Albi, Toulouse, Gaillac & area: any rec's please?
Was wondering if I could hear any recommendations for this area in the Gaillac wine region. Anything in Michelin is a given, but what about other places. I am very fond of game and unpretentious but "WOW" types of places. [Ref Chez Fernand in Villefort. ] A good cheese course is very much sought too. I would really appreciate any suggestions as I have 7 days of lunches & dinners to account for in Dec.
About five years ago I had a wonderful, and reasonably priced, dinner in the restaurant at the Hotel Minerve in Albi. They had a beautiful terrace that faced the old city across the river (this was in summer). It's worth at least checking into, because if they've maintained the quality at all, I'd highly recommend it.
L'Epicurean in Albi is a contemporary, kind of trendy place with excellent food. More traditional but still very good is Le Lautrec, also in Albi. I am not sure either of these would qualify for a WOW, though.
Outside Gaillac, we visited the Chateau de Salettes to purchase some wines; I looked into their restaurant and at their menu and think it would be worth checking out.
Will you be going to Carcassonne? If so, don't miss Comte Roger. It is apparently fairly new as it was not in my guidebooks. I had a wonderful 2 course lunch for 20 euros.
In Toulouse, I would recommend Le Bon Vivre on the Place Wilson for very good traditional bistro food in a nice atmosphere. Have the surprise 5-course menu (I had it with surprise wine pairings; very good) at Le Sept at 7 Place St. Sernin. It is listed in Michelin but without a star, though I feel it deserves one. It was wonderful and a great value. Our meat course turned out to be grouse, which was delicious and not found often.
In Toulouse, try l'Air de Famille (not far from Capitole, rue Chalande) and le Verjus (rue Tolosane). Both are small but comfortable. Their menus change daily, but both tend to serve refined traditional dishes and more inventive cuisine (for dinner at l'Air de Famille, I had delicate cèpe ravioli followed by sesame-crusted tuna and crème catalane for dessert). Both serve wines from the region; le Verjus has the more extensive wine list with many available by the glass.
Unfortunately I don't have a good cheese course recommendation because I opt for dessert at restaurants and buy my cheese at the market. In Toulouse, there is an organic farmers' market at St. Aubin on Sunday morning, and a smaller organic market on the place du Capitole on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Montauban has a very good 'petits producteurs' market on Saturdays as well.
Voilà - just a couple of ideas. Bonne dégustation!