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On this page; Restaurants in France, In Calais, French restaurant guides and awards – book a restaurant, Restaurants in Belgium, Michelin restaurant guide, Restaurant and Bar Chains in France, Pizza Chains, Food blogs I like, Other food and restaurant websites

Restaurants and brasseries in Calais and other channel ports in France. Information on restaurants inside and outside Calais, local dishes and menu terms.

Place setting Restaurants in France fork

When visiting France for the day a nice meal in one of the many cafes or restaurants really makes it worthwhile.

Although the VAT rate (TVA in France) was reduced to 5.5% from 19.6% in 2009 for restaurant meals, restaurants and brasseries are closing in France in alarming numbers. There are a lot of restaurant listing web sites, but in my experience the information is often out of date and inaccurate. We suggest you ring before booking and where possible always check the restaurants own website.

In terms of price, the cheapest restaurants are the small family run bistros. Brasseries come next – they offer less regional specific dishes and fewer local specialities, (expect steak frites, fruits de mers etc.). Other good value restaurants to look out for, where you will find home cooked meals, include routiers (roadside cafes) and auberges (inns).

Go for the "prix fixe" lunches – they always represent good value (if you ask for "le menu" you will get the prix fixe menu). Alternatively try the "plat du jour," or daily special. A "Menu Ouvriers" (workers menu) is similar and worth looking out for. They will typically include meat, vegetables and perhaps potatoes, all for one low price.

If money is no problem, you are a fussy eater, or simply see something you like on the main menu, go "a la carte".

If you are in the French countryside, remember that France has about 30 distinct regional cuisines which are worth looking out for.

Top tip. Browse through the menus displayed outside restaurants before making a choice of where to go – make sure you look at all the restaurants in the vicinity. An uninspiring menu usually gives the game away. Cafés list their dishes and price on a "tarif des consommations". "Menu" in French means a fixed price meal or three or four courses. More

French eating habits are different. Fondus, pirades, and raclettes involve everyone for example and are uniquely French. Cheese tends to be served before dessert. You can also expect a green salad with a vinagrette after the main course, before the cheese or dessert are served.

At its simplest, a French meal will involve a starter (expect a soup or paté), main course and cheese or dessert. A three star restaurant will involve a lot more, including ceromony and the number of dishes served.

Want to save money? Look out for the local markets and have a picnic. Lots of cooked food is available (bouillabaisse, roast chicken and rabbit, tielles setoises, coq a vins), as well as cold meats and local cheeses. With fresh bread and fruit, this makes for a great picnic and you enjoy the local cuisine cheaply.

Drinking and driving are not recommended in France, which has lower limits for drivers. However, do try a digestif at the end of the meal, as it apparently aids digestion.

Please don't write off Belgium either, a country apparently with the highest concentration of gourmet restaurants in the world.

Remember – "Bleu is very rare, saignant is rare, point is medium, and bien cuit is well done".

Event – Tous au Restaurant. Fourth annual event from 16th to 22nd September 2013. Described as a "week to discover the best restaurants in France". To encourage visitors to visit participating restaurants, they say "your guest is our guest (buy one get one free)". Online bookings start 5th September. www.tousaurestaurant.com

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Restaurants in France

When visiting France for the day a nice meal in one of the many cafes or restaurants really makes it worthwhile. Go for the "prix fixe" lunches – they always represent good value. Alternatively try the "plat du jour," or daily special. A "Menu Ouvriers" (workers menu) is similar and worth looking out for. They will typically include meat, vegetables and perhaps potatoes, all for one low price.

Browse through the menus displayed outside restaurants – make sure you look at all the restaurants in the vicinity. An uninspiring menu usually gives the game away. Cafés list their dishes and price on a "tarif des consommations". "Menu" in French means a fixed price meal or three or four courses.

Lunch is usually served between 12.00 to 2.30pm while dinner commences at 7.00pm. Sunday lunch is one of the most important dining occasions where the entire family often eat out together and it is advisable to book your table in advance at this time.

Start with an "entrée" if you prefer to order a full meal from the menu. Again, this doesn't mean the same thing as it does in English; it means "appetizer" in French. Follow the "entrée" with one of the "plats principaux," or main dishes. Eat your veggies by ordering from the "légumes."

If you order water, the waiter will usually bring bottled water. Ask for "une carafe d'eau" if you just want tap water.

It is customary to tip for a restaurant meal – if not automatically added to the bill, add one yourself of about 15% of the charge. When we asked whether it is automatically added we received differing responses.

Lyon

Many say the best restaurants in France are in Lyon. If you are there and looking for a good value place to eat out, try the "bouchons". These are small bistro's serving tapas style dishes.

restaurant

In Calais

The page for information and links about and to restaurants in Calais. Feedback is always welcome.

Local Dishes – Regional dishes and foods explained.

Menu Terms – A dictionary of menu and food terms.

French restaurant guides and awards – book a restaurant

Look in any French restaurant and the better ones will have stickers showing who recommends them. These are few we have found.

au restaurant – Au Restaurant, a very comprehsive guide. Booking option. www.aurestaurant.com

Bottin Gourmande – Bottin Gourmande, a French restaurant guide. www.bottingourmand.com

Cuisine Francaise – Cuisine Francaise, comprehensive restaurant listings. www.cuisine-francaise.com

La Fourchetter – La Fourchetter, you can book a restaurant meal via this site. www.lafourchette.com

Guide Champerard – Guide Champerard. www.guidechamperard.com

Gault Millau – Gault Millau, a French restaurant guide. www.gaultmillau.fr

Le Guide Gantie – Le Guide Gantie, a French restaurant guide. www.guidegantie.com

ideal gourmet – Idéal gourmet, 1,200 restaurants in France. www.idealgourmet.fr

Guide Pudlo – Guide Pudlo (Paris and France). www.lesrestos.com

The Mobile Food Guide – The Mobile Food Guide. www.themobilefoodguide.com

Pages Restos – Pages Restos. www.pagesrestos.com

Restauranteurs de France – Restauranteurs de France. Patchy but good in places. www.restaurateursdefrance.com

– Tables & Auberges. www.tables-auberges.com

Toques d'Opale – Local group of restaurants in Pas de Calais agreeing to set certain standards. www.toquesdopale.com

Restaurants in Belgium

Please don't write off Belgium restaurant wise, especially in the South, as this country apparently has the highest concentration of gourmet restaurants in the world.

Resto Belgium – Resto Belgium. Useful site to find a restaurant in Belgium. www.resto.be

– You can now make a restaurant booking via this link. www.restobookings.be

Restopages Belgium – Restopages Belgium. www.restopages.be

Restaurants Belgium – Restaurants Belgium. www.restaurants.be

Visit Belgium – Visit Belgium restaurants page. www.visitbelgium.com

Belgo – Belgo, a U.K. restaurant chain. The web site is worth browsing as it shows many of the dishes you might expect to find when visiting Belgium. www.belgo-restaurants.co.uk

La Bonne Table – La Bonne Table, find a restaurant in Belgium. www.labonnetable.be

Michelin restaurant guide

Every year Michelin produce a guide book with it recommendations. The Michelin France 2010 Red Guide of recommended French hotels and restaurants reviewed over 8,000 establishments. There are very few three star restaurants – in 2010 only twenty six achieved this mark.

Le Gout – La Radio du Gout, interesting French website with useful food dictionary. Michelin news and awards (French). www.laradiodugout.fr

– If you want value for money look out for the Michelin "Bib Gourmand" recommendations. These are awarded to restaurants serving excellent food but with a three-course menu costing less than 29 euro (35 euro or less in Paris). 555 Bib Gourmand restaurants are listed for France in 2010, many for the first time.

The Michelin France Red Guide is available as a set of six regional books, but only the Michelin Guide Paris 2010 can currently be bought independently.

Although famous for its restaurant recommendations, hotels and Guest houses also get awarded "stars" and "Bib's".

France 2010 Annual Guide (Michelin Guides)Amazon

Restaurant and Bar Chains in France

Bert's – Bert's. www.berts.com

Bistro du Boucher – Bistro du Boucher. www.bistrotduboucher.fr

Bistro Romain – Bistro Romain. www.bistroromain.fr

La Boucherie – La Boucherie. www.la-boucherie.fr

Buffalo Grill – Buffalo Grill. www.buffalo-grill.com

Au Bureau Pub – Au Bureau Pub, Cafe Leffe, The Irish Corner chains. www.bars-and-co.fr

leclerc supermarket – Cafeteria E. Leclerc. www.e-leclerc.com

Cafe Leff – Cafe Leff.

campanile hotels – Campanille restaurants.

Casino Cafétéria – Casino Cafétéria. www.casino-cafeteria.fr

Chez Clément – Chez Clément. www.chezclement.com

Class Croute – Class Croute. www.classcroute.com

Courte Paille – Courte Paille. www.courtepaille.com

Crescendo – Crescendo Restaurants. www.crescendo-restauration.fr

– Croq'O'Pain –

El Rancho – El Rancho. www.elrancho.fr

Flunch – Flunch. www.flunch.fr

A great chain offering good value lunches and meals. Check out the web site before you go!

Hard Rock Café – Hard Rock Café (Paris). www.hardrock.com

Hippopotamus – Hippopotamus. www.hippopotamus.fr

La Criée – La Criée (fish). www.lacriee.com

l'arche caffeteria – L'Arche.

Léon de Bruxelles – Léon de Bruxelles (mostly Paris). www.leon-de-bruxelles.fr

Les trois brasseurs – Les trois brasseurs (beer). www.les3brasseurs.com

Les trois brasseurs – Paul, chain of boulangeries. www.paul.fr

Planet Hollywood – Planet Hollywood. www.planethollywood.com

Quick restaurants – Poivre-Rouge. www.poivre-rouge.com

Quick restaurants – Quick. www.quick.fr

Restaumarché – Restaumarché. www.restaumarche.com

Speedburger – Speedburger. www.speed-burger.com

Subway – Subway. www.subwayfrance.fr

Taverne de Maître Kanter – Taverne de Maître Kanter. www.taverne-maitre-kanter.fr

Tradition Bretange – Tradition Bretange. www.tradition-bretagne.com

Group Leduff. www.groupeleduff.com

Pizza Del Arte – Pizza Del Arte. www.delarte.fr

Bridor – Bridor (croissants etc.). www.groupeleduff.fr

La Brioche Dorée – Brioche Dorée. www.briochedoree.com

Le Fournil de Pierre – Le Fournil de Pierre (bread maker). www.lefournildepierre.com

Pizza Chains

La Boîte à Pizza – La Boîte à Pizza. www.laboiteapizza.fr

Casa Pizza – Casa Pizza. www.casapizza.com

Domino's Pizza – Domino's Pizza. www.dominos.fr

Pizza France – Pizza France. www.pizza.fr

Mezzo di Pasta – Mezzo di Pasta. www.mezzodipasta.fr

Pizza Pai – Pizza Paï. www.pizzapai.com

Sprint – Sprint. www.pizzasprint.com

Blogs I like

nico.cuisineblog.fr. This is the blog run by Patrick Denise, Manager at PIDOU Wine and Beer store in Calais. Rightly popular with a lot of visitors.

My French Cuisine. myfrenchcuisine.blogspot.com

La Tartine Gourmande. mwww.latartinegourmande.com

La France Profond. franceprofonde.blogspot.com

Other French food blogs;

101 Cookbooks

Baking Sheet

Becks and Posh

Beyond Salmon

Bron Marshall

Chez Pim

Chocolate and Zucchini

Chocolocateria

Chubby Hubby

Cook and Eat

Cookbook Catchall

Cooking with Amy

Cream Puffs in Venice

David Lebovitz

Dessert First

Eating Asia

Fiordizucca

Food Beam

Fresh Approach Cooking

Gluten Free Goddess

Hungry in Hogtown

In Praise of Sardines

Kuidaore

L’atelier des chefs

Laughing Gastronome

Lobstersquad

Lucullian delights

Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook

Matt Bites

Milk and Cookies

Movable Feast

Ms Glaze’s Pommes d’amour

My Madeleine

Nordljus

Paris Breakfasts

Pictures and Pancakes

Rasa Malaysia

Rubber Slippers in Italy

Running with Tweezers

Seven Spoons

She who Eats

Simply Breaskfast

Simply Recipes

Smitten Kitchen

Spittoon

Stephencooks

The Passionate Cook

The Scent of Green Bananas

The Stone Soup

The Traveler’s Lunchbox

To Short Term Memories

Ulterior Epicure

Other restaurant and food websites

Le Gout – Le Gout, France's annual food tasting week. www.legout.com

Le Gout – Radio du Gout, interesting French website with recipes and news. www.laradiodugout.fr

– Café Brasseries de Qualité. www.qualiteofficedetourisme.com

Toques d'Opale – Eurotoques, a group created in 1986 to safeguard quality and food standards (4,000 members in Europe, 500 in France). www.eurotoques-france.fr

Saveurs NPDC – Saveurs NPDC, useful resources – many useful links (also in Auvergne, Champagne-Ardenne, Franche-Comté, Nord-Pas de Calais, Picardie). www.saveurs-npdc.com

lets cook French – Lets cook French. Lovely site with lots useful information. www.letscookfrench.com

Good background information for French food lovers. www.traditionalfrenchfood.com

French Food – (French version of above site). www.marmiton.org

Slow Food France – Slow Food France. www.slowfood.fr

Les Routes du Terroir – Les Routes du Terroir. Worth visiting (French). www.lesroutesduterroir.com

happy cow vegetarian – Happy Cow, Vegetarian restaurants Wordwide. www.happycow.net

Interesting link about Flemmish food. www.theotherside.co.uk

La Bonne Cuisine – La Bonne Cuisine, very comprehensive site with recipes for Belgian dishes (in French). www.labonnecuisine.be

Useful Outside links

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