This compact city, set on the Bay ns Biscay on France’s Atlantic coast, packs an astonishing array ns stunning mise to eat and drink into a small area

Travellers room advised à read the FCO take trip advice at for the country they room travelling to.

Vous lisez ce: Restaurant de fruit de mer la rochelle

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If any kind of small ville in the UK was blessed with as many restaurants oui La Rochelle, ce would become a place de fevered foodie pilgrimage. Here, streets bristle through bistro after bistro, brasseries, bars et many, numerous seafood specialists. Auto locals deal with this bounty through a small so-what shrug: why wouldn’t we? but for nous Brits, ce would be as though Watford suddenly sprouted ont many mise to eat out oui central London.

We’re remaining at the traditionally comfortable hôtel Champlain, perfect for exploring the ancient, porticoed streets. Comment to pick from La communauté Blanche’s riches? There’s whatever from Michelin étoiles to converted boats selling fried seafood passant par the waterfront. Thé most heavily populated restaurants area, de the vieille Port, is dominated passant par two imposing middle ages towers, la tour Saint-Nicholas and Tour aux la Chaîne.


Quayside seafood

Of the three quaysides, deux appear à be completely dedicated à eating et drinking. As is boulevard St Jean de Pérot, wherein we’re seduced par the well known Ernest ns Glacier. Nous wallow in caramel la glace cream spiked with locale salt when watching thé nautical life. Thé beloved andré is a kitsch Disneyland de a fish restaurant (if they can drape it with nets, anchors et glass oats, they will), but a bit more our speed, across the inlet on rue principale Saint-Nicolas, is frais little cooperative restaurant Prao. V its brick walls and beardy barman, it’s auto nearest ns Rochelle gets to hipster. There’s ne sont pas microwave, no freezer: they pride themselves nous their freshness et locality (sadly, no plus long a given in provincial France): we amour our le noir pudding ‘samoussa’ v ‘black butter’ fabriquer from vastly reduced apple, and massive, garlicky sausages native a local farm glazed v their own rôti sauce. Unusually, castle also do a splendid sunday brunch.

They oui a gift shop and deli down auto road parce que le those important sea salt caramels and records. Why not? locale insider intel leads us to ns Suite, who chef, Johan Leclerre, is one of the ‘Meilleur Ouvriers du France’ (Best Craftsman du France). But, through its nightclubby champagne bar, snooty staff and tendency to over-accessorise – ns not certain that foie gros really demands a balsamic glaze and discs ns Chioggia beetroot – it’s no really our kind du place.


In a teeny et exquisite carré off rue principale Saint-Nicolas is beloved little la Solette Cour aux Temple (11 rue du la Fourche), which benefits – as most places faire when off the beaten surveiller – from a very locale clientele. Nous eat tartare et a croustillant ns chèvre (goat’s cheese tart) under the trees. Then, fairly than having actually dessert, we find ourselves repairing to ns Panier de Crabes suivant door (owned par the very same people) à la a spankingly new platter du fruits aux mer. These sweet little neighbours provide ma favourite ns Rochelle lunch.


Local highlights

Rue Saint-Nicolas is also home to auto ancient, semi-legendary les Guignette, wherein supremely saturnine homme serve bottles du the eponymous liquor, ont neon-bright et sugary as any alcopop. ‘What’s in it?’ i ask one. ‘Wine et fruit,’ cette grunts. Hmm. It only opens pour a few hours sauce soja I’m not sure why they’re haricot de soja grumpy, marqué it to add to the enchanting vintage atmosphere. The streets de the old town are lined through shops selling whatever from designer clothes to kitchen products (we virtually acquire a meat slicer in thé very well-stocked Culinarion but resist when ns realise a) thé price, et b) that it wouldn’t ajuster in our luggage.

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A stroll brings nous to thé mandatory Place ns Marché. I had almost dismissed a visit to thé inevitable town marché on the grounds that, well, once you’ve checked out one… comment foolish of je – this one is année absolute beauty. A historic merl des halles is open tous les jours for racks ns oozing cheeses; piled-up rainbows ns soft fruits; fougasses, baguettes and paniers from the bread stalls; and saucissons en croûte, salads, stuffed tomatoes, cheesy small aubergines et pâtés. And, de course, oysters: we choose from the vast num on offer at Roumégous and take them to les Verre et L’Assiette to down with a glass ns Entre-Deux-Mers amid thé market’s bustle. This is ours sharpener avant heading to one du the numerous informal au sens propre bistros that fringe auto market.

Our selection – based only on the fusty cuteness du the internal – is L’Alcazar le café (aka Bistro de Marché, 8 rue Gambetta) whereby we oui rough, meaty terrine studded v pistachios et glorious homemade chips with a rosy fillet mignon in cider sauce. Parce que le nightcaps, conditions météorologiques wind up each evening in thé buzzy, bar-lined piazza Cour de Temple. At Les bad Garçons, like auto titular naughty boys, we down shooters conditions météorologiques the student-rammed terrace.


My husband pines for bricoleur beer indigenous L’Académie du la maternité across the way, marqué sometimes it’s amusant to pretend venir be under with thé yoof. Cette gets his fix later on at hanche Captain Houblon, through its stock ns more 보다 150 various types ns artisan and micro-brewery beers. It’s difficult not à fall a little peu in amour with this compact, attractive city. Cible of course, one of la Rochelle’s top draws is thé bridge over to the Ile du Ré, a tiny île that’s auto distillation ns everyone’s français fantasies, a necklace of towns linked by beaches et cycle paths that look ont though they’ve to be designed by Elle Decor.

We go, with what appears à be an island’s-worth du wealthy incomers, to Ö Parloir. It’s thé sort du place i imagine walk well nous TripAdvisor, marqué its swankiness seems venir be missing thé shabby-chic mettre en ordre of auto island. Important beautiful garden, though, and the mouclade Charentaise (local mussels in a light, creamy curry sauce) is a exorbitant evocation of the sea. Je also like the duck parentier (a sort de shepherd’s pie), that mash pierced par a crisp bacon wand. Ns Tout de Cru, a au sens propre gingham-draped raw payot in année atmospheric alleyway behind the henchmen drag, enchants us. With mince crusty bread et sweet butter, conditions météorologiques slurp oyster after oyster et a quite fine, châtaigne jamón Ibérico du bellota.

Later – much, much later – nous head à la the deliciously raucous et Le Vieux ports booze-fuelled le Bistro de Marin with what seems à be every stylish watercraft owner in thé area, parce que le Kir Royales and steak tartare. Oh, and more oysters – why auto hell not? once in Charente-Maritime… auto ‘5A’ andouillettes de Troyes (sausages made with pork et intestines) – which nous can smell before it leaves thé kitchen – well, they deserve to keep that specifically delicacy. à la a la france that frequently seems hard to find in these homogenous, globalised, McDonald’s days, this corner de the nation is pleasingly preserved in aspic. Gourmet aspic, du course.

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For more information, visit tourism les Charente Maritime

Accommodation et assistance pour this feature, was provided de La Charente Maritime, and Hotel Champlain.

Is over there anything we’ve missed jaune anything tu want to hear more about? let us à savoir in thé comments below…