Eating out in Normandy is a wonderfully homely experience. Here are 3 brilliant restaurants for you to try. Brunch, lunch and dinner in Northern Normandy sorted.
This is my favourite tea room, probably anywhere, ever. When we come to Honfleur we always pop in for a warm bowl of crumble and a steaming pot of tea. Today is the first time we are coming for brunch and I can’t wait!
Pushing a couple of the petit tables together James just wants to know if there are eggs. He can’t (unlike his mother) get his head around eating pastries alone.
Yep, there’s a number of interesting sounding egg dishes, which means I get eggs first and a pastry pud!
A delicious goats cheese and leek Quiche Lorraine for me (written in French on the board and translated by hubby after I’d ordered as goat and pear. Some relief was felt when it was placed in front of me).
Eggs our way. This caused some discussion too – as in poached or fried? Turned out to be their way, which was better. They came with some lightly curried potatoes.
James enjoyed his eggs with smoked salmon. A big pile of salad made for a healthy start to the day.
But you simply can’t leave this pretty tea room without sampling one of their bakes. They are incredible.
A pear tart for James. It was full of juicy sweet pears, soft almond paste and topped with a nutty crumble. Soooo darn good. Thank you James for sharing it with me (he had no choice).
A warm bowl of fruity crumble for me. I’ve tried to dissect it to work out which fruit they use because the fruit is a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
You get a choice of cream. I don’t know why this is always such a big decision for me, but I get there in the end with much prompting from my family.
The room next door is full of tempting tea time treats, along side tea pots, cups and cosy’s of all shapes and sizes.
I bought one of these tea strainers. Such a clever tool for containing loose tea leaves. Everyone who received a hamper this year needs to pop out and find one of these!
Up some tight winding stairs there are more tables. The view of the Honfleur harbour never falters.
Hubby was very impressed by the view from the mens loos!
For the best tea room I know, head to Honfleur Normandy. I think it could win awards for it’s brunch (and the best view from a loo too!).
La Petite Chine
14-16 rue du Dauphin,
tel: +33 2 31 89 36 52.
Our lunch was in a tiny village 10 minutes from Deauville/Trouville and 20 minutes from Honfleur.
Auberge le Clos Saint Julien looked like a charming timbered house typical of this area.
We were met by the owners, a happy and super friendly couple who shook our hands and led us to our table by the fire.
The restaurant showed the eccentric characters of our wonderful hosts. There were collections of antiques displayed around the rooms for all to enjoy. There were plenty of ‘have you seen…?’ and ‘what do you think that is…?’
Delicious little poppy seed biscuits and dehydrated olives turned up and we happily munched them while the cheerful owner went through the menu with us.
James chose this salmon tartar. Different from the English version but oh so good.
Andy and I went for the cheese and ham soufflé (hubby was going to skip starters until the word soufflé was mentioned. We’d been perfecting our chocolate soufflé over Christmas, so this was a game changer).
The flavour was scrumptious, the quality of the ingredients shone through.
It came with a sauce which really lifted the dish. Very clever.
Happy and enjoying each others company we gazed into the fire and were glad to be there.
Our mains arrived. The guys ordered the fish dish, which turned out to be hake. Simple but done so perfectly. We know the French are world experts in sauces…
Mine was a chicken dish with cabbage in a cream and bacon sauce. There was a LOT of cabbage but the chicken was soft and juicy and tasty and I gobbled happily.
The views from every window is delightful, especially with the low winter sun streaming through.
Time for desserts. This chocolate dacquoise with a nutty meringue was gorgeous and moreish.
The rice pudding was not what we expected (as English, we were dreaming of oozingly soft rice). This one was a surprise but tasted lovely and the berry sorbet was heavenly.
It was these profiteroles that will rock your world. If you’re a fan of these, they may be the best you’ve ever tasted. If you’re not a fan, you will be.
I think they had clotted cream ice-cream in the centre. The cases were as crisp as a vicar’s laundary and that chocolate sauce is divine.
We had made friends with a French couple on the next table. They were regulars at Auberge le Clos Saint Julien and insisted on buying us a tipple mixed here by the chef and his waitress wife.
There was a jar maturing by our table. We’d been discussing what it could be. It turned out to be an Orange and Coffee Calvados blend (and not a pickled potato).
The owner very kindly wrote down her recipe for you and me.
This is the area of France famous for it’s Calvados and Wow was this a delicious way to enjoy it.
Cheers! (or Tchin Tchin!)
We left the restaurant feeling really happy, we’d had great homely French food, met some brilliant characters and felt we’d had a wonderful experience.
Auberge le Clos Saint Julien
rue de l’Église
Saint Julien sur Calonne
téléphone +33 (0)2 31 64 08 64
Back for an evening meal in Honfleur we are delighted to see we hadn’t missed the Christmas decorations.
This igloo would look brilliant if the water had frozen over, but winter had been really warm this year.
Quite a few restaurants have closed for January so the streets were darker than usual.
But still very pretty.
Our restaurant looked so welcoming on the quiet little street.
Inside was warm, welcoming and cozy.
The menu was full of inviting dishes and there was some chin rubbing while we made our final choices.
James’s starter of oysters came simply and perfectly. As fresh as can be.
Hubby and I enjoyed this delicious fish soup, with giant croutons and gratings of matured cheese.
The fire and soup has warmed us all through. It had become a night to savour.
The wine was good and all the boxes (buttery/oaky/not too citrusy) was ticked.
The atmosphere in this little room was wonderful. Full of locals, lots of happy chatter, lovely subtle music and a crackling fire.
Our mains arrived. Andy and I shared the Cote de Boeuf with Gratin Dauphinois. So yummy!
James’s Lamb Shank is incredible. Soft and packed with deep flavour.
Desserts were a must. We were kinda full but we weren’t ready to leave this lovely homely room and the food had been so good…
This was a very special tiramisu with caramel biscuits crunched on top.
The molten chocolate was everything it should be. Very very good.
The crumble was a very nutty version and was delicious.
After coffee and lots of byes and thankyous we spilled back out into the chilly winter evening and strolled happily through the cobbled streets of Honfleur heading back home.
58 Rue Haute
Tel: +33 (0) 2 31 87 05 01
Eating out in Normandy has been brilliant.
If I were you I would book a ferry or Eurotunnel ticket and head for northern Normandy. There’s French gastronomy there for you just across the stream.