Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Feb 12, 2010 03:55 AM

a week in marseille

i'll be in marseilles for a week in early april. I have read the boards and taken some ideas - i have a rez at Restaurant L'Epuisette for bouillabaisse. I'm looking for more ideas - i'm looking for places where the locals eat - doesn't have to be upscale (although i'm not against upscale either)

besides bouillabaisse what should i be looking for? where?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Lucky you. Marseille is greatly underrated, very enjoyable city.
    Re bouillabaisse, my faithful standby is Chez Fonfon. Once we drove from the Lubéron part of Provence for one lunch there, then drove back.

      1. I ate lunch at Chez Fonfon last Thursday and had a wonderful Bourride. Several tables around me had the Bouillabaisse which looked great too. The Bourride was 47 Euros and the Bouillabaisse was 46 Euros. For both dishes, they brought out a large bowl of the specified broth and then a platter of fish fillets. They get coming by offering to top up my bowl of broth.

        Unfortunately, when I returned to my car which was parked up above on the corniche, someone(s) had broken the small front window and opened the door and then took off with 3 suit cases that were in the trunk. Absolutely nothing was visible in car but I did get out with my camera. Thankfully, I had my credit cards and passport with me.

        So I urge great caution. Marseille has a reputation for a reason. I stupidly went directly there from Marseille airport to lunch at Chez Fonfon rather than going to our home in Vaucluse and dropping off luggage. I learned my lesson.

        There are many wonderful restaurants and villages to visit within an hour or less of Marseille. I am not sure I would devote the entire week to Marseille.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pammel

          Who has ideas for lunch on a Sunday in April? It appears most restaurants are closed. Who can recommend one?

        2. Some locally dominated favorites of ours (though tourists,esp foreign, do not exactly swarm Marseille). In ascending order of 'nice/touristy-ness'):

          1. Snack dinner with take-away fried shrimp, octopus, sardines ('mange-tout') and panises (fried chick pea flour circles) from Chez Gilda (13 Rue de Tois Mages). Sit outside at the bar across the street.

          2. Excellent wine bar La Part des Anges who have good plates, meats, and wine selection. I usually take whatever wine they are pushing at the moment, usually around 25e a bottle and very good. Is usually crowded on Fri - Sat, but it is a jovial crowd.

          3. Lunch at Au Bord de l'Eau, Port of Madrague de Monteredon. Nice deck on an old fishing village at the edge of Marseille (end of the 19 bus). Grilled fresh fish and good pizzas (for some reason a pizza for the table serves as appetizer in Marseille and is followed by the fish plate). April will have many days nice enough for eating out by the water. Afterward you can walk 20 minutes up trails (follows signs for the 'GR') to get a great overview of Marseille.

          In general there are many decent locals restaurants on Rue Sainte and around the Notre Dame du Mont/Cours Julien metro. La Gentiane is a cozy Lyonnaise place with 30e menus (9 rue des trois-rois, Cour Julien) and Chaos-Zen is a solid Corsican place on Rue Sainte.

          1. L'Epuisette is a wonderful restaurant, but you don't want to go there for bouillabaisse. For that much over-rated dish (which almost literally no one beyond tourists eats), the best places are Chez Michel and Fon-Fon.
            Some good restaurants: hard to beat Le Café des Epices at noon (behind the Town Hall). Right downtown near the Opéra, Chez Vincent is about as authentic a place as you're going to find (pizza, classic dishes). Le Ventre de l'Architect is a very fine restaurant, plus it will give you a reason to visit "La maison du fada," le Corbusier's famous apartment complex. Une Table au Sud--one star Michelin on the Old Port, inventive if a bit "molecular" for my taste. Chez Toinou for oysters and the like. Chez Dédé, almost in the water (south of the Point Rouge on the coast road), simple, homey, fun for everthing from fresh fish to pasta. Enjoy. Marseille is a fantastic town. Be prudent about belongings, of course, but the crime thing is way way over-stated. You're ten times more likely to have problems in Barcelona than Marseille.

            3 Replies
            1. re: johnmarseille

              Hi John,

              Just digging up an old thread here ahead of my few days in Provence and you sound like quite the expert. The original idea was to spend a few days somewhere remote ( and then head to Marseille for something more urban. I'd love to try L'Epuisette or Le Ventre de l'Architect but we're only in Marseille Sunday and Monday evenings and both are closed as is Le Petit Nice. Any Sunday/Monday recommendations? Better to hunt around our more remote first destination (under an hour north of La Grand-Combe)?

              1. re: ryangg

                If you're looking to have bouillabaisse, try Chez Fonfon in the Vallon des Auffes (Marseille). It's open Monday nights from June through October (which hopefully fits your schedule).

                1. re: boredough

                  Thanks boredough. Chez Fonfon looks like fun and it may be one of the few options available. I've not had proper bouillabaisse before so it's probably worth a try though I have to admit, the concept doesn't quite excite me as much as some of the other things Marseille is meant to do well.