele. The Parisian host was quite friendly, and showed us to a fun little tiled table out in the courtyard/grotto, on what was fortunately a day nice enough to eat outside (albeit the grotto area is covered, so you’d be safe and shaded, rain or shine!) We ordered the Assiette de Saumon Fume (Smoked Salmon Plate), the Ratatouille (Vegetable Stew), and the Chicken Madras (an Indian Curry Chicken dish). Up first we had the Salmon Plate, and a few toast rounds with smoked salmon showed up, along with a couple lemon wedges, a small bitter greens salad, and a pat of butter (oh you French and your butter!). It was excellent Salmon, some of the better I’ve had around town, and the citrus from the lemon did a nice job cutting the richness of the meat and complimenting the bitterness of the salad.   Up next was the Chicken Madras, which reminded us of a very tasty curried chicken salad. The addition of nuts and raisins was nice, and the spices/seasonings were present in good proportion, as was the quantity of chicken, it was no meager portion! I thought some fresh naan bread would have been wonderful with this dish, it was served with what appeared to be pita bread, which wasn’t bad but was cold and nothing is quite like warm Indian naan bread with a dish like this. The accompanying cucumber and tomato lent some color to the plate, but didn’t add anything to the dish for us. Last to show up was our favorite dish, the Ratatouille. If any vegetarians are reading this, this is a great pick if you visit L’Eden, a plethora of well prepared vegetables in a yummy broth with a great aroma from the sprigs of thyme sticking out of the bowl. Considering our meal with a bottle of wine was less than $50 and was a really pleasant experience, I can definitely recommend L’Eden to anyone looking for a bite downtown!

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