Eating out in... Sète

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  • 1 La CoquerieLa Coquerie is the place to go if youre looking for a special gastronomic experience. Perched along the road that leads to the top of Mont Saint Clair, the restaurant benefits from spectacular views of the salty tang and sea beyond. Its a light, contemporary space with large windows so guests can enjoy the setting wherever theyre sitting. The kitchen is located in the middle of the restaurant and, behind the counter, Anne Majourel with her trademark straw hat creates dishes with her team. There are even stools at the counter for those who like to watch the chefs design their seasonally inspired dishes.

    Anne is a self-taught chef who grew up in nearby Corbires and refined her craft in restaurant Le Ranquet in the Cvennes. Her passion for cooking led her to become one of the few female chefs to gain a Michelin star, an award given to La Coquerie in 2012.

    Each day Anne and her staff design their signature Menu Les Yeux Ferms (eyes closed) after a morning visit to the indoor food halls and the fish market at the Corniche, as well as noting what their select group of suppliers have on offer. The result is a constantly changing menu of wonderful creations, such as courgette flower stuffed with crab and basil on a red mullet millefeuille and mussels from the tang de Thau, or smoked bonito fillet (a type of tuna) with hazelnut oil and tomato paste, garnished with borage flowers, peas, mint and arugula from the garden. The wine menu, too, is high quality, each addition rigorously chosen by Annes partner Jean-Luc and predominantly sourced from the nearby vineyards of the Languedoc.La Coquerie, 1 Chemin du Cimetire Marin, 34200 SteTel: (Fr) 6 47 06 71 38, annemajourel.fr/horizon.html

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    Steeating out in...

    the sea and lagoons around this Mediterranean harbour town provide a bountiful harvest of fish and seafood, says Amanda Pollard

    2 terre et MerIf youre not a lover of seafood, or you simply fancy something different, a great option is Terre et Mer. This cosy restaurant is located away from the busy canal at the west harbour and comprises a wine shop and fine-foods picerie. Owner Tony Vives (pictured right) grew up in Aveyron and ran restaurants there and in Toulouse before coming to Ste. His idea was to work in partnership with the producers of Ste and Aveyron to marry the meaty flavours of the mountains with the salty tastes of the Mediterranean. Head chef Cyrille Guiliani and his team use high-quality ingredients to create quite traditional yet delicious dishes. Try sauted ceps, or saddle of rabbit and breast of smoked pig with puy lentils and herbes de Provence, or alternatively choose noix de Saint Jacques with chorizo.

    With only 16 tables, theres an intimate atmosphere in the restaurant and the service is friendly and attentive. If the sun is shining the terrace is a nice spot to enjoy a meal. When youre dining inside, the kitchen is in full view, so you can see the chefs at work. Prices are reasonable: a starter, main course and dessert costs 40, which might leave you with enough cash to browse the local products and wine that are available in the shop.Terre et Mer, 28 Promenade Jean-Baptiste-Marty, 34200 SteTel: (Fr) 4 67 74 49 43, www.restaurant-terreetmer.com

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  • RESTAURANTS

    3 Chez FranoisThe exterior of Chez Franois gives you a clue to whats on the menu. Beautifully displayed buckets and platters of fresh local seafood stand outside the front entrance, alongside a terrace with a few tables. Perched right on the quayside, the restaurant is fairly small and unassuming, but as far as food goes it packs a big punch. There are no frills here, just good-quality, fresh local produce cooked simply.

    The family business has produced seafood since the 1950s and the restaurant has been established since the 1980s. In that time Chez Franois has built up a reputation for delicious, fresh food, prepared and presented in a simple, unpretentious way, so its no wonder that its popular with locals. The place is small with just 20 or so tables, and consequently it is almost always busy, so its advisable to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

    The restaurant produces its own oysters in the tang de Thau nearby, so you could try some of those, as well as mussels, clams, prawns and sea snails, or alternatively go for grilled fish, or local speciality bourride de lotte. However, if you simply cant decide which to choose, how about opting for a shared assiette de fruits de mer? The waiter will bring you a large platter full of ice, with a selection of shellfish arranged on top. Its a lovely way to enjoy the tastes of different seafood and sample things you might not have tried before. Dont forget to wash it down with some crisp white wine or a light ros, as the wine list is well stocked.Chez Franois, 8 Quai Gnral Durand, 34200 SteTel: (Fr) 4 67 74 59 69

    The Ste waterfront provides an

    atmospheric setting for outdoor dining

    Stes most famous speciality is a seafood pie, known as a tielle. These circular, doughy pastries are filled with octopus, cuttlefish or squid in a spicy tomato sauce and were invented by fishermen in the Italian port of Gaeta. Eat them hot or cold as a snack or starter.

    must try

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  • 84 FRANCE MAGAZINE www.completefrance.com

    eating in

    MARKETLes Halles de SteRue Gambetta 34200 Ste Stes indoor market is fabulous, containing 75 stalls of every local food you could possibly imagine. Here you can wander the aisles and stock up on fruit, vegetables, olives, tapenades, charcuterie, meat and countless other goodies. And of course, dont forget the seafood stalls where youll find fish and shellfish fresh from the mornings catch. Bouzigue oysters from the tang de Thau are some of the best in the world and razor clams, a regional speciality, are delicious cooked in butter, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs.

    CHEESEFromagerie Lou Pastrou5 Rue Gambetta 34200 Ste Tel: (Fr) 4 67 74 41 28You cant really come to France without tasting some cheese, and one of the best fromageries in Ste is Lou Pastrou, a little way from the waterside, along Rue Gambetta. The business originated in Aveyron and its speciality is a tangy yet velvety Roquefort that melts in the mouth.

    BISCUITS AND CAKESBiscuiterie Pouget47 Quai de Bosc 34200 SteTel: (Fr) 4 67 74 72 38Ste might be famous

    for its seafood, but there are other delicacies to try as well. For something sweet head to Biscuiterie Pouget in the indoor market. In business since 1931, the stall moved to the food halls in 2007. Here you can buy madeleines, macarons and cakes as well as the famous Zzette de Ste: long, twisted biscuits flavoured with dry white wine and vanilla.

    WINESCaves Notre Dame278 Avenue du Marchal Juin34200 SteTel: (Fr) 4 67 80 32 20 www.cavesnotre dame.com There are a couple of must-try wines from the area surrounding Ste, one of which is Muscat de Frontignan. This white vin doux naturel is cultivated in the vineyards around the tang de Thau and is a popular aperitif. A perfect accompaniment to seafood is a fresh, bone-dry glass of Picpoul de Pinet. Another good wine shop is Cave de Thau along Quai Charles Lemaresquier.

    The indoor market and wine shops of Ste sell a delicious array of fresh and cured meats, local seafood and vegetables, with wine to match

    La Ola201 Promenade du Lido,

    Plage de la Fontaine, 34200 Ste Tel: (Fr) 4 67 53 07 14, http://laola.fr

    Theres no better way to finish the day than enjoying a chilled glass of ros on the beach at one of the restaurants and bars that pop up in summer. La Ola has

    lovely views and a selection of 40 wines for your early-evening

    drink and nibbles.

    Apro

    Next mONth eNjOyiNg

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    FROM TOP: A meal of

    cuttlefish and Provenal

    vegetables in the indoor

    market; Relaxing with

    an apro on the beach

    at La Ola; Caf Lulu in

    the market square

    caf Lulu7 Rue du 11 Novembre 1918, 3

    4200 Ste

    Tel: (Fr) 4 99 02 84 86

    Head to the market square, Place Aristide

    Briand, to the delightful art deco-style Caf

    Lulu, which offers quality coffees from

    around the world, as well as an array of

    teas. If you dont fancy caffeine, indulge

    in one of their delicious smoothies

    or milkshakes.

    Coffee breAk