TO EAT FURTHER FROM
Central: see below
Charente-Poitou departments are rarely spoken of in terms of world-class
gastronomy. However, we are talking about France here!
restaurants can't be described as local, but most of them can be found
en route to La Bréchoire or in towns that 'merit a visit'.
Here are some of our favourites. Since the fall of the pound against
the euro, outright bargains are harder to find. But the quality can
be amazing for the price.
will find L'Auberge des Glycines in a quiet spot
by the river
in Taillebourg. Small
choice of set
3-course lunch, imaginatively cooked from local produce.
Garden courtyard and small terrace overlooking the Charente. Worth
a day trip (near Château La Roche Courbon). Closed:
L'Auberge des Glycines: 4 Quai des Gabarriers,
17130 Taillebourg T: 05 46 91 81 40
in the heart of the Grande Champagne, has the highly-recommended
La Cagouillarde. Short Menu du Terroir
at 18€50. Free-range duck, snails, ham, white beans, eels
etc. Excellent quality traditional recipes and a selection of very
good Charentais wines. Near the Frapin distillery, with other top
cognac producers nearby. Closed:
Sun eve and Mon
La Cagouillarde: Rue Gaston Briand, 16130
Segonzac T: 05 45 83 40 51
favouite standby in Cognac, Le
Coq d'Or is a large brasserie (open all day) that serves
the usual selection of charcuterie, meat dishes, seafood and mountainous
plates of choucroute. Bang in the centre of town. Open every
Le Coq d'Or: Place François I, 16000
Cognac T: 05 45 82 02 56 Website
that you've been driving from Saint-Malo on the morning ferry, and
after four hours you want to stop and have something to eat. Go
into Saint-Jean d'Angély and you will find
this place in the town centre in a lovely old building with a small
Jacobins offers pizzas, salads and grills from about
Open everyday: lunch hours 12.00-14.00
Les Jacobins: 26, Rue des Jacobins, 17413
Saint-Jean d'Angély T: 05 46 32 54 89
smaller and closer version of Saint-Jean is Matha,
which I have started to take a liking to. Not, as you might imagine,
entirely dedicated to the pizza, Le Pinocchio is
popular and good value. Outdoor seating off the street.
Closed: eve and Mon
Le Pinocchio: 7, Rue Salle des Fêtes,
17160 Matha T: 05 46 58 50 31
got round to writing about the Cheval
Blanc. At the risk of repeating myself, incredible
value at 13€50 for a 5(!) course lunch (not Sundays). Good
cooking, very nice ambience and popular with the English. Luxé,
back street on road from Aigre to Mansle.
Closed: Sun eve and Mon; all of Feb
L'Auberge du Cheval Blanc: 16230 Luxé
T: 05 45 22 23 62
you have what used to be called a 'healthy' appetite, there is amazing
value to be had at Le Taillefer in the attractive
village of Montignac-Charente. A 5-course lunch
with wine will set you back a derisory 10-15€.
Le Taillefer: Place du Docteur-Feuillet, 16330
Montignac-Charente T: 05 45 39 70 39
short drive to a small village, just down the Vienne from Confolens,
brings you to De la Tour on the bridge at
Saint-Germain. This was a real find. Very high standard
of cooking for not a lot of money. Good game specialities. Closed:
Mon (except in Jul and Aug)
Auberge de la Tour: 16500 Saint-Germain-de-Confolens
T: 05 45 84 15 27
institution in La Rochelle, with a view of the
towers of the Old Port. André serves consistently
excellent seafood, with good service. Cavernous interior of many rooms..
Le Bar André: 5 Rue Saint-Jean-du-Perot,
17000 La Rochelle T: 05 46 41 28 24
a view of the open sea, L'Océan is right
on the tip of the Fouras peninsula. Obviously a
great choice for fish, lobster, plateau de fruits de mer etc.
Try the excellent chaudrée (garlicky fish stew).
There are a couple of alternatives, such as Les Viviers
de la Fumée, by the harbour - from where you get
the "Pierre Loti" ferry to the Ile d'Aix.
L'Océan: Pointe de la Fumée,
17450 Fouras T: 05 46 84 55 06
the best restaurant on the Ile d'Aix, Les Paillotes seems
the ideal place to be ripped off, but I wasn't (as far as I could
tell). Try the local Chardonnay for a change and an Ile d'Aix flottante
for dessert. Closed: winter months
Les Paillotes: Bois-Joly, 17023 Ile D'Aix
T: 05 46 84 66 34
a beautiful place on a sunny day. You can drive or walk over the
causeway from Port des Barques to Ile Madame at
low tide. Better to walk or cycle. Keep an eye on the time or you
can be stranded!
Ferme Auberge Marine specialises in produce grown
on the islet: salt-marsh lamb, oysters, clams and line-caught bass.
and friendly service. Book ahead.
Ferme Auberge Marine: 17023 Ile Madame T:
05 46 84 12 67
if the tides are unfavourable, here is a terra firma option at Port
des Barques, facing the infamous Ford Boyard. Visited La
Chaloupe on New Year's Eve lunchtime - not, you would think,
a very clever thing to do, but we had an excellent fish-based meal.
La Chaloupe: 6, Rue Claude Bernard, 17023
Port des Barques T: 05 46 83 00 10
found Le Bistrot Galant in the Green Michelin guide.
In the old quarter of Saintes across the river
from the Roman arch, this is a small upmarket establishment with
really good cooking at a low price. Closed: Sun and Mon
Le Bistrot Galant: 28, Rue Saint-Michel, 17100
Saintes T: 05 46 93 08 51
Basses Amarres in Mornac-sur-Seudre,
fixed menu at
(3 courses, 2 choices per course). In one of those
'plus beaux villages' that imply streets full of knick-knack shops.
You can have any amount of huitres/moules/frites elsewhere, but
this is fine dining and great service with a lovely view from
the rear terrace. Closed:
Les Basses Amarees: 5, Rue des Basses Amarres, 17113 Mornac-sur-Seudre
T: 05 46 22 63 31
Central is my favourite restaurant in Coulon,
capital of the Marais Poitevin (Venise verte). A great
lunch option, especially if you are coming from Saint-Malo on the
overnight ferry. Very good value, generous set meals. In the town,
not on the waterside. Closed: not known
Le Central: 4, Rue l'Autremont, 79150 Coulon
T: 05 49 35 90 20
© 2001-2016 Colin Wight