This bright and beautiful city in Western France is also known as La Ville Blanche (the White City) because of its luminous pale limestone buildings that become spectacularly illuminated by the coastal sunlight. It's also home to Vieux Port, an old harbour that's at the heart of the city and famous for its eventful maritime history. But scenic views and rich cultural heritage are not all that La Rochelle has to offer; there's lots of amazing restaurants that serve up the freshest seafood and local specialties. But how do you know which ones to visit? Well, I've been lucky enough to try out a number of the restaurants and feast on some delicious regional dishes. Here are some of my favourites – everything from quick, yet tasty, bites to fine dining restaurants:
Originally a small seafood café in the 1950s, this place has since expanded into a reputable restaurant - best known for its large fish and seafood platters. I love to dine here when I'm in town because I know they always use the freshest ingredients – the seafood is caught the night before. All of their plates are reasonably priced, showing that fine dining doesn't have to break the bank. I've sampled most of their menu, including succulent oysters and fresh sea bass, but my top recommendation has to be the turbot with artichokes- it's divine!
Restaurant André (interior)
A côté de chez Fred
This is a charming local bistro that's known for it's seafood menu, but also serves a mean steak! The desserts here are delicious, especially the tarte tatin with crème fraiche and creamy caramel sauce. If you're looking for somewhere with great food that's popular with the locals, then this is the one for you! You can get your hands on a top bottle of vino for great value too.
Richard et Christopher Coutanceau
The only restaurant in La Rochelle with two Michelin stars, this eatery combines tradition and innovation to create the most experimental and exciting flavours. It's in a superb location directly on the seafront, making it perfect for a special occasion or to round off a great stay. If you choose this elegant restaurant I recommend that you try the coconut scallops and prawns in oyster sauce.
L'Aunis is a bit more of a 'low key' choice - but no less fantastic. Their chefs use the best ingredients and all specialties are created with fresh seasonal produce. If you're a wine connoisseur, then you'll be impressed with the excellent and varied wine list made up of the finest French wines.
I hope I've helped to inspire your gastronomic journey through La Rochelle. Whether you're looking to stop for a quick bite to eat or after somewhere stylish to celebrate a special occasion, you're bound to be in for some delicious, authentic food during your stay!