Wining, Dining and Sleeping in the Loire

ANJOU

Angers



Hotel-Restaurant – Anjou / Le Salamandre
1 boulevard Marechal Foch
T: +33 2 41 21 12 11
F: +33 2 41 87 22 21
info@hotelanjou.fr
The Anjou is probably the most renowned hotel in Angers, dating back to the mid 1800s. It is situated on the main boulevard and it can be a little noisy. The rooms are small, but modern and it is a suitable base for exploring the city. The Salamandre restaurant is on the ground floor; it’s dark panelling and tapestries lending it a formal appearance. The food, based on local dishes, is dull and predictable and the service by under-qualified staff is sloppy. The wine list is short, scruffily presented and although most of the best growers in Anjou are represented there are no mature vintages on offer. The hotel comes recommended as a base, but sadly not the restaurant. (Last time dined: 01/11)  


Hotel-Restaurant – de France / Les Plantagenêts
8 Place de la Gare
T: + 33 2 41 88 49 42
F: + 33 2 41 87 19 50
reservation@hoteldefrance.com
www.hoteldefrance-angers.com
The Hotel de France is typical of a grand old railway hotel. It has been in under the control of the Bouyer family since 1893. It offers 55 rooms off the crescent facing Angers modern looking railway station. It is a bustling location and can be a little noisy. They offer various standards of room, some of which have been recently refurbished. The ground floor has a bistro (which has been closed on my past couple of stays) on one side and a more formal restaurant on the other. Recommended as a central base within Angers and is in easy walking distance of the château and the centre of town. (Last stayed: 02/12)  


Hotel –
Hotel du Mail
8 Rue des Ursules
T: +33 2 41 25 05 25
F: +33 2 41 86 91 20
contact@hotel-du-mail.com
www.hotel-du-mail.com
This former 17th century convent is found on a quiet street running parallel to the main boulevard. Thankfully, the menacing Madame owner has since left; the hotel changing hands in September 2009. It's now under the stewardship of Christian and Catherine Duval who have run cafés and bars around Le Mans and Angers for the past two decades. It has a private car park cum courtyard and many of the rooms have been recently upgraded. However, avoid the rooms directly off the courtyard. The highlight here is the giddy, rickety wooden staircase.
(Last time stayed: 02/08)

Restaurant –
Le Favre d’Anne
Pascal et Mathilde Favre d’Anne
18 Quai des Carmes
T: + 33 2 41 36 12 12
contact@lefavredanne.fr
www.lefavredanne.fr
Situated on the opposite side of the Maine, facing the château, the restaurant is located in a 19th Century maison bourgeoise. Pascal originates from the Savoie and worked under Marc Veyrat in Annecy for two years before opening this ‘restaurant créatif’ with wife, Mathilde, in September 2008. He has since landed a Michelin star of his own and was voted ‘Gault et Millau Young Chef of the Year’ in 2008. The menu, presented in a picture frame is as challenging to comprehend as the food itself, and whilst certain dishes work, others don’t. That said, this is well worth a visit and offers relatively good value. There is an excellent wine list, selected by Mathilde, and prices are very reasonable here too. An attractive restaurant and setting with good service; run by very nice people. The food could be a little less fussy, but otherwise it comes highly recommended. (Last dined: 02/09)  


Restaurant – Chez Remi
7 bis Boulevard Foch
T: +33 2 41
24 95 44
This tiny little restaurant was opened in 2009 by Remi Fournie, owner of Le Cercle Rouge, a Bar à Vin, also in the town (see below). It quickly established a local following, although having heard mixed reports and comments on its challenging menu and use of 'natural wines', I was keen to pay a visit. The open kitchen and dining area appear to be packed into what appears to be little more than a 40 foot shipping container, but despite its confined space, there is no sense of claustrophobia. The small kitchen rather dictates the style of the food and the menu is generally limited to a trio of starters, main courses and desserts, although I see this as no handicap, since I would have ordered everything on the menu! Remi does make use of less fashionable produce and cuts of meat, which also gives the food a sense of originality. Service is smiley and swift. There are a good selection of wines by the glass and an option to take a set price flight, although this can be a bit hit and miss. There is a good selection of Loire wines, all organic, biodynamic or 'natural', and includes some wines that are both edgy and controversial. I've very much enjoyed my two dining experience at Chez Remi and it comes highly recommended. Very good value. Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday and dinner from Monday to Friday. Booking essential. (Last dined: 02/12).  

Bar à Vin – Le Cercle Rouge
4 rue des Deux Haies
T: +33 2 41
87 49 66
Owned by Remi Fournie of Chez Remi, above.    


Restaurant – Brasserie de la Gare
Place Gare
T: +33 2 41 88 48 57
Not surprisingly, situated in the crescent facing the station. This busy, authentic bistro serves generally reliable steaks as well has having its’ own dedicated oyster bar. The wine list is well represented with top local growers, although mostly from current vintage releases. Recommended so as long as you order oysters and steak. Once you go off-piste, the dishes become more variable. (Last time dined: 02/10)

Restaurant – Le Lucullus
5 rue Hoche
T: +33 2 41 87 00 44
This formal restaurant is situated in a small vaulted cellar about a five minute walk from Angers station. This was a regular haunt of mine until I was nearly poisoned by a very dodgy smelling lobster. The restaurant is owned by Troisgros trained Pascal Houssay and his rather bossy wife. The food is classical and the service dominated by the presence of Mme Houssay. As with most restaurants in Angers, there is a good representation of local growers on the list, but the carte lacks depth and wines with any sense of maturity. (Last dined: 02/07)

Restaurant – La Ferme
Place Frappel
T: +33 2 41 87 09 90
F: +33 2 41 20 92 82
A bright, two roomed restaurant situated in the square alongside the cathedral. La Ferme offers a small menu of classic regional and seasonal dishes; confit de canard, Coq au Vin, Poule au Pot… There is a good selection of grilled meat and fish. There is a modest but well chosen list of some top local Anjou and Saumur producers. Inexpensive. (Last dined: 02/12)


Restaurant –
Le Relais
9 rue de la Gare
T: +33 2 41 88 42 51
F: +33 2 41 24 75 20
www.destination-anjou.com
Certainly one of the best restaurant in Angers, this is a small but busy bistro offering good local seasonal food with a fast and efficient, friendly service conducted, for the benefit of the Anglophiles in impeccable English. There is a good selection of wines from the region with some mature bottles on offer. Inexpensive for the quality. Booking essential. Very highly recommended. (Last dined: 02/11)

Restaurant – Provence Caffé
9 place Raillement
T/F: +33 2 41 87 44 15
This is a modern, bright, orange coloured first floor eatery in the centre of town that, when I last dined there, was serving conventional and uninspiring dishes from southern France. The restaurant has since changed hands and I have heard recent decent reports. (Last dined: 02/04)


Restaurant – Le Petit Comptoir
Laetitia & Stéphane Cosnier
40 rue David d’Angers
T/F: +33 2 41 88 81 57
lepetitcomptoir@9business.fr
Le Petit Comptoir is a relatively small and unknown wine bar-restaurant on a side street just off the main boulevard. I have only dined here during the time of the annual Salon des Vins de Loire, when they tend to serve a limited menu (at an elevated price). The food however is very good. The wine list is short with some interesting non-Loire additions, and they serve a good selection of these by the glass. Closed Sunday and Monday (except during the Salon). Recommended but expect to receive some disorganised service. (Last dined: 02/12)

Restaurant – Le Bouchon Angevin
44 rue Beaurepaire
Angers Doutre
T: +33 2 41 24 77 97
You need to traverse the river Maine to find this tiny wine shop and modest Bar á Vin. The dishes here revolve around minor classics, such as Escargots au beurre persilé and Confit de canard. Needless to say, there is a good and less predictable selection of wines to choose from. (Last dined: 02/04)

Restaurant –
Autour d’un Cep
9 Rue Baudrière
T: + 33 2 41 42 61 00
This small bistro, situated between the cathedral and the river, bills itself as a ‘Restaurant á Vins’ and opened in late 2008 by Jérémie Baron and Antoine Landron (the son of celebrated Muscadet vigneron, Jo). It specialises in local and seasonal dishes. There is a good selection of interesting wines, many by the glass. The quality overall is good, but could do with a little refining, which hopefully will come with time. Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday and Monday night.
(Last dined: 02/09)  


Restaurant –
Une Île
9 Rue Max-Richard
T: + 33 2 41 19 14 48
www.une-ile.fr
Gérard and Catherine Bossé closed their celebrated one star Michelin Les Tonnelles on the island of Béhuard and opened up this new restaurant close to the station in January 2009. They regained their Michelin macaroon with the publication of the 2010 Guide. The food here, with its slight Asiatic influence, is worthy of its Star, but the service (on only my one and only visit) was frankly a joke. Whilst Gérard slaves over his stove, madame occupies herself chatting to favoured clients neglecting fellow diners. It took 20 minutes after being seated before we were served our aperitifs and only then after having needed to prompt the staff - and don't even think about asking for a beer (even if you are desperate after an exhausting day tasting wine). The wine list is extensive and carries some very good names with a well chosen selection reaching further than just the banks of the Loire. Service, however, remained poor throughout the evening with front of house staff failing to anticipate the needs of diners, especially when it came to topping up wine glasses.

Closed the first week of January, mid-August to early September and Sundays. They also close on Saturday evenings during spring and summer. Go for he excellent food but expect arrogant and incompetent service. Expensive. (Last dined 02/11).


Restaurant – Brasserie du Théâtre
7 Place du Ralliement
T: + 33 2 41
24 15 15
www.brasserie-du-theatre.com
Situated on one of the main squares in the centre of the town, this long standing bar-brasserie has recently reinvented itself. It's relatively large with tables extending onto two balconies above the entrance. Service is crisp and offered by a band of seasoned waiters classically trained. The menu offers proper bistro staples, but one should note that they serve oysters from Gillardeau, which alone are worth a detour. The steaks here are good (but could be better) and there is a short but well chosen selection of wines with all the best regional growers represented. This is a good place to head if you've arrived in town with no idea where to eat as it's unlikely ever to be completely booked up or full. Recommended and good value. (Last dined: 02/12).  

Hotel-Restaurant – La Croix Cadeau / Le Cavier
Route de Laval
Avrillé
T: +33 2 41 42 30 45
F: +33 2 41 42 40 32
lecavier@lecroixcadeau.fr
www.lacroiscadeau.fr
La Croix Cadeau is a modern budget hotel on the edge of an industrial estate, about a ten minute drive north of Angers. The restaurant, Le Cavier, is situated alongside in a disused windmill built in the local black slate. The menu is traditional and relatively modest. Expect to find the likes of Blanquette de veau and other French classics here. The wine list is short, but based on a source of good, local growers. (Last stayed and dined: 02/04)

 
In and around Savennières

Restaurant – La Terrasse
2 Place Ruzebouc
La Pointe - Bouchemaine
T: +33 2 41 77 11 96  
ancredemarine@wanadoo.fr
www.la-terrasse-sur-loire.com
There is a lovely view overlooking the river at the confluence of the Maine and the Loire some five kilometres east of Epiré. La Pointe has the feel of a small coastal fishing village and the cuisine here rather reflects this, based on locally caught fish and seafood. The restaurant has a great wine list with a comprehensive selection of Loire wines, from both the banks immediately adjacent as well as further upstream. It comes highly recommended for lunch. Next door, and under the same ownership, is a simple brasserie, L’Auberge de l’Ancre de Marine which also has five rooms. (Last time dined:02/08)

Restaurant - La Taverne du Prieuré
1 Place du Pilori
La Possonnière
T: +33 2 41 72 20 44
A simple brasserie situated in the centre of the village. Good for a quick lunch. It’s frequented by local farmers, and with friendly and efficient service. Also open some evenings, but best to check opening times in advance. Inexpensive. (Last time dined: 02/08)

Chambre d’Hote - Moulin de Beaupréau
Savennières
T: +33 2 41 72 24 47
www.chambresauxmoulin-savennieres.fr
Surrounded by vines and situated in and around a converted windmill at the rear of the plateau of Savennières. Credit cards not accepted.

Restaurant – La Corniche
La Haie Longue
St Aubin de Luigne
T: +33 2 41 78 67 00
A useful little lunchtime find on the scenic Corniche angevin, between Rochefort and Chalonnes-sur-Loire. It serves simple dishes, including salads. Inexpensive and recommended. (Last dined: 05/10)

Hotel-Restaurant - The Grand Hotel
Rochefort-sur-Loire
You may find reference to this hotel in numerous guides on the Loire and out of date wine reference guides. After booking in one night in January 2008, we had checked out within the hour. The place needs to be condemned.

Restaurant – Le Relais d’Anjou
Rue Nationale
Saint-Georges-sur-Loire
T: +33 2 41 39 13 38
F: +33 2 41 39 13 69
Relais-anjou@wanadoo.fr
This is a fairly typical family run restaurant on the main road through the town with bright and airy décor. It serves local dishes and the quality is perfectly decent although not particularly inspiring. (Last dined: 02/08)


Western Anjou


Champtocé-sur-Loire

Restaurant – Barbe Bleue
Le Moulin Brûlé
T: +33 2 41 48 20 83
A relatively simple eatery specialising in grilled meat and fish, cooked on an open wood fire. A small and uninspiring selection of local wines is on offer. (Last dined: 02/08)

 
Montjean-sur-Loire

Restaurant with rooms – Auberge de la Loire
2 quai des Mariniers
T/F: +33 2 41 39 80 20
Contacts@aubergedelaloire.com
Over looking the Loire ’s south bank, this humble looking auberge serves a very good and modestly priced Menu Degustation based on local and seasonal ingredients, such as pigeon and zander. The wine list is short but well chosen, with some top local growers and a few wild cards thrown in to make an interesting selection. (last dined:02/08)


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