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Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Sat 17 Feb 2018 22:54
by daniel895
We live in Arles sur Tech, have been here now going on 10 years. We love restaurants. When we moved here, we discovered that it was harder here than in most regions of France to get a good meal. At that time, lots of people posted recommendations on this forum about their favorite restaurants. Now, it seems like there are far fewer posts about favorite restaurants. We'd like to see more, as we love finding new places.

Here are our current favorites:
- Le Clos de Lys - Perpignan - our current absolute favorite, both for service and for food
- Le Rencontre - Perpignan - excellent and friendly, with great service, though with way-too-small portions
- Les Antiquaires - Perpignan - for old-fashioned classic fare, like from another era
- Tuk Tuk - Perpignan - finally, a real Thai restaurant whose menu we're just beginning to explore
- Ancienne Ecole - Palau del Vidre - we have never had a bad meal here
- Les Temps de Cerises - Prats de Mollo - really excellent, run by the former owners of the Diamant Noir in Montferrer
- Le Point d'Art - Montbolo - we love it here, run by an English-French couple
- Les Simiots - Arles sur Tech - very good village restaurant in the main square
- Vallespierre - St Laurent de Cerdans - another very good village restaurant
- La Quadra - Macanet de Cabrenys - very fine village restaurant
- Thai Sawasdee - Roses - the best Thai restaurant by far in this area

Your recommendations?

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 12:59
by Gus Morris
Hello

Sorry but I can't make any recommendations. Don't eat out much. What does intrigue me is that you list two Thai restaurants. Didn't even know there were any around here.

Would it be fair to assume that you've travelled a bit in the Far East? How does the restaurant experience compare with eating at the stalls in the night markets in Chang Mai, Bangkok etc.

Hope you don't mind me asking.

Gus

Interesting Restaurnts in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 16:59
by daniel895
Nope, Gus, never been to the Far East. Just have gotten to know Thai food from dozens, probably hundreds, of Thai restaurant experiences in cities with large Thai communities like San Francisco, New York, London, and so on. I certainly don't consider myself an expert, though. Cheers.

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 17:09
by martyn94
Gus is always a joy. Very many thanks. The Thai places in France are often pretty dire. You have done the research so I don’t have to. And a lot closer than Chang Mai, where the night markets were pretty mixed last time I was there.

A good recommendation for khao soi gets you a gold star.

The last (and only) time I was in St Laurent de Cerdans it was all pretty much closed. I called in at a rather run-down cafe and asked about lunch, quite late on a Saturday. When the patron said pizza, my face fell. The patronne piped up and said that they also had civet de sanglier. It was excellent, but also, pretty obviously, their own dinner. I have felt guilty ever since, but not very. They evidently needed the money, and I was more than glad to pay it.

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 17:20
by martyn94
I see that I managed to say “prettyâ€￾ three times in a not very long post. Pretty slack on my part.

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 17:22
by martyn94
martyn94 wrote:I see that I managed to say “prettyâ€￾ three times in a not very long post. Pretty slack on my part.
Correction: four times.

Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 17:32
by daniel895
Hey, Martyn, the Vallespierre in St. Laurent de Cerdans is just a couple of years old, and as far as I know is going strong, though haven't been there since October. Their Facebook page has a post from last week, so I don't think there have been changes. Nice airy room and places outside as well. Better than the normal village restaurant, much better. Look at the TripAdvisor reviews.

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 18:05
by martyn94
Thanks. As for recommendations, I always take visiting firemen to “La Baletteâ€￾ in Collioure. Allan (whose word is law round here) doesn’t rate it from a gastronomic perspective, and I see his point. But it does a decent €30 lunch, including a glass of wine, and it is a pleasant walk from me (which matters given the parking in Collioure in the season).

The view is lovely, and Collioure is the only place my visitors have ever heard of, if they have heard of anywhere at all. But of course you have to move to Port-Vendres.

Re: Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 20:54
by Sus
daniel895 wrote:We live in Arles sur Tech, have been here now going on 10 years. We love restaurants. When we moved here, we discovered that it was harder here than in most regions of France to get a good meal. At that time, lots of people posted recommendations on this forum about their favorite restaurants. Now, it seems like there are far fewer posts about favorite restaurants. We'd like to see more, as we love finding new places.

Here are our current favorites:
- Le Clos de Lys - Perpignan - our current absolute favorite, both for service and for food
- Le Rencontre - Perpignan - excellent and friendly, with great service, though with way-too-small portions
- Les Antiquaires - Perpignan - for old-fashioned classic fare, like from another era
- Tuk Tuk - Perpignan - finally, a real Thai restaurant whose menu we're just beginning to explore
- Ancienne Ecole - Palau del Vidre - we have never had a bad meal here
- Les Temps de Cerises - Prats de Mollo - really excellent, run by the former owners of the Diamant Noir in Montferrer
- Le Point d'Art - Montbolo - we love it here, run by an English-French couple
- Les Simiots - Arles sur Tech - very good village restaurant in the main square
- Vallespierre - St Laurent de Cerdans - another very good village restaurant
- La Quadra - Macanet de Cabrenys - very fine village restaurant
- Thai Sawasdee - Roses - the best Thai restaurant by far in this area

Your recommendations?
Great list, thanks for sharing, we will try some of these! We like lunch on the terrace at the Hôtel le Bellevue in Prats or if you fancy pizza, I dont think you can beat le Quattrocento. La Chateau Valmy is also nice for a more special occasion. Also recently tried La Fabric, Perpignan for tapas and liked it a lot.

Re: Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Sun 18 Feb 2018 21:37
by Webdoc
daniel895 wrote: Here are our current favorites:
- Le Clos de Lys - Perpignan - our current absolute favorite, both for service and for food
- Le Rencontre - Perpignan - excellent and friendly, with great service, though with way-too-small portions
- Les Antiquaires - Perpignan - for old-fashioned classic fare, like from another era
- Tuk Tuk - Perpignan - finally, a real Thai restaurant whose menu we're just beginning to explore
- Ancienne Ecole - Palau del Vidre - we have never had a bad meal here
- Les Temps de Cerises - Prats de Mollo - really excellent, run by the former owners of the Diamant Noir in Montferrer
- Le Point d'Art - Montbolo - we love it here, run by an English-French couple
- Les Simiots - Arles sur Tech - very good village restaurant in the main square
- Vallespierre - St Laurent de Cerdans - another very good village restaurant
- La Quadra - Macanet de Cabrenys - very fine village restaurant
- Thai Sawasdee - Roses - the best Thai restaurant by far in this area
Les Simiots must be excellent because we've foolishly tried to go there several times without a reservation (including low-season lunchtime mid-week) and they're always full.

Le Point d'Art has a limited and rarely-changing menu but the food is very good. Again, booking advised. Don't be put off by the Tripadvisor entry commenting on the excellent roast dog - my wife fell foul of the auto-correct gremlin when she typed roast fig! The owner was surprisingly understanding.

Posted: Mon 19 Feb 2018 15:06
by Kate
We've been to a couple of restaurants recently that I would recommend.

Yesterday, we ate at Les Halles, right on Canet plage, just before the port. It's just changed hands and we thought it was excellent. Not cheap, but you are right opposite the port mouth for watching boating coming in and out, with beach on one side and port on t'other, so you expect to pay a bit more for the package. Friendly service, thoughtful menu...with a cocktail bar upstairs overlooking the sea with comfy seats - for nicer weather I think. Pierrot the owner, speaks excellent English, having worked at the Fat Duck (long after the food poising incident!! :-)

It's changed its name from....cant remember, but it's a different name and different atmosphere completely.

Posted: Mon 19 Feb 2018 19:21
by Anthea & Tim
Was it previously Mar I Bouddha?

Posted: Mon 19 Feb 2018 20:11
by Webdoc
Kate wrote:We've been to a couple of restaurants recently that I would recommend.
And the second one?

Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Tue 20 Feb 2018 12:50
by BarbaraD
We like the Chinese/Vietnamese Dragon d'Or in Amelie-les-Bains, though our favourite is Les Simiots in Arles-sur-Tech and have never had a problem getting a table though possibly it is because we prefer to go out to eat in the evening rather than lunch time. When we first moved here 3 years ago we liked La Bahia in Arles but it has sadly closed - we think someone had a vendetta against it as their signs were always being ripped down. Has L'Estaminet in Amelie closed down as we went to try it last Friday evening and it was shut with no indication of why, when or anything?

Posted: Tue 20 Feb 2018 13:29
by Santiago
I would add these:

Arbequina - Thuir
Auberge du Cellier - Montner
El Taller - Taurinya
Garrianne - Perpignan
Le Neptune - Collioure
Coté Saisons - Laroque
Le Carré - Canet
Les Freres Mossé - Perpignan

Posted: Tue 20 Feb 2018 15:14
by Kate
Was it previously Mar I Bouddha?
Ah yes. Thanks. That was it. We went there a couple of years ago and found the service surly and the food very average but the change of ownership has sorted that out.

Must say, I find a lot of restaurants work hard on their menus at this time of year and it all goes to pot once the summer season starts, when they don’t have the time to put the effort in.

Posted: Tue 20 Feb 2018 18:39
by Florence
They´re not too worried during the holiday season as people will probably only eat once or twice during their stay and locals will avoid the crowds.

Posted: Tue 20 Feb 2018 21:34
by martyn94
I think that this is a constant. I lived for three years in Cambridge and 30 years in Greenwich, two of the most touristy places in Europe, and you couldn’t get a decent feed at any price. The last time I returned to Greenwich, Pizza Express (as always) and Jamie’s Italian (God save us) were the pick of the crop. Even the Chinese/Vietnamese places were even worse than they used to be.

Posted: Wed 21 Feb 2018 08:08
by Kate
Had calcots at the Transit opposite Lidle in Figueres - absolutely fabulous, supplied with apron and rubber gloves - followed by a mixed grill. Excellent ‘qualité prix’ and well worth the visit. My husband thought it looked a bit like a canteen when we walked in. It’s like Dr. Whos time machine - from the front looks tiny but when you walk inside, it’s really big. very clean and modern.
http://anglophone-direct.com/calcots-calcotadas/

Also want to Les Enfants Terribles in Laroque - always excellent - and the Salamander in Sorède. Very high standard of cuisine.

Finally, we had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on the top floor of a red London bus at the red bus cafe in Castello, with rhubarb crumble and draft Guinness. Cheap, plenty, doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not and an absolute treat!

Posted: Wed 21 Feb 2018 16:21
by Santiago
martyn94 wrote:I think that this is a constant. I lived for three years in Cambridge and 30 years in Greenwich, two of the most touristy places in Europe, and you couldn’t get a decent feed at any price. The last time I returned to Greenwich, Pizza Express (as always) and Jamie’s Italian (God save us) were the pick of the crop. Even the Chinese/Vietnamese places were even worse than they used to be.
I don't know Greenwich but your assessment of Cambridge is well out of date. I sell wine to Cambridge Wine Merchants who have several great restaurant accounts. e.g. Chop House, Alimentum, Smokehouse, Varsity, ... Every time I go there I find excellent new additions.

Posted: Thu 22 Feb 2018 12:17
by martyn94
So I have gathered. It’s forty-odd years out of date. The economic profile of Cambridge must have changed radically in the intervening years. Much more local demand, and money, for decent food, not just academics drinking claret at High Table. Usually excellent, on the rare occasions I got any of my college’s stuff. Some colleges were more indulgent to the undergrads: I used to visit a friend at St John’s to drink Chateau Talbot for threepence. Though the food was dire.

Posted: Thu 22 Feb 2018 12:51
by martyn94
While I’m down memory lane, there was a time in the 70s when half the staff at HM Treasury used to trek westwards to eat at the restaurant at what is now Tate Britain. The food was average, but the wine was very well bought, and sold at a tiny mark-up on what they had paid for it ten years earlier (at a time of galloping inflation): museum curators are very cultivated, but were not very good at money in those days. (Treasury civil servants are very cultivated too, but also good at money: I was only there on loan). It got so notorious that it was much cheaper than retail that they introduced a rule requiring you to have it opened and actually drink it on site. They still ran out pretty quickly, even so.

I’ve always liked the persistence of BYO in Australia, though rarer (and the corkage higher) than it used to be.

Posted: Wed 28 Feb 2018 10:25
by Richard and Sharon
On the topic of interesting restaurants, 5eme peche in Collioure deserves a shout out. Japanese owner/chef Masashi Iijima delivers creative fusion of Japanese and Catalan flavours. I am not generally a fan of fusion, but this is done beautifully and it works.
Typically for good restaurants and for Collioure, it is not cheap eats, but I think it is decent value considering the quality. My guess is he will gain a Michelin star before too long, so maybe worth trying before it inevitably gets more expensive.
A tip if you enjoy watching a talented chef at work, ask for a seat at the counter rather than a table.

Posted: Wed 28 Feb 2018 13:53
by Kate
May I add that one into the short reviews in the mag please Richard and Sharon. Sounds interesting and different. Anything more to add about it?

Posted: Wed 28 Feb 2018 15:19
by Richard and Sharon
You can but.... We enjoyed the menu dégustation there immensely in mid January, but my memories of the detail are sadly fading. We have a reservation for lunch in April, may I write a short review after that?

Posted: Thu 01 Mar 2018 08:46
by Kate
Yes please....though too late for the spring edition that goes out first week April. Thanks anyway in advance.

Posted: Fri 02 Mar 2018 23:29
by GrahamC
Hi Daniel,

We’re just up the road from you. El Simiots is frankly the only decent retaurant in Arles. Les Glycines has been such a dissappointment. We had high hopes after the change of ownership but they seem to spend more time shut than open.

In Montferer the creperie is fun, especially listening to the patron’s collection of Pink Floyd on vinyl.

By far the best restaurant in the Vallespir that we’ve found is the Bellevue in Prats de Mollo. Not very prepossessing from the outside but wow the food is abaolutely superb. Close to Michelin star standard when we last visited.

Re:

Posted: Mon 16 Mar 2020 20:45
by collioure
Since we moved to Perpignan we dine frequently at Arbequina in Thuir. Smart, modern cooking, well-selected wines, excellent service. Irresistible dessert - the Chocol@cara.mel.
https://www.arbequina-restaurant.com/la-carte.html

In Laroque we love les Enfants Terribles.

Re: Interesting Restaurants in the Vallespir and other PO?

Posted: Tue 17 Mar 2020 14:57
by Kate
Couldn’t agree more. Both excellent in different ways. Have you also tried the Salamander in Sorède? Another superb restaurant experience.