While many may be skeptical as to whether Calais merits the status of a cultural destination, the fact that its easily accessible from London, Paris and Belgium makes it the ideal place to experience ocean views and fine cuisine on the French coastline. Whether you’re staying for a weekend or grabbing a bite to eat on your journey, these are the restaurants which are sure to convince you that Calais is more than just a port.
With its leafy terrace and azure-blue shopfront, brasserie Au Calice wouldn’t look out of place on one of the side streets of Montmartre. Inside, the restaurant is equally charming, with stained glass and vintage décor. The cozy atmosphere and affordable food has made it a favourite of locals and visitors and the menu offers a selection of Flemish food, as well as escargots, foie gras and a selection of fruits de la mer. To make a change from local wines, don’t forget to sample the homemade brew.
Au Calice, 55 Boulevard Jacquard, Calais, France, +3 21 34 51 78
La Buissonnière is the perfect restaurant for a regular dinner destination in Calais. The restaurant has a seasonal menu, so that that you can experience the best of in-season produce from Pas-de-Calais. A family-owned, charming restaurant in a central location in the town. Unusually for a French restaurant, it also offers departures into French interpretations of international fare, such as quinoa, samosas and savory tiramisu. Traditional French elements are not neglected however, as there’s still a fantastic selection of traditional French wines and classic desserts, such as millefeuille and crême brulée.
La Buissonnière, 10 rue Neuve, Calais, France, +3 21 96 22 32
Du Vignoble au Verre
Du Vignoble au Verre, as the name implies, is the ideal restaurant for wine enthusiasts. Over 400 wines are available to try, which are selected from vineyards all over France, as well as smaller local wineries, giving you the chance to discover hidden gems from the Northern region. The menu of local cuisine is especially selected by the house sommelier to complement the wines. If you can, time your visit to coincide with one of the restaurant’s regionally themed tasting evenings, which are accompanied by food and followed by coffee.
Du Vignoble au Verre 43 Place d’Armes, Calais, France +3 21 34 83 29
L’Histoire Ancienne offers superb value without cutting back on quality. Head chef Patrick Comte draws on inspiration from childhood visits to the famous International Market of Rungis in Paris, the largest food market in the world. This lifelong love of food is evident in his supreme attention to detail, focusing on the quality of individual ingredients. The restaurant also offers incredible value, with affordable set menus of classic French dishes, the cheapest of which is just under 20€. Comte and his business partner (and wife) clearly focus on cultivating loyal customers and the welcoming atmosphere is accentuated by the cosy Art Deco interior, inspired by Parisian bistros.
L’Histoire Ancienne, 20 rue Royale, Calais, France, +3 21 34 11 20
La Sole Meunière
La Sole Meunière serves up one of the best selections of fresh fish in town, as well as picturesque views of the yacht basin. Menu highlights include a lemon-coconut caviar and beef tenderloin à la noisette. If this menu intrigues, check out head chef Didier Routier’s blog, where he posts new recipes as well as information about local ingredients and events at the restaurant. While the menu he creates might seem high-concept, La Sole Meunière is the most practical option for an overnight stay, as it also offers accommodation and great location; the beach and the central station are within walking distance.
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