Renowned as a welcoming, creative and lively city, Nantes lies at the mouth of the Loire river. Named by The Times in 2004 as ‘the most live-able city in Europe’, and visited by over one million people every year, the artistic and cultural richness of Nantes is fast securing international attention. The exciting diversity in the city is reflected in its culinary scene. From local favorites offering traditional French fare to quirky spots with modern cuisine, here is The Culture Trip‘s list of the top 10 restaurants in Nantes.
Voted one of the best restaurants in the area, Lulu Rouget’s cuisine combines unbeatable freshness with daring originality. A chic interior complements the innovative variety of food available, highlights of which include grilled leeks, tomato fondue with licorice and aubergine, and raw mackerel with fried celery and combawa. Address & telephone: 1 Rue du Cheval Blanc, 44000 Nantes, France, + 33 240474798
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
White chocolate and passion fruits mousse with red seasonal berries cake and strawberry ice cream | Courtesy of L'U.ni
An extremely popular restaurant, L’U.ni‘s specialities include purée of coconut and foie gras with preserved lamb. The white chocolate and passion fruit mousse, served with red seasonal berry cake and strawberry ice cream, is also delicious. The friendly and welcoming staff at L’U.ni are very efficient and create an enjoyable dining experience for their customers. Address & telephone: 36 Rue Fouré, Nantes, France,
Located in the city center, Le 1 is a colorful melting pot of cosmopolitan cuisines, bringing together Japanese, Indian, Chinese and European culinary traditions. The wide array of meat and fish dishes can be accompanied by one of the many wines and whiskies on offer. The oysters, langoustine ravioli and lamb shank are particularly popular. The restaurant organizes weekly free degustations to draw in customers, in order to share the secrets of some of their delicious recipes.
Jean-Yves Guého’s Michelin-star food at L’Atlantide transports the diner onto cloud nine, with wonderful seafood combinations bursting with flavor, and an assortment of original French dishes. The restaurant’s vast bay windows allow for a stunning view over the Loire, romantic both at night and during the day. The sardines and spider-crab cannelloni are sublime. Address & telephone: 16 Quai Ernest Renaud, Nantes, France,
Located in a 20th century villa, L’Abelia is an award-winning restaurant, serving top quality food sourced straight from local markets. The elegance of the restaurant contrasts with its rustic surroundings, and its proximity to the coast makes for a stunning view. The several dining rooms on offer allow diners a varied choice of setting in which to eat. One highly-recommended menu option is the gazpacho with tomato, prawns, basil and parmesan.
Featured as one of ‘Nantes’ 10 Best Cultural Restaurants’, Le Nouveau Monde is famed for being the place where popular sci-fi writer Jules Verne was born. The menus are named after the great author, with ‘du navigateur’ – the traveler’s menu, ‘de l’écrivain’ – the writer’s menu, and ‘Menu Jules Verne’, their regular and most popular menu. There is a wide choice of starters, main dishes and desserts here, all available at a reasonable price.
Maison Baron-Lefèvre excellently combines old and new culinary traditions in its spectacular dishes. Formerly a warehouse, the unique design of the restaurant reflects the individuality of the food on offer. The wine list is limited but good, and the caramel chocolate cake is a particular favorite among diners. The staff are extremely professional and attentive, making for a wonderful eating experience.
Set in the heart of Nantes, Les Fils à Maman was built by two best friends, with the aim of sharing their passion for French cuisine with the world. Close to the picturesque Duke of Brittany Castle, the restaurant conjures up a homely, nostalgic atmosphere, with quaint pictures, old photos and toy objects adorning the walls. The menu caters for both adults and children too, and offers very good value for money. The filet mignon pasta shells are a popular option here, and there is a great choice of cider served in ice buckets – perfect on a hot summer’s day.
Located in an old butchery, this quaint restaurant is situated near Nantes’ Cité des Congrès, with cozy rooms and narrow corridors creating a comfortable atmosphere in which to eat. Cocotte‘s speciality is poultry, serving up tasty dishes featuring duck, pigeon, chicken and quail. The restaurant is usually brimming with customers at lunchtime.
La Raffinerie is an institution in Nantes, serving perfectly cooked Vietnamese and Greek dishes. Opened in 2009, the freshness of the food here is exceptional, and an excellent range of local wines have recently been added to the menu, complementing the food perfectly. The menu is kept small, with only three choices for each course, allowing for frequent and seasonal changes in order to keep the dishes interesting. The chutneys here are fantastic, and the foie gras is arguably the best in Nantes. Address & telephone: 54 Rue Fouré, Nantes, France, +33 240748105