Once a meeting place for some of the most renowned 20th century British figures, including Oscar Wilde and Noël Coward, the seaside resort of Le Touquet now mainly caters to an affluent French clientele. This stylish destination has many pleasures to offer, most especially these 10 great local restaurants.
The four-star Westminster Hotel has been considered the pinnacle of chic since its construction in 1924. Recently described as, ‘the last grand luxury hotel in Le Touquet and the North of France’, it is a nostalgic throwback to the opulent flavor of the town’s early days. There are two restaurants in the hotel, both of which are overseen by Michelin-star-winning chef, William Elliott. The more formal Le Pavillon offers cutting-edge seafood dishes in a traditional, richly upholstered setting, complemented by artwork from Tamara de Lempicka. Les Cimaises, meanwhile, is a slightly less expensive, casual option where guests can choose from two mountainous buffets, prepared ‘live’ in the open kitchen.
Flavio has served up top-quality meat, salads and seafood since 1949. Revered across the region for pioneering lobster creations, it is an exciting place for shellfish fans, especially during the holiday period when chef Guy Delmotte usually debuts his latest crustacean innovation. Menus are updated regularly and one of the more exciting options is to opt for the ‘Menu “Surprise”‘, a concoction based on Delmotte’s secret selection. The Flavio franchise also includes a Bistro, offering a more informal venue for breakfast or brunch, and a boutique where visitors can purchase the finest groceries, baked goods and wine.
Scenic, rustic and seasonal, Le Jardin lives up to its namesake, which translates to ‘The Garden’. It provides an extensive selection of traditional rural French dishes including steaks, escargots, foie gras and appetizing sweet crêpes for dessert. Now, in its second generation as one of Le Touquet’s most popular restaurants, it has garnered many plaudits, including the prestigious national title of Maître Restaurateur. Its parkland location is ideal for dining out the front, to experience a pleasant view and for visiting the casino that inspired Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, located just a few steps away.
The trendy and compact Ricochet offers a more international experience than many of Le Touquet’s restaurants. A few local staples such as beef carpaccio and sardine fillets are on the monthly menu which also often includes sushi, sashimi and spring rolls. Relatively unusual for France, there are even a few vegetarian options available on the menu, including tomato and basil tart, and mushroom risotto. Menus are also themed from time to time; in June 2014, for example, the focus was on dishes that were particular favorites of John F Kennedy, to tie in with the nearby summer exhibition about the legendary president.
Starter at Les 2 Moineaux | Courtesy Les 2 Moineaux
Le Café des Arts is a cheerful and comparatively affordable venue, with a solid selection of French classics on the menu. Chef Jérôme Panni’s meat and seafood creations are in fact of such delight, that a number of reviewers have expressed surprise that the restaurant does not possess a Michelin star. While the cuisine may be sophisticated, the décor is fun, with a large collection of teddy bears displayed on tables and shelves.
Some of Le Touquet’s most imaginative dishes can be found at Les 2 Moineaux, where culinary creativity runs free. The menu is filled with startling combinations of ingredients, such as scallop risotto with cuttlefish ink and veal with liquorice sauce. Presentation is particularly notable and dishes are often treated like art pieces. A cozy and romantic venue, this small restaurant is ideally located for a leisurely meal before or after a stroll on the beach. The generously lit room and little outdoor terrace absorb the best of the early evening sunshine while providing glimpses of the sea just at the end of the road.
Housed in a medieval-style Swiss villa complete with battlements and turrets, Le Village Suisse provides a picturesque and unique dining experience. The interior was completely refurbished in April 2013 to match the impressive standards of the exterior. Visitors can now dine in luxury and comfort whether they choose the first-floor main room or the spacious outdoor terrace. Le Village Suisse specialises in traditional French cuisine made with high-quality meat and fish products. These dishes attract consistently outstanding reviews from food critics and regular visitors alike, making Le Village Suisse one of the most desirable places to eat in Le Touquet.
Another winner of the sought-after Maître Restaurateur title, Le Paris caters expertly to a discerning clientele. With the exception of the Italian style burratina di Puglia, mozzarella with candied vegetables and baby lettuce, dishes are all typically French. The dessert menu features macarons, millefeuille, baba bouchon, chocolate truffles and various sorbets. Known for its stylish, modern décor, the restaurant displays a collection of black-and-white photographs of the town by well-known local artists. These perfectly complement the attractive, central location and refined ambience.
Crêpes are a consistent crowd pleaser and at Aux Mignardises they produce particularly tempting ones. With over thirty years of experience in Le Touquet, its family owners have thoroughly mastered the technique of serving up satisfying dishes in a charming atmosphere. Both sweet and savoury crêpes are available alongside a selection of waffles, ice-creams and sorbets for dessert. Crêperies are one of the few places that can be relied upon in France to include meat-free options on their menus, as the crêpe is such a versatile base, so this is well worth a visit for any vegetarians. If you like the food here, the family’s adjacent shop, selling homemade sweets and chocolate creations, will also not disappoint.
Of all Le Touquet’s culinary offerings, Chez Perard and its fish soup have undoubtedly made the deepest mark on the town’s culture. This internationally renowned company was started by local fisherman, Serge Perard, in 1963 and to this day he proudly claims to have invented the idea of mixing small pieces of fish into a simple potato soup. This creation caught on so well, it has since nourished and satisfied generations of diners worldwide. Now produced in a huge purpose-built factory, the soup is dispatched to over 20 countries each day and to supermarkets across France. However, for the authentic Perard experience, visitors should head to the family’s popular seafood restaurant in the centre of town.