One of the great seafood stews of the world, bouillabaisse, is also one of the most hotly debated as to what should go into the pot. Since the dish originated in Marseille, France, the French version would seem the most authentic. Indeed, to protect such a local treasure from corrupting influence, the chefs of Marseille drew up a recipe in 1980 that dictates what should go into a true bouilla-baisse: olive oil, Provençal herbs, at least four fish, shellfish, saffron, and orange peel. The fish is cooked in a well-seasoned broth, then eaten separately from the broth itself, which is spooned over toast. You can, of course, get wonderful renditions all over Marseille — try René Alloin (8 place de L’Amiral-Muselier; 011-33-4-9177-8825) or Chez Fonfon (140 Vallon des Auffes; 011-33-4-9152-1438) — but you’ll also find terrific versions stateside.
new york: metro fish, 8 e. 38th st.; (212) 683-6444
boston: mistral, 223 columbus ave.; (617) 867-9300
seattle: ray’s boathouse, 6049 seaview ave.; (206) 789-3770
los angeles: water grill, 544 s. grand ave.; (213) 891-0900
philadelphia: striped bass, 1500 walnut st.; (215) 732-4444