Loire Valley dining Experience
Sitting down to eat in France, whether it be alfresco
dining in the garden, a formal dinner at home or eating out at a restaurant,
can be a most pleasurable experience .
While visiting the Loire Valley
we suggest you should
have the 'French restaurant' experience at least once...or more if your budget
can stand it! Here in Southern Touraine you are spoilt for choice...check
out local restaurants
you are celebrating something special and want a
dining experience then you can dine at the 'Michelin
Star' La Promenade in the nearby village of Le
Petit Pressigny, an unforgettable experience.
Booking is necessary here
11 Rue Savoureulx,
Don't be put off with the idea of snails, frog's
legs, andouillette, or 'tete de veau', all of which we feel you should try at least once,
well perhaps not the andouillette !
There are so many
dishes to get your taste-buds excited that even with the debate as to
whether French cooking is still the best in the world
or not, you will, for the most
part, be delighted.
Your choice of restaurant may of course depend on which part of this lovely area you are
visiting. If you have decided on a major tourist destination, Tours or Chinon for
example, then do not expect every restaurant to be a gastronomic experience
-- you'll be disappointed! Seek out a restaurant aimed at French customers
-- lack of English translation on the menu is normally a good sign. That said, we have eaten in many restaurants aimed at tourists and been perfectly happy with the quality of the food. If you have children with you are
more likely to find something to keep them happy in the larger towns --
though try and get them to try something different -- it will enhance their
experience, ("that'll work", we here you say!)
By choosing a village house like 'Le Bourg' in Barrou you have the advantage of having a bar and restaurant on your doorstep without the need to drive - a distinct advantage now the French have adopted a 'zero tolerance' to drink driving Restaurants serving the local community like 'Les Tilleuls' here in Barrou are vital to these rural villages.
Many of these restaurants serve very good lunches
daily, though many are closed on Monday -- normally from a fixed menu and/or
buffet. Evening meals can be less predictable depending on where you are and
how much they are supported by locals and tourists alike. It is best not to
assume they will be open every evening - so check first and
ahead, even though you may end up dining alone if off- season or in a more remote
destination. Again if you have kids more and more villages are being visited
one night per week by the enterprising 'travelling pizza-man' and (sadly perhaps) the golden arch of Macdonald's has found its way into the larger towns.
It is always cheaper to eat at lunchtime (12.00/2.30) and if you find
a quality restaurant this could be the time to try it. Try and be seated by at least 1.00pm. Even for standard
restaurants midweek is best as they can sometimes increase their
prices at the weekends. Always book evening meals where you can and don't
expect to be served before 7.30 pm. Weekend lunchtimes are also best booked
What to choose?
You do not have to take
the 'à la carte' option as most of what's on it will normally be found on
the fixed price ( prix fixe) menu. In large towns or cities you will normally
be shown the 'menu touristique' but again you are not obliged to take it. Although
these can sometimes be good value for money you will not come away with a
feeling of having had a gastronomic experience! Most restaurants have
English translations but those that don't are happy to talk you through the
menu --remember be adventurous.
This is very much a
personal choice but in many restaurants this will be where a large part of
their profit is generated. Don't be surprised to see familiar wines on the
menu with a very inflated prices. Choice can be very much dependant on
your budget but opting for a carafe of house red or white wine is normally a good option. If buying a bottle why not take the opportunity to try one from the region or town you are visiting Chinon, Vouvray, Bourgueil, Touraine etc.. Many village restaurants offer free wine (Barrou and Mairie do) with their excellent value
Where, when and
whatever you eat and drink we wish you