15 must-try restaurants in France

Eating locally, enjoying local products, favouring short circuits, sustainable agriculture and following the cycle of the seasons... The trend is towards "locavorism". In the land of gastronomy, more and more French chefs are adopting the recipe. To cook good, healthy and sustainable food, farms and vegetable gardens next door have never been so popular. The proof is in this gourmet selection from the beautiful regions of France.

Sapid, Ducasse by nature in Paris

Terrestrial, nomadic and sustainable cuisine... That's how Alain Ducasse sums up his ambition with his new Parisian address on rue de Paradis. In all simplicity, just like the crates of victuals in the window, Sapid is a "refectory" restaurant, friendly and affordable. The famous Michelin-starred chef who once graced the Plaza Athénée is banking on "naturalness". On the plates, on the large shared tables, vegetables and cereals play the stars to sublimate a cuisine of fresh products, with original flavours, and with a low environmental impact. We vote for it...even if we have to order at a terminal and clear our tray at the end of the meal.

Le Braque, hunting and gathering in Lille, Hauts-de-France

The long-awaited opening of Le Braque in the capital of the Hauts-de-France region has become an event. It has to be said that Top Chef Damien Laforce's first restaurant is sure to entice the taste buds with its promise of the good taste of his native Flanders . From pâté croute with venison to pithiviers with squab, the discovery of this hunting and gathering cuisine, which follows the seasons, is appealing but does not disappoint! For the record, Le Braque is Marcel, Damien's dog, a faithful companion on an inspiring journey to discover nature and the best producers and market gardeners in the region.

Le Braque (External link)

Roses and Nettles, back to the roots in Toulouse, in Occitania

For Yannick Delpech, the former chef of the Amphitryon in Toulouse, a new story has begun in 2020. The race for stars is over! His new restaurant Des Roses et des Orties in Colomiers, at the gates of the pink city, is a return to his roots. For this farmer's son, nature and proximity, know-how and sustainable farming are now the guiding principles, with the aim of achieving 100% local products on the plates. A gastronomic experience of conviviality and sharing to be savoured in a place where a restaurant, a cocktail bar "Chlorophylle", a pastry shop and a wine cellar cohabit.

Des Roses et des Orties (External link)

Finally, and as long as it lasts in Barr, Alsace

Telling the seasons and Alsace as a story, sourcing as close to the land as possible from the surrounding farms, winegrowers and brewers, and only allowing a few digressions, but always with French provenance... This is the name of Carole Eckert and Lucas Engel's fiercely organic and locavore Table, which won the title of "Jeune Talent Grand Est 2021" (Young Talent of the East) as soon as it opened. A few kilometres from Strasbourg, on the road to Mont Saint-Odile, you should stop off at this former slipper factory and carpenter's workshop, an old stone building magnificently transformed into a warm and luminous restaurant. On the menu, depending on the inspiration and the season, you can enjoy duck gyosas and sauerkraut, a Rhine barbel or an arctic char like a civet... Just divine.

Finally (External link)

Maison nouvelle, just like home in Bordeaux, New Aquitaine

A restaurant like a private home in a beautiful building of blonde stone, where you ring the doorbell and the chef himself opens the door. In the charming Chartrons district of Bordeaux, Philippe Etchebest is a thoughtful host who promises to sublimate the best of the South West, his native land. At Maison nouvelle, the chef plays and delights with talented local produce. Marie Le Guen's pigeons in Dordogne, vegetables from the Bagatelle farm or the Mérignas mushroom farm in Gironde... So many references to serve dishes that are masterfully presented.

Maison Nouvelle (External link)

The Café Basque, more real than real in Biarritz, in the Basque Country

On the aptly named Place Bellevue, the Café Basque invites you to savour local gastronomy in the blue "seaside" decor designed by Sarah Lavoine. Chef Cédric Béchade revisits the classics of Basque cuisine with respect and always a touch of mischief, working creatively with local and seasonal products from the surrounding farms. Chipirons à l'encre, piperade, Ibaïama pig axoa or Madiran mushroom tart, to be enjoyed with bread from the Biarritz baker Arnaud Fernandez: the gustatory journey is both enchanting and disorientating. Just like the choice of crockery, with a large place for the creations of Goicoechea, the famous pottery of the Basque Country.

Café Basque (External link)

L'Auberge sauvage, in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy

Oh, what a beautiful place this is! A former presbytery in Servon, a stone's throw from Mont Saint-Michel, between cow pastures and salt meadows. It is the new gourmet and militant den of Jessica Schein and Thomas Benady, two convinced "locavorists". In their Auberge sauvage (where you can also book a room), they give their visitors a fine lesson in local cuisine. Everything, absolutely everything, comes from the bay and this land where the grass is rich and fat, the water omnipresent and the soil fertile. All you need to cook a menu in 4, 6 or 8 steps, spontaneously imagined from the day's fishing and harvest...

Auberge Sauvage (External link)

Empreinte, short circuits in Vannes, Brittany

A pocket restaurant, but which already has all the makings of a great table, in a pretty street in the historic centre of Vannes... A stone's throw from the Gulf of Morbihan, Empreinte has made its mark, taking advantage of its location between land and sea to assert its locavore style. Behind the stove, Baptiste Fournier works with sourced products. Vegetables, fruit, herbs, seaweed, wild flowers, fish, shellfish, meat: no sourcing beyond a 30 kilometre radius for this chef who advocates a cuisine that is lively and spontaneous, meticulous and respectful, simple and tasty. We come back because the menu changes every week. No showboating, but leaving a lasting impression.

Empreinte (External link)

The Cibo, so good in Dijon, Burgundy

The youngest starred chef in France in 2016, Angelo Ferrigno is passionate about gastronomy. He also likes to take up challenges, such as limiting his daily supply radius to 200 kilometres for the pleasure of sharing good local produce. In the heart of Dijon, it is in a beautiful 17th century Burgundy stone building that he has set up his stoves, taking the time to refine the refined and contemporary décor as well as the committed locavore approach. A unique menu, renewed daily and seasonally, highlights the talent of producers and breeders who have become faithful and indispensable companions in the kitchen.

Cibo (External link)

Gwaien, all sails out in Nantes, in the Pays de la Loire

A restaurant of fresh, local (Vendée, Maine et Loire, Brittany, Loire Atlantique...) and seasonal products... That's all there is to it, but it should be added that with Gwaien it is also a piece of Cape Sizun, at the extreme tip of Finistère, which has dropped anchor in Nantes. Just a stone's throw from the Talensac market, Jeremy Guivarch and his team mix land and sea, iodine and vegetables, with a weakness for fish, always from responsible fishing, without however excluding meat. The menu is short but it is a guarantee of proximity, spontaneity and sincerity. We like it!

Gwaien (External link)

Rustic, country cooking in Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône Alpes

« Ma cuisine est comme la vie paysanne, brute et généreuse marquée par la puissance du feu de bois et la fraîcheur végétale ». Ainsi parle Maxime Laurenson, le chef auvergnat pur jus qui après avoir fait ses armes chez Loiseau Rive Gauche à Paris mitonne sans chichi mais avec une fougue revigorante ses bons petits plats chez Rustique, sa nouvelle adresse de la presqu’île de Lyon. Le menu unique, jusqu’à 10 plats, fait la part belle au meilleur de la grande région, de l'Auvergne aux Alpes. Et c’est dans un décor nature (pierres apparentes, parquet en chêne, tables en noyer), qu’on déguste dans la bonne humeur une déclinaison de lentilles du Puy (en chips, en mousse, en petit salé…), des escargots savoyards, un silure des étangs de Bresse ou une truite d’Isère et sa délicate purée d’oseille. Vous avez dit rustique ?

Rustique (External link)

From La Maison d'à Côté to Fleur de Loire, in Blois, in the Loire Valley

Christophe Hay, the godfather of the last edition of Goût de France/Good France, is passionate about plant-based cuisine and ancient vegetables. The two Michelin-starred chef likes to introduce them at La Maison d'à Côté, his beautiful and good restaurant in the Loire Valley, near the Chambord castle. It will close in May 2022. The end of one story? No, rather the beginning of another. Because in Blois, Fleur de Loire will take over in June. The new gourmet restaurant, combined with a sumptuous 5-star hotel, will put the tasty treasures of a one-hectare permaculture vegetable garden on your plate. From fork to fork, it will only be a few kilometres and the talent of an outstanding chef. We can't wait!

La Maison d'À Côté (External link)
Fleur de Loire (External link)

Racines, the all-vegetable in Nice, on the Côte d'Azur

And that's three! After the Hostellerie Jérôme, with two Michelin stars, and Le Café de la Fontaine both in La Turbie, in the Côte d'Azur hinterland, Bruno Cirino and his wife Marion have taken "Racines" in Nice. Their new restaurant celebrates vegetables and all products from the land with a green thumb. Every day, the chef goes to the market with his local producers. Just a stone's throw from the Halle de la Gare du Sud and the Libération market, the "all-vegetable" restaurant plays the vegetable garden card with inventiveness, and it's a blast! Because there is always a juice, a sauce or a broth to sublimate artichokes, fava beans, brocoletti, Jerusalem artichokes and other gourmet peas from the region.

Roots (External link)

Le petit Matieu, a sense of sharing in Ajaccio, Corsica

Initially based in Paris, le Petit Matieu has taken up residence on the island of beauty and Ajaccio has gained a new address under the sign of conviviality and sharing. In this little cocoon, the lunch menu changes every day, inspired by the market and the rhythm of the seasons. Fresh products, the spirit of the times, Mediterranean inspirations and grandmotherly recipes... Mathieu Gontier also knows how to play on his Corsican origins to vary the gustatory pleasures. Figatelli here, brocciu there, courgette fritters or veal cannelloni made in Corsica, the dishes quickly take on the flavours of the maquis. The relaxed bistro atmosphere is also well suited to festive and musical evenings with aperitifs featuring nuggets from the island's small producers.