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Dining in Saumur/Chinon area


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We're hoping to be in Saumur for a few days between Christmas and New Years. Any ideas, experience of restaurants and chambre d'hote/hotels in the region?

We honeymooned in the region and ate a casually rustic meal at Auberge de la Mangeoire (on the south side of the river, on the main road that takes you out of Saumur). Our hotel keepers (who I would recommend with heartfelt emotion if they weren't closed for the winter) recommended La Toque Blanche, on the north side of the river between Saumur and Angers. I don't think it was even in our Michelin guide, but it was a delicious meal. They also recommended Auberge de la Reine de Sicile, but we didn't get a chance to try it. There are lots of one-stars that are a relatively short drive away.

Derrick Schneider

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  • 1 month later...

Just trying one more time to pick up this thread and see if anyone else (besides derricks) had any experience in the Saumur.

We are staying right in Saumur between Xmas and New Year's and actually have three different wine appointments in the region (helps to know someone in the wine business!)....

Ponitiawski(sp?) in Vouvray, a place in Chinon and third...but still looking for good food.

Philly Francophiles

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La Toque Blance is an excellent suggestion -- we ate there several years ago and it was so good we returned a couple of nights later. It's in Les-Rosiers-sur-Loire, about 15 km west of Saumur, and its phone is (or at least was) 02.41.51.80.75

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Since you're not getting a ton of firsthand reports, I thought I'd tell you what the 2004 Gault-Millau has to say (it's one of the books I rely on myself when planning trips to the smaller, lesser visited parts of France).

They give the following ratings to the following restaurants (I'll explain my take on them after):

Le Gambetta - 14

L'Escargot - 13

Les Ménestrels - 13

And in fact these are the only three restaurants they list for Saumur. If you're not familiar with this guide, it's out of a possible 20 points, and the 19/20 point restaurants always correspond with Michelin's 3-stars; a 14 rating is usually comparable to a Michelin 1-star, and I have always found, for my taste anyway, that restaurants with 12 Gault-Millau points are where really good eating starts - it's not necessarily fancy at that point, but it's good enough that the food may actually be "conversation-stopping", and by that I mean that in a 12 point restaurant, you're likely to interrupt your conversation to remark "by the way, this food is actually quite delicious". 13 points then, is quite something in its own right- and bear in mind that both the 12 and 13 correspond very highly to Michelin's "Bib Gourmand". If it were I going to Saumur, I would definitely plan a visit to these places, especially since my preference is not necessarily 3-star restaurants over the kind of hearty local cusine you get at these places, and since Gault-Millau 13 has always represented a seriously good level of dining in France for me.

For cross reference, the 2004 Pudlo does not list any restaurants in the town (only one hotel), but the 2003 English translation of the Guide Routard lists only Les Ménestrels, and says "Without doubt the best restaurant n Saumur."

Hope this helps.

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We're hoping to be in Saumur for a few days between Christmas and New Years. Any ideas, experience of restaurants and chambre d'hote/hotels in the region?

This week end i am staying and dining at Le fleuray outside amboise and at L'orangerie du chateau in Blois. Note that most worthy places are closed for the winter.

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Merci, you all!

Yes, we are very aware that most places are closed that week.

Darn.

That's when we take most of our vacations throughout France, between Xmas and New Year's, and its the same everywhere in France.

But...since that is when we can go, we have to take our chances!

And, thank you, Markk, for the guide stuff!

Philly Francophiles

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I highly recommend dining at the restaurant in the Chateau Marcay. It's a bit of an unknown to the general tourist, as they attract the locals from the areas. We stayed there 3 years ago and lucked out on it. I knew the chef had something; we had diinner twice there. Last year, there was a feature story on him in the Gault Millau magazine as an up-and-comer. His cuisine has very subtle Asian influences; I recall the ginger sorbet in between plates was amazing; also pigonneau was very serious.

Double check that they still have the same chef as 3-4 years ago, and you'll be in good hands. The dinning room is cozy also; I recall it's made up of 2-3 small rooms. Later, you can relax with a cognac in the foyer which has a serene atmosphere.

Be sure to try some upper end Bourgeuil wines which they will never export. (specialty of the region).

"I hate people who are not serious about their meals." Oscar Wilde

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  • 9 months later...

We will be in Saumur for two days and nights in early October and am looking for lunch and dinner ideas. We are looking for regional cooking both high and low end in terms of cost. Also, very interested in a place with a wine cellar showcasing older vintages of Vouvray and/or Bourgeil/Chinon.

We are staying outside of Tours for four nights and our meals are included at our Inn. But, I am wondering if it is worth the drive back to Tours from Saumur for Jean Bardet?

Any suggestions of local markets, where we could put togethor a picnic lunch?( A suggestion of a scenic place to eat is also welcome!)

Also, wondering if anyone knows of the address to Francois Chidaines wife's wine shop in Mountlouis.

Thanks!

Edited by wkl (log)
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We were in Saumur last Christmas. Stayed at a lovely place right on the water, in front of the castle. Hotel Anne D'Anjou.

The food we had in Saumur itself wasn't magnificent. Les Ministrals, the restaurant in our hotel was the best in town, and then there was a good bistrot called L'escargot or something similar. There is something on the main church square that is recommended that we found appalling.

Tours has Poniatowski Vouvray, if you can get a private appointment for a tasting.

Chinon has a good winery that we visited. So does Poitiers. I see you are from Delaware. Go to Moore Bros in Wilmington and they'll help you and tell you where to visit.

Food wise, we weren't that impressed.

Philly Francophiles

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I can recommend La Toque Blanche in Les-Rosiers-sur-Loire, about 15 km west of Saumur -- its phone is (or at least was) 02.41.51.80.75. We ate there several years ago and it was so good we returned a couple of nights later.

Edited by ann (log)
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The best meals I've had in the Loire Valley in recent years have been at two star restaurants in Onzain and Romorantin, but that's even further away. I haven't been to Jean Bardet so I can't really tell you well it compares to the Hotel Lion d'Or in Romorantin. The latter was exceptional, even for a two star.

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