Housed in a stunning 14th century listed building, La Diligence has been serving traditional French cuisine for 40 years. The gothic-inspired decor of chandeliers, the stone walls and velvet-upholstered chairs make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, and the original vaulted ceilings only add to the effect. There are four menus to choose from – opt for the ‘discovery’ menu for a little of everything, including the Mediterranean mackerel fillet with artichoke barigoule, cockles and Montpellier butter. For the ultimate fine dining experience splash out on the ‘degustation’ menu – each meal comes with a specially selected regional wine.
Address & telephone number: 2, place Pétrarque, 34000 Montpellier, France, +33 4 67 66 12 21
This fun and quirky restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the picturesque Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. The only one of its kind in Montpellier, Playfood has been nicknamed the ‘verrines’ restaurant, a verrine being a small glass containing a unique and imaginative ‘dish’. This gimmicky concept allows you to mix and match hot and cold, and sweet and savory dishes. Pick the verrines you want out of a selection of 20 (or ask the staff for inspiration) and enjoy, knowing all the while that, here, you’ll not be scolded for playing with your food.
Contrary to what its name might suggest, Le Petit Jardin, nestled in a corner of Écusson near the Saint Pierre cathedral, is surprisingly large. It has three dining rooms, a terrace and extra seating dotted around the Florentine garden. The main restaurant offers a menu which emphasizes fresh seasonal produce from local suppliers while the smaller bistro next door – ‘The Bar’ – has smaller dishes inspired by world cuisine. The fresh and tasty food on offer is undoubtedly good, but it is the restaurant’s beautiful scenery and picturesque surroundings which really make it worth the visit.
This inexpensive and cheerful food joint is improving the humble burger’s reputation among the food-savvy French, one delicious burger at a time. Matt’burger might be a far cry from gourmet cuisine, but, thanks to its locally-sourced meat, its wide selection of toppings and freshly baked bread buns from the boulangerie next door, its inclusion here is well deserved. Choose from the five burgers on the menu or build your own from the list of over 20 extra toppings. Aside from additional garnishes, the succulent beef, ground on site, makes Matt’Burger a world away from your average McDo.
Address & telephone number: 1, rue en Gondeau, 34000 Montpellier, France, +33 4 67 59 86 07
On the far side of the imposing Préfecture de l’Herault lies this charming restaurant, offering a little taste of South America right in the center of Écusson. The two owner’s passion for Argentinian cuisine is palpable and the eponymous empanadas (a traditional Argentinian dish made of a semi-circle pouch of pastry stuffed with an assortment of fillings) attract a faithful following of regulars. The menu – consisting of eight empanadas and a few salads – isn’t huge but here quality definitely takes precedent over quantity, and at only €3.50 a pop you can – and should – sample a few.
Address & telephone number: 15, rue de Ratte, 34000 Montpellier, France, +33 4 83 43 28 23
French and Thai cuisine come together in the cross-cultural culinary experience offered in Les Petits Siamois. Ancient Thai cooking techniques deliciously come to life in a stylish location whose enchanting decor and aromatic plants filling the small space will transport you, albeit temporarily, to ancient Siam. The ever-changing menu, revised seasonally, allows you to discover the exotic flavors of Thai cuisine. Don’t panic if you’re not a lover of all things spicy – the chefs will alter your meal depending on how hot (or not) you want your food. And if you like what you see here, try their sister restaurants in Lyon.
Address & telephone number: 10, rue de Pila Saint-Gély, 34000 Montpellier,France, +33 4 67 55 72 58