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Early or all-day service Paris Saturday

A short report back to confirm that A Noste has everything that brought you to Dans les Landes and adds a bit more. Thanks for guidance Ptipois - this place is the goods.
On the no res for tapas policy, arrival by 7.00 pm on a busy night should secure seats - after that, expect to queue. 5.30 pm gets you a choice of tables even for 8. Atmosphere is relaxed, kitchen staff were watching rugby on the one television before things really got going.
For a group, a few "plancha de charcuterie" and a magmun of Irouléguy makes a good start whilst everybody argues about the menu. By tapas standards servings are large - two each is probably enough, certainly don't exceed three. Chipirons frits still come in wooden clogs and are as good as ever. Panis au chorizo et romarin are delicious mouthfuls based on a puree of chickpeas (if I understood the explanations), the tortilla à l'ail doux is for sharing (so you don't notice your partner is smelling of garlic) - in fact every thing which came to the table was good and the kitchen is most competent and at ease with what it does.
Only minor grumble was about the enthusiasm of the servers to see us on our way - they like to collect the plates before every crumb is cleared. With with food like this we really wanted to finish the crumbs before trekking out to a windy Stade de France.

Nov 26, 2014
kerriar in France

Early or all-day service Paris Saturday

Wow - thanks for all this, particularly Ptipois who confirms the disappointing tales about Dans les Landes which had initially been our first choice. We're now checking out a reservation for A.Noste.

Nov 11, 2014
kerriar in France

Early or all-day service Paris Saturday

Any suggestions for a group of six who want to eat and drink at around 17.30 before heading to a rugby match in Stade de France.
First thought had been Dans les Landes but new regime here is getting very mixed reviews - but something along the same lines might work.

Nov 11, 2014
kerriar in France

Bordeaux late Sunday lunch

Thanks, good suggestion - did not immediately think of that but had some really good fish there not so long ago - terrace is indeed small but both parts of the restaurant are fairly open and airy.

Aug 19, 2014
kerriar in France

Bordeaux late Sunday lunch

For somebody arriving Bordeaux airport around 2.30 pm Sunday, what are the options for a late lunch in the city? Any recommendation for a brasserie with a terrace which serves through the afternoon appreciated. Only suggestion so far was La Plana on Place de la Victoire but not sure about the food

Aug 18, 2014
kerriar in France

Destination Wedding Dublin Help needed

Trocadero in Andrew Street should be able to handle a group without breaking the bank. But since you're visiting Dublin why not go to a pub? Can't immediately think of something suitable in centre but Dublin is not LA and taxis are plentiful - think maybe of the Grave Diggers (aka Kavanaghs) in Glasnevin - food is good with an extensive tapas type menu. It's still really an authentic local bar, not overrun with tourists in the evening and should be able to cope with diverse palates. Give a ring before you turn up with 20!

Jul 12, 2014
kerriar in U.K./Ireland

Anything wonderful in Leuven?

Depends a lot on what you want - it is a university town and there plenty of places which attract students.
Nevertheless plenty of grown-ups live there and Belgians are usually serious about where they eat. Bretoense Hof has a good Franco-Belge classical menu, a good local reputation and a very fine terrace. Faculty Club is in a historic building (Grand Beguinage) and has a good menu - but often fills up with groups. Bistot Sud is very popular and recommended although I have not eaten there myself.
Leuven is worth visiting for it's own sake. All will take reservations by phone in English. Getting to Ghent probably involves heavy traffic on the Brussels ring (and again on Tuesday morning for the airport).

Jun 30, 2014
kerriar in Europe

Le Coq de la Maison Blanche

Jeremy - I wonder if the outstanding wines got you into good mood here?

We eat in Le Coq about 18 months ago (before a rugby match in Stade de France) but were sorely disappointed with the food - the place had a great reputation many many years ago but it really seemed tired and not at all worth the haul out to St Ouen.

If however they flog the Coche Dury at a reasonable price, all might be forgiven - even a return visit might be justified.

Your occasional postings are not to be missed - where do you source your research?

May 07, 2014
kerriar in France

Paris 5 nights, St. Emilion 2 nights, Bordeaux ville 2 nights- opinions and recommendations?

In Bordeaux, you might have a look at La Table du Quai on the Quai Louis XVIII - the style is bistro and south westwith reasonable price/quality balance..
Normally I would not counsel a new restaurant without eating there but I know Pierre Bertranet's two other restaurants and from whence he has taken a part of his team for Bordeaux.
I think you will not be disappointed.

Apr 07, 2014
kerriar in France

Report from my stay in Paris – and the much-debated overnight in Fontainebleau

oops! don't want to head off-thread but the ricotta story does not sound remotely like anything the EC might be involved in - over-keen local officials more likely.
The tocai/tokaj/tokaji issues spring from Hungary successfully invoking a Hapsburg law from +/-1750 which created an early "appellation controllee" hitting not just Friuilli but also Alsace and some other wine areas. Again, not the hand of the EC but rather earlier European history.

Mar 25, 2014
kerriar in France

Report from my stay in Paris – and the much-debated overnight in Fontainebleau

On the EC, I think Allende has fallen into the trap of believing some of the euromyths that are used to sell news and all too often involve imaginary food regulation.

One doing the rounds a few years ago and which still pops up from time to time is the EC plan to re-label British sausages as "emulsified high-fat offal tubes". Happily this continental plot was seen off by a vigilant London minister .His name? Jim Hacker of course! Must be true - saw it on television. (Yes minister!) Banning natural yoghurt? Straight bananas?

Most of what comes out of the EC (and which generally has to be agreed with all or most of the countries involved) is eminently sensible and amongst other things protects artisan producers from being ripped off.

Unfortunately, there will always be some dictatorial or incompetent local food inspector whose lazy excuse will be "Brussels made us do it". What rubbish!

Mar 25, 2014
kerriar in France

Bergerac and Monbazillac wines plus ?

Since you are in the area, try Pécharmant - it's a fairly small growth within the Bergerac area but offers good price/value ratio for Bordeaux style wines (merlot plus). Not often found outside the area but usually a good choice in local restaurants - try Ch de Tiregand if you see it.

Mar 24, 2014
kerriar in France

In Paris on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday 2014. Where should I eat?

At weekends Drounat offers a brunch menu at lunch time - this may not be what you want.

Feb 11, 2014
kerriar in France

A short trip to wine country

For Bordeaux, you could try La Table du Quai on the Quai Louis XVIII. Open only since December but the background is good. Pierre Bertrannet has two great restaurants in Haut Vienne (michelin starred Moulin de la Gorce and the Table du Moulin in La Roche l'Abeille which is one of our favourite places to eat). He's not aiming for another star here - it's cuisine du marché with a south-west slant and they open seven days a week.Chef Éric Samson comes from the Moulin.
It's fairly central (near place des Quinconces and the Bourse Maritime), not large but I'm not sure if booking is needed.

Feb 06, 2014
kerriar in France

Brussels foodie recommendations?

“dine and work without standing out” – not really an easy one to answer for Brussels. Good places to eat tend to be busy and although there is no problem about dining solo, it may not always be so easy to work where people like to hang out in the evening. Life is not always easy here for public space Stakhanovites!

Your best bet may be a wine bar which does food. Some of the following, where I’ve seen folks working on laptops may be quiet enough to work unobtrusively at some times of the day or evening but may also get very busy at other times.

Piola libri on rue Franklin in an Italian wine shop cum book shop – afternoons are calm but from six onwards it’s full and noisy.

Winery – two locations, Place Brugmann and rue Juste Lipse (Schumann) could possibly fit the bill.

Bistro de la Poste and Toucan on Chaussée de Waterloo might also work – possible also a few of the places around nearby Chatelaine like Oeno Tk (kinda Greek place).
Other place might include comptoir florian on Place St Boniface (very calm, cool, no mobiles please - they'd probably prefer you work with a fountain pen rather than a laptop)or even the cafe in Filigranes book shop.

Jan 27, 2014
kerriar in Europe

Restaurants of Ecole Ferrandi

Ferrandi takes this fairly seriously as part of the rigourous education their students go through - as well as the two restaurants, these kids will also experience working at receptions in the Sénat, Elysée and other "palaces" of the republic.

Reservations are needed for the two restaurants and are not easy (I've tried several times) - it can't just be enthusiastic parents checking out for their offsprings who fill all the places. When I finally get date that coincides with a trip to Paris, I'll happily report back.

Generally, the folks at Ferrandi are a pleasure to deal with and their relaxed professional approach impresses.

Jan 27, 2014
kerriar in France

A wild ride around the countryside...need some suggestions on the sprint to CDG from Nice. We'd appreciate suggestions on any other aspects as well.

If you are really intent in storming through the Dordogne and the Lot and missing charming French small town with incredible food, at least re-think seriously about overnighting in Carcassonne. Yes it's a "a perfectly (over) restored medieval town complete with walled fortification" but expect expensive and difficult parking, wall to wall tourists at peak times, tacky over-priced tourist traps out to make their annual income by throwing pre-cooked industrial food at undiscriminating hordes, etc, etc.
Sure, take a look at Carcassonne (it really looks best from a distance or in winter) but stay somewhere like nearby Mirepoix - book either in the Relais Royal (good if expensive restaurant but there are others) or the Maison des Consuls (authentique and comfortable well restored medieval building without restaurant but they will reserve a table for you locally). Logis de Mirepoix has a nice enclosed terrace in summer - food is not really memorable but there are plenty of authentique choices around here and you will surely eat well as here you are in the authentic "France profonde".
If you have spent all day in the car (either driving or searching for parking), there is nowhere quite like a small authentic French town to relax and unwind over local food. Abandon the car, these towns were built for pedestrians.
Good luck - you will need it.

Jan 15, 2014
kerriar in France

A wild ride around the countryside...need some suggestions on the sprint to CDG from Nice. We'd appreciate suggestions on any other aspects as well.

God, this is a lot of driving - take it from somebody who already does too many insane road trips across France for rugby, food, friends, festivals etc. Up to half your trip will not be on motorways and, to put it no stronger, you may have to adjust to a leisurely pace.
Looking at just one day, Oradour and the Lascaux caves are two very popular destinations. The former needs 2 to 3 hours (not including a period of reflection) and the queues for entry to the latter should not be discounted. In June expect school tours at both of them.
Take the morning to see Oradour by all means but then take lunch at the nearby Hotel de al Glane (this is a food site after all) - it won't blow your socks off but you will get ok provincial food at a relaxed pace. It will have taken you at least an hour and a half to get there so relax - you'll have to navigate Limoges traffic twice and Souillac is probably two and half hours driving in good conditions.
I suspect that those who know other parts of France will give similar advice - lunches in France should not be rushed and you are going to hit places which deserve to be taken at their own pace

Jan 14, 2014
kerriar in France

Pub lunches a nice drive from Dublin?

For seafood, try Caviston's in Glasthule. There are some great coastal walks nearby and the latest lunch sitting (3.00 pm I think) is very relaxing.

Dec 10, 2013
kerriar in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant Behavior Advice - Paris

As somebody who has lived most of my life in France or the French speaking part of Belgium, can confirm that restaurants are generally very relaxed, provided the customer does not set out to shock (intentionally or otherwise).
They have their working hours and it’s not too difficult to respect them. They understand if families with kids arrive early (say 7.00 to 7.30 pm for dinner) and want to eat correctly but not hang around too long as the kids get restive. French restaurants can seem slow for foreigners – but this is how French people relax and eat. If you really want to eat in an hour or an hour and a half, the best thing is to get there early and explain that the kids gets sleepy.
Parigi is correct on names and the slight air of formality is important – unless you have been going to the same place every week for five years don’t think of addressing the waiter by his first name – even after five years when you think you get to first name terms, you will still at best be addressed as “monsieur Alex” rather than just “Alex” no matter how many times you make the point. Even young kids will probably be addressed as “jeune homme” or “mademoiselle” and rather than sounding pretentious, this carries the slightly flattering air of being spoken to as a near adult.
Be cautious about asking for food not on the menu or asking to have the food presented in a different manner. This is perhaps not so easy to describe but think Jack Nicholson in the diner scene in Five Easy Pieces – this is not how to behave. On the other hand, well behaved kids and pretty girls can sometimes get anything they want – but that’s life.
On tipping, it’s ok to round up to the next zero (or maybe a zero or two beyond that if the bill is in the hundreds) – 3% to 5% shows appreciation. I’m inclined to give this in cash because of some (perhaps mistaken?) view that this is preferred for tax reasons.
Make a reservation and stick to it – it’s only polite. I can’t understand how occasionally people will write here about making several simultaneous reservations and look for guidance about which one to pick – that must drive restaurants mad.
The main message is to relax and enjoy yourself – this is why most French people go to restaurants.

Dec 10, 2013
kerriar in France

Merveilleux pastries in Brussels

Wittamer on the Sablon would be a good place to start. Debailleul's pastries are great and are widely available - which is just as well since their only outlet is on the slightly remote Rue de Ganshoren.
But really Brussels has many great patisssier shops - no middle class residential could function without several. Just follow your eyes.
Be aware that there is no dignified way to eat a merveilleux.

Dec 05, 2013
kerriar in Europe

November trip report and Small Bites

Glad you found and enjoyed Le Loir Dans la Theiere - but have to struggle with mixed feelings when one of these little gems crops up on a board like this. It's unchanged for decades and the chairs look and feel as if they came from grandmother's house clearing.
Long may it stay this way - and please don't tell too many people or they may all arrive and not want to go away!

Nov 28, 2013
kerriar in France

Best French Fries in Europe by City - and their sauces...

In Belgium, that beef tallow gives the best frites is generally beyond question. Even before biting into them, the golden colour tells how they are fried.

Tallow is not so difficult to source. The real traditionalist will say however that rendered horse fat is the real thing but, even if horse meat is readily available, I can't ever recall eating frites fried in horse fat.

Nov 15, 2013
kerriar in Europe

Kollias Seafood Tavern Athens

Has anybody eaten here recently? This restaurant has moved from its former location in Piraeus and is now at Leoforos Singrou.

It was in the past one of the great fish restaurants, anywhere!

Has it changed? Is is still as good as ever?

Oct 01, 2013
kerriar in Europe

Brussels restaurants for dinner in October

Buvette is a sound choice - well informed staff, beer and wine lists reflect care and interest in what is served and since for most of us not everything is familiar, it will educate your palate.

Buvette and Le Canne are both small- reserve a few days in advance. You can safely ring in English as this is a very international city and people are easy going about languages.

Aug 20, 2013
kerriar in Europe

Brussels restaurants for dinner in October

What an odd list!

You've been given a few obvious tourist traps, typical of a hotel list but somebody has stuck in one or two genuine local watering holes.

Le bonne humeur is the real thing for moules frites - not many tourists will make it. Another authentic option would be Friture Rene - perhaps better food and wine choice but they won't take reservations.

De Heeren is not in Brussels but in Denderleuw, maybe an hour away. Neutnigenough good fun, no reservation so wait in line. Antoine is a frit stand where you wait in line and go away with great frits wrapped in a paper cone - think end of night after drinking lots of beer.

More generally, Brussels is a mainly French speaking city about 90 km (50 miles) from the French border and the dominant restaurant is best described as Franco- Belge - most foreign visitors would be hard pressed to spot the difference with Paris food.

If you want to go where well informed locals go try at random Le Canne en Ville, De la vigne a l'assiete, creche des artistes, coq an pates, chez marie, etc or look on although some places listed are a bit precious and over refined.

Le Fourneau is not bad - lots of tapas type plates.

Aug 18, 2013
kerriar in Europe

Helsinki airport

Not sure where you're from but Finland does not require a visa for visitors from most English speaking counties, which includes north America. Downtown in not so far and with six hours is doable if you are not over nervous.

The airport has a not bad wine bar and I've killed an ok hour there. If you don't want to leave the airport, I guess then just accept that you eat airport.

Aug 16, 2013
kerriar in Europe

Visiting Cork to Skibbereen, (Dublin arrival) August/September

Not always an easy reservation - it's tiny - or easy to reach - it's on an island - but is one of the best restaurants in West Cork.

Aug 14, 2013
kerriar in U.K./Ireland

Croquettes, chocolate, waffles and frites- one day in Brussels

Area around Midi is not recommended - take the metro to Louise, about 3 stops, and then walk down towards Sablon and eventually on to Grand Place. Brussels is compact and this is a 20 minute walk and you will find what you are looking for.
By way of exception, the Midi fair takes runs during August and whilst slightly tacky is authentic in its own way - evenings will find street stalls selling frits, waffles, etc, etc - watch out for pick-pockets but this remark applies to popular areas anywhere.

Aug 12, 2013
kerriar in Europe

sarreguemines - frog legs

This is probably a first on this board for corner of France that does not attract too many foreign tourist - so don't expect many replies.
Le Cheval Blanc in Lembach, probably about half an hour away, is one of the great hotel-restaurants of France - I signed up for a cooking lesson there a few years ago and the whole experience was fantastic.
I don't know Sarreguemines itself but the town is large enough to have a few good restaurants - maybe best enquire locally when you get there.

Jul 15, 2013
kerriar in France