As the birthplace of the Michelin brothers, you would expect Clermont-Ferrand to have a thriving culinary landscape, and Auvergne’s capital doesn’t disappoint. After seeing the sights and stopping in a bar or café, a day in the city wouldn’t be complete without sitting down to dinner. Here are the best restaurants to sate those growling stomachs.
Avenue comes recommended by all that have visited, and serves a blend of Mediterranean, European, and North American cuisine in a setting of modern design with a striking colour palette of black and orange.
The quirky centrepiece of a table in the ceiling, for which this restaurant is named, is, fortunately, not used for seating. But its presence is indicative of the sense of fun in which La Table au Plafond approaches the restaurant business. They haven’t sacrificed quality for laughs, though. Of particular note on the menu is the tapas with a French twist.
The gourmet offerings of this restaurant certainly live up to its stately namesake King Amphitryon, a figure from Greek mythology. Its innovative cuisine and creative presentation have also earned it a mention in the 2015 Michelin Guide. Amphitryon Capucine has five different set menus to choose from, from a market menu and tasting menu to three extravagant ones named, appropriately, for artistic techniques: Sketch, Pastel, and Watercolor.
An authentic Moroccan experience is guaranteed at L’Etoile de Fès, from the cuisine through to the spectacular decoration and furniture and even the belly dancers. Served along with these dishes are the best Moroccan wines from across the country.
An example of the gastronomic delights that you may encounter when choosing the three-course menu de la semaine (menu of the week) are mashed pumpkin, poached egg, and roasted hazelnuts for an entrée; cod brandade with a langoustine emulsion and shredded fennel for the main; and, for dessert, pear tarte tatin with sweet vanilla cream. The walls of Le Duguesclin are also used for art and photography exhibitions, as a complement to the culinary designs on the plate. Address & telephone number: 3 Rue des Cordeliers, Clermont-Ferrand, France, +33 4 73 25 76 69
The team behind La Régalade operate next to Clermont-Ferrand’s opera theater, conducting their own kind of symphony designed for the taste buds rather than the ears. Friendly service is guaranteed whether out on the terrace or in the main hall of the restaurant.
The philosophy of head chef Leclerc is that “the kitchen is a true art form,” and the Michelin star that his restaurant has garnered is testament to his success. The flavors and presentation here live up to the billing, with delicious specialties like their turbot and spikes of white asparagus with cumin and citrus. The ingredients used are gathered from across France: fish from Saint-Malo, foie gras from Landes, game from Sologne, and fruits and vegetables from Clermont-Ferrand’s local Saint-Joseph Market.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then look no further than Le Pescajoux, a crêperie which serves up Breton galettes(pancakes made with buckwheat flour) and crêpes along with an exhaustive list of ingredients. The fillings of the galettesare mostly savory, and may include beef, chicken, charcuterie, salad, and eggs. Crêpes usually have sweet toppings: fruit, chocolate, nuts, caramel, cream, and the like. The husband and wife team of Vincente and Bruno have been running their pleasant little establishment since 1997, and are always good value for a warm welcome.
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Lard et la Manière’s menu changes with the seasons but always incorporates local produce and traditional dishes. The mussels au gratin are made with Cantal cheese from Auvergne, and craft beers brewed in the region can be enjoyed alongside appetizers like beef carpaccio and cold tomato soup with burrata and pesto. Even the ice cream is homemade. The meals here are hearty and unpretentious, but the setting is chic and intimate. Address & telephone number: 6 Rue des Minimes, Clermont-Ferrand, France, +33 4 73 35 78 65
La Riviere des Parfums
Restaurant, Asian, Vietnamese, Vegetarian, $$$
Clermont-Ferrand’s premier Vietnamese restaurant offers a wealth of choice on their menu, including curries, skewers, soups, salads, and noodle and rice dishes. Tonkinese pho soup is a specialty, as is their selection of mi xao recipes. Bò lúc lắc– “shaking beef” – is a delicious plate of cubed beef sautéed with soy sauce and cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and pepper. The flavors of the Orient are alive and well at La Riviere des Parfums.