Le 29 in Saintes
The British touch
“It's really not bad for an Englishman!” is a comment Michael Durkin hears often. Having learned the ropes in several starred restaurants across the Channel and in France, the young English chef has just opened Le 29 in Saintes. The establishment proposes creative and elegant cuisine. “I learnt my profession in England, so obviously you'll find a British touch in most of my dishes. It’s what distinguishes me from the other restaurants”.
The extra touch: “Afternoon tea” every Wednesday.
Le 29, 9 Place Blair, Saintes.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 96 71 72.
Lunch menu: €15 / €19.
Afternoon tea on Wednesdays 1.00pm - 4.30pm
Les Jardins du Lac in Trizay
Fish, top of the menu
Following in his father’s footsteps, 4 years ago Yohann Suire took over as head chef at this restaurant, confirming its reputation for sea food cuisine. From Turbot to Red Mullet,
Langoustines, Bass, Meagre and shell fish, seafood lovers will be spoilt for choice.
The extra touch: a spectacular view of the wooded park and the Bois Fleuri Lake.
Les Jardins du Lac, 3 Chemin de Fontchaude, lac du bois fleuri, Trizay.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 82 03 56.
Menu from €28.
Le château de Mirambeau in Mirambeau
Ranked a Michelin-starred restaurant in 2017, the Château de Mirambeau treats its clients to a sumptuous setting: a prestigious decor, elegant table settings and cuisine à la française. Maxime Deschamps, the head chef, places great emphasis on offering traditional cuisine with creative twists using local produce as much as possible: “Customers enjoy finding a dish they’re familiar with. Here, they can appreciate genuine French cuisine”.
The extra touch: After a good meal, relax for a while in the on-site spa.
Le Château de Mirambeau, 1 Avenue des Comtes Duchatel, Mirambeau.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 04 91 20.
Menu from €50.
Le Menestrel in Saujon
Pulls out all the stops for flavour
Le Ménestrel proposes excellent gastronomic cuisine, thoughtfully prepared using local and seasonal produce. “We love to mingle different tastes, textures and scents in our dishes to surprise and delight the palet”, says David Ménestrel, the owner. A la carte, you’ll find locally caught fish alongside duck filets from Challans, lobster and even “Cagouilles” (snails).
Enjoy all this and more in the dining room or in the private, Japanese-themed garden.
The extra touch: outstanding service.
Le Ménestrel, 2 Place Richelieu, Saujon.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 06 92 35.
From €30 at lunchtime. Menu from €40.
Le Capnell in Rochefort
A preference for all things locally-sourced
Christophe and Nelly Berger are big fans of locally-sourced produce. “Wherever possible we use products from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The duck comes from Poitiers, our beef from Saint-Just-Luzac and the veal from a farm close to Fouras”. You’ll find exquisite dishes, beautifully prepared by the chef Christophe Gobin. Among the must-have specialities, “Salad of Camembert and Goat’s cheese fritters”.
The extra touch: the establishment offers a Vegan dish and a gluten-free dessert.
Le Capnell, 1 Quai Joseph Bellot, Rochefort.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 87 31 77. Menu of the Day €22.
Set Lunch menu at 19 €.
Le Brise-Lames in La Tremblade
Traditional cuisine with a twist
Head chef Christophe Moinardeau is unstoppable when he starts talking about his job.
“I’m constantly on the look out for ideas to liven up local products in a creative way”.
From the starter to the dessert, he likes to revisit traditional recipes, exemplified in his unforgettable Grand Marnier Soufflé. From the bread to the little chocolates served with coffee, he strives to “transform everything on site”.
The extra touch: a breathtaking view of the île d’Oléron and the sunsets.
Le Brise-lames, 2 Avenue de la Cèpe, La Tremblade.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 36 06 41.
Menu from €19.90.
Le Flandre in Saint Palais sur Mer
Tucked away in a Pine forest, Le Flandre owes its title to an ocean liner of the same name whose wreck is located just a few metres away. A sea theme runs through everything at Le Flandre, from the ceiling to the plate. Chef Michael Lafond proposes “traditional cuisine based on local produce”. Warm oysters with a champagne sauce, smoked Salmon and Monkfish, sea consommé with seasonal fresh vegetables are just a few examples.
The extra touch: an overturned boat hull provides an original setting for tasting the food.
Le Flandre, avenue de la Palmyre, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 23 36 16.
Menu from €23.
La Cuisine de Jules in La Rochelle
An explosion of flavours
Tasty, inventive and generous, La cuisine de Jules leaves no-one indifferent. Behind the stove, Guiliani Di Giovanni who claims “to work by instinct” proposes contemporary cuisine that combines tradition and gastronomy. “I love this mix of rusticity and gastronomy. My dishes are made up of different flavours that I prepare with various sauces, gravies and emulsions”. Updated on a regular basis the menu offers, among others, King prawns and Chorizo Risotto, Oysters, Monkfish Carpaccio, Veal…
The extra touch: the Tartare de Jules perfectly prepared à la plancha is a house classic.
La cuisine de Jules, 5 rue Thiers, La Rochelle.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 41 50 91.
Set lunch menu at €23.90.
Le Grain de Sable in Châtelaillon Plage
At Le Grain de Sable, situated on the seafront in Châtelaillon-Plage, every dish is a delight. Chef Loïc Level likes to describe his cooking as “traditional yet creative” He relies on flavours from far and wide to develop original dishes such as the Foie Gras accompanied with Hummus and a mashed-Date purée. Even the kids get to enjoy these creative recipes thanks to small portion sizes. It’s a long way from the traditional steak and chips!
The extra touch: from the Grain de Sable you get a spectacular view of the beach.
Le Grain de Sable, 99 Boulevard de la Mer, Châtelaillon-Plage.
Lunch menu from €21.
Côté jardin in Saint Martin de Ré
A winning formula
A warm welcome, a relaxing setting and quality cuisine, three ingredients that make Côté Jardin one of the best addresses in Saint-Martin-de-Ré. At the helm are Philippe Jodet and Erwann David. The former works the dining room with his wife Angélique while the latter gets busy behind the stove rustling up “generous traditional cuisine”. On your plate you’ll find fish from the local coast alongside a choice of meat dishes.
The extra touch: Take lunch in the garden, much sought after in summer.
Coté Jardin, 14 rue Emile Atgier, Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 68 16 75.
Set lunch menu from €19.
L’Albatros in Saint Trojan les Bains
Local specialities on the menu
With its two seafront terraces and yacht-styled lounge, the Albatros is well-known on the île d’Oléron. Its contemporary cuisine is composed of regional specialities and local produce.
“As we’re situated on Oléron, fish, seafood, shellfish and oysters dominate our menu even if we also offer meat dishes à la plancha”, explains Christine Cheval, co-owner of the premises with her husband. They plan the recipes with their chef Frédéric Boulay.
The extra touch: the sweet & savoury “almost on the beach” breakfast at €15 with a sea view.
L’Albatros, 11 Boulevard du Dr Pineau, Saint-Trojan-les-Bains.
Tel.: +33 (0)5 46 76 00 08.
Menus from €27.
L’Amaranthe in La Rochelle
The hidden address
Just steps away from the Old Port in La Rochelle, the Amaranthe is the kind of discreet address that gets around by word of mouth. Katia and Didier Marion, the owners, strive to give their customers creative seasonal cooking without the frills. The menu is short but renewed everyday depending on what Didier finds at the market. Here, freshness is de rigueur. « Our quest », claim the couple, “is to continually discover new flavours while giving preference to local producers”.
The extra touch: the best value for money in town.
L’Amaranthe, 14 Rue Bletterie, La Rochelle.
Tel.: +33 (0)05 17 83 07 21.
Set lunch menu from €16.