This is THE place to eat! very fashionable with an excellent reputation for fast efficient service and the prime location in the harbour. It is a fast moving crowded and busy place. I have never known it to be empty of patrons. Therefore, it's best to drop by earlier in the day and book a table, phoning is impossible, they always seem to be engaged and unless you are very good at French, you may be misundertstood.
I was cracking a crab there once and a jet of juice shot out straight into the eye of the lady diner at the next table.... I was terribly apologetic etc etc, but with remarkable hauteur, she dealt with the inconvenice in the same way she would deal with a troublesome fly... just waved it away as if nothing had happened. Pas de probleme Madame... she said, pas de probleme
I am now writing about the visit in May 2009. Still a busy restaurant, although NOT as busy. I may be out of the usual tourist season, coming here in May, indeed, less people and the weather was a tad colder, not as many street musicians and entertainers, no street market, but there was a funfair due to start that Saturday. We had to walk through it several times to get to the restaurants.
Favorite Dish: I love langoustines! crab is a favourite too, so fresh and super yummy!
This time, I had a whole crab (18.50€) hubby had a pave cabillaud (a fish) for 22.00€ and our new found wine, a Reuilly at 25.00€. Total price 65.50€. The prices seem to have escalated.
I would not recommend this for the budget traveller, although the flavours are exquisite.
This restaurant has been in business since 1947. Not bad.
Right in the Old Port where there is a wide choice of restaurants.
Very wide choice of food, both seafood (de la mer) and other (du terroir), which suited us as my hubby is not keen on fish! Not haute cuisine but just good, honest, regular traditional French food. Wine available by glass, bottle or different size "pichet".
Friendly and polite staff. Excellent and quick service, (unlike one other more up-market restaurant we visited where they seemed to forget to serve us, then offering us coffee on the house in compensation!)
Spacious and nicely decorated inside.
Favorite Dish: Soupe de poisson with croutons, rouille and grated cheese to sprinkle on top was pretty bog-standard but delicious.
Wide choice of fresh fish, as everywhere in La Rochelle, but if you don't want to choose fish, the pork tenderloin in tarragon sauce (filet mignon de porc sauce estragon) was scrummy and a decent size portion.
Pudding - I had caramel liegois, a kind of toffee knickerbocker glory (miam!) and my hubby had home-made bread and butter pudding (cake de pain perdu) - although they didn't translate it as such - with toasted almonds and creme anglaise (custard)
This was where to get the best crab. I am not really keen on shellfish like oysters and cockles or even winkles. Crab is king! I'll fill in the details more when I find the bill!
Favorite Dish: Crab. Crab is good for you. Contains iodine for your underactive thyroid!
This restaurant is located right on the Old port. I had tuna tartare as an appertiizer. To my surprise, it tastes like the chef put the tuna through a meat grinder, so the texture is rather mushy. :o( The paella is quite good, a little too saucy for me. Overall I gave it a 7+ on a scale of 1 to 10.
By the time I checked into Hotel Les Brises, it was already 1:45 in the afternoon. Since most restaurants stop serving lunch at 2PM, I had to find a decent place quickly. I did manage to find one - L' aunis. I had an order of raw oysters to start, they were fresh and plump. For the main course, I had grilled seabass with fettucine. The seabass was fresh and the pasta was prepared just right (el dente). This joint is not as upscale as Au Bouchon next door but acceptable to me any given day. I gave it a 8.5.
On a street one block off the old port, there are a lot of restaurants. This one in particular caught my eye after looking at their menu. The food was so good - foie gras open face sandwich, grilled fish, and a strawberry stew for dessert. I was their only customer for lunch on that day so the service was very attentive. Highly recommended. On a scale of 1-10, a 10+.
My experience on here is what happens when you change mind and have to look for another restaurant near closing time.
You choose the one with less people, hoping they would not oust you, to finish their day with tranquility. Miracle! they accepted us! It was a restaurant amongst the many in an artery: a tourist trap ?
Food was not great though wine was OK... Never choose soupe de poisson there. It will appear tasteless (?), especially compared to the good ones. My cousin who is working in the catering area (still studying) told us about the possibility of it to be supplied with deep-freezed soupe de poisson, without making it at all. Talking about culinary trip ? :-)
A friend of mine chose paella. Well, knowing we were not in a Spanish dive, I was reluctant to have it there. Rice was not cooked at all. Half-cooked.
Favorite Dish: None... the Pineau apéritif and the wine.
I had one big problem in France-price of beer.I like beer.But 3 or 4 Euro for a 0.25l beer in restaurant is too expensive for me.
In Germany (in Munich,Freiburg) I paid 3 Euro for 0.5l.And in my country (SLOVAKIA) i pay only 0.6-0.8 Euro for beer.(czech or slovak beers).Okay,back to my problem.3 Euro for 0.25l is too much.
I bought beer in the shop,and in fast food I bought American Kebab.It was excelent..It cost 4.3Euro.
The streets behind the old port are where the old meets the new, plenty of contemporary restaurants and traditional cafe bars. The usual menus offering mussles and all manner of seafood, crepes (sweet ) gallettes (savoury ) and set price menus aimed at the bulk of French diners who seem to prefer to eat out at lunch times, which reminds me - most shops shut for lunch between midday and 2pm for lunch, in France a break for dinner really is a break, the next time you are having a sandwich at your desk ask yourself who has it right?
Galettes are a kind of whole-grain pancakes. Though it is not local dish of La Rochelle, rather originating from Bretagne area, we easily found it. There was a place where we nicely experienced it, it was in a small eatery in Gabut area. Its name was La Licorne.
A galette can have many variations according to its filling: simply with ham, cheese or anything from Sud-Ouest area. In this case, your galette is rich, with duck "gésier", confits de canard... These are some of possible variations you would find in this area. Truth is, La Rochelle is not far from Bretagne (galettes originate from there) and Bordeaux, Landes areas (where you can taste the delicious cuisine du Sud-Ouest, my favorite in France - Excusez-moi, les Lyonnais!).
We had galettes with cider, to respect the tradition.
Favorite Dish: Galettes are a nice alternative to sandwich. Many choices as for filling. Yummy with the traditional cider... :)
It is a mussels dish, that has been de-iced with Pineau des Charentes wine. Then poured on it, a curry creamy sauce. The whole set is put in oven for some minutes afterwards. Then served.
Another way to experience mussels.
Favorite Dish: I love curry sauce!
Not far from the Aquarium area, you will find this restaurant.
All in green like algae, with nice little tables with ceramic tops. It seems to be one locals really appreciate. It comprehends three storeys that serve fresh seafood. Azuleros on top of tables have marine motives: algae, fish and some plants.
By the way, its name means "The tide".
On the menu: click here
Favorite Dish: Favourite dish was Soupe de poisson. Excellent. I tried 4 soupes de poisson in restaurants in same area. Conclusion: here is the best.
Then, main dish was a plain grilled salmon. Delicious! Crispy outside, soft inside. Perfect combination.
Price is given without wine.
Good restaurant. Located 200 ft. from the chain tower overlooking the old port. I tried the tasting menu. Every course was excellent. Attentive service. Gave it 9+.