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Apr 16, 2010 09:01 AM

Restaurants in Dordogne/Lot region

Looking for recommendations for restaurants around Rocamadour and St. Cyprien areas. We will be going for a week in May/June. How far ahead to we need to make reservations during this time?

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  1. For the May June period, I think booking 2, 3 days in advance would be ok for restaurants. If you want to be safe, try a week in advance.
    For a few of the popular ferme-auberges, I have tried to book nearly a month in advance and could not get my 1st-choice dates ! Admittedly Ferme-auberges are special are often are open only a couple of days out of the week and are often "chartered" for weddings and bday parites by locals.
    By St Cyprien, you mean St Cyprien on the Dordogne river, right? There are several rivers with that name in the southwest.

    1. It's been quite a few years since I was there, but we had a wonderful dinner and a pleasant overnight stay at the Lion d'Or in Gramat. The restaurants in Rocamadour were mediocre, but the view is beautiful and having lunch on a terrace overlooking the gorgeous valley makes up for the food. No need to book in advance.

      16 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        Rrem s is right. Rocamadour is best viewed from afar. Close up it is a village with 50 clone boutiques selling identical religious geegaw.

        In nearby Martel (right outside the village), my fave resto is the Ferme-Auberge du Moulin à l'huile de noix, tel 05 65 37 40 69 or 05 65 37 30 69.
        Another fave ferme-auberge of mine is also nearby, the Ferme-auberge Calvel in Le Bougayrou in Lacave. Tel: 0899651365
        With these two, one needs to book about 2 weeks in advance in the summer.
        They also sell their farm products. We always pick up a few jars of foie gras and also confits d'oignon to go with sausages.

        1. re: Parigi

          There are also some wonderful Chambre d'Hotes in this area that not only make a wonderful breakfast, but serve a table d'hote dinner at a community table that makes you feel like you're part of their family. This is an unforgettable experience.

          Moulin du Fresquet in Gramat, just a few kilometers from Rocamadour, is this type of place. The rooms are charming and the dinners are heavenly! The patrons cook from mostly local ingredients with local recipes.

          1. re: Parigi

            Parigi and Menton1, the places you mention sound delectable! Are any of them open for dinner to the public on a Monday night? If so, do we need to reserve a table in advance? Any dishes in particular that we should not miss?

            1. re: pilinut

              A Ferme-auberge is a farm with a side-biz of restaurant. The good thing about it is that everything comes from the very farm. The drawback is that it is not open all the time like a regular restaurant.
              In season Ferme-Auberge du Moulin à l'huile de noix in Martel is open everyday except Sunday night and Monday all day.
              For the ferme Le Bougayrou, frm 1st July to 15 Sep, closed Mondays. Off season: open on wkends and easter holiday period.
              Those two eateries are extremely popular with locals. I myself would book 2 weeks in advance for June.

              1. re: Parigi

                Thank you very much, Parigi! We'll try for Tuesday or Wednesday at the Moulin then. I've got the phone numbers and addresses in my aging PDA and will make a reservation as soon as we firm up our itinerary. I'm sure we can find something in Rocamadour, but would you suggest a better alternative near Lacave for dinner on Monday?

                It's been a few years since we've been back, and I'm eagerly anticipating the few days we have there. Are there any particularly good places to stop and eat, or things to buy between Lacave and Montignac or Bergerac? We used to love the foie gras at Teyssier in Montignac, but don't even know if it is still around. Any good sources for chocolate covered roasted walnuts?

                1. re: pilinut

                  Both of those two fermes-auberges make their own farm-fresh foie gras. Get the jar kind and not cans of course. It is fresher and much tastier, but you may have to eat it within 6 months or whatever date is marked. You can even transport it back to the US because it is "commercial packed". We have done so quite a few times, declaring it loud and clear at customs.

                  I don't have a Monday option. Monday is always a problem on the road. We either cook in our rental or picnic.

                  If you are staying in a rental, get a jar of (cooked) cassoulet from the ferme-auberge too. Easiest thing to heat up and soooo tasty.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    I prefer the jar-packed ones, too--mi-cuit, when possible. But on my last trip back, a customs officer in SFO asked me if I had any foie gras. I told the officer (truthfully) that I didn't, as I had heard it had been banned. He said that it was okay, but only in cans, NOT in jars, as it is possible for people to swap out the commercially packed, fully-cooked stuff for the "improperly" conserved foie gras. Did Customs ever see your glass jars, or did you simply declare "foie gras"?

                    As an aside, I had a lump of lovely Bordier butter from la Grande Epicerie, and I declared that, and the Customs officer said that butter was no problem

                    1. re: pilinut

                      "Did Customs ever see your glass jars, or did you simply declare "foie gras"?"

                      On two occasions we did have to show the foie gras in jar.
                      We were even told to go to another - special - customs guy to show him the jar.
                      The magic word to say seems to be: "commercial packed".
                      A vrai dire I have no idea what it means. But I say it, and the customs guys look puzzled at first (maybe they don't know what it means either), paused then said ok.

                      "it is possible for people to swap out the commercially packed, fully-cooked stuff for the "improperly" conserved foie gras."

                      I don't know how that is possible. The jar has a rubber ring right under the lid. To open the jar one must yank out the rubber ring. After that, the lid does not close unless one loops the mousetrap-like loop device (sorriest I can't expalin well). It is then evident that it has been open.
                      See this photo:
                      What I mean by the mousetrap-like loop device is on the right.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Thanks again! I guess Customs offices/officers have a fair amount of leeway to interpret the rules. Now, do I want to risk losing my foie gras? Hmmmm. . . The most judicious route would probably be to eat all the fresh and mi-cuit stuff that I can hold while I'm out there, thereby smuggling it into the country in my own fattened liver. . . And to bring in a few tins as backup.

                  2. re: pilinut

                    "Near Lacave for dinner on Monday": how about Château de la Treyne? I had dinner and stayed overnight there a few years ago and loved everything about the place (except an antique chair in the bedroom whose seat cushion sank down too far).

                    1. re: fanoffrance

                      Thanks for the idea--that is one truly gorgeous place! (I had thought of having my wedding there many years ago, but the probability that we would spend most of our time rescuing lost relatives from the wrong corner of France was just too daunting.) What is the food like? Do they serve lunch, too?

                      1. re: pilinut

                        They serve lunch on weekends, holidays, and Mondays. Their excellent website includes full menu details: As for what I remember about my dinner there, it wasn't overly fancy (I took a small menu, not à la carte), but everything was delicious and perfectly executed. I definitely left with a desire to return, but unfortunately haven't had the opportunity.

                2. re: pilinut

                  I think that perhaps the Moulin de Fresquet does table d'hote every night. Check with Gerard.

                  1. re: menton1

                    Many thanks, menton1! That is a great help. I looked up their website, and they are closed on Tuesdays. I have their contact numbers in my PDA and will reserve if we can get there for Monday dinner. It looks like a charming place!


                    1. re: pilinut

                      OK, enjoy, but "jeudi" is Thursday, not Tuesday!

                      1. re: menton1

                        Oooops! [Blush.] Where did all those French lessons go?! Probably into my foie, rather than my long-term memory. Thanks!

            2. We plan to be in the same area around the same time, and are looking forward to staying at the Pont de l'Ouysse. Since this will be our fourth or fifth visit--and, for me, the high point of this trip to France--we obviously enjoy the place and the food very much. I can't imagine wanting to stay anywhere else in the area, or miss having at least one dinner at the restaurant. If it means anything to you, they rated one Michelin star in 2008 (I don't have anything more recent).


              1 Reply
              1. re: pilinut

                I second the Pont de l'Ouysse.
                In fact it is very near the Ferme-auberge Calvel that I mentioned earlier. One could be the backup of the other, but they are of course very different animals…

              2. Someone (a cousin of the chef, Jean-Paul Malaurie) once recommended to me a place in St-Cyprien called Les Écuries de La Passée, but I haven't had a chance to try it nor do I know if it still exists. At Le Buisson de Cadouin I had a delicious lunch a few years ago at Les Délices d'Hortense, which I noticed lost its Michelin star in the 2010 Guide Rouge.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fanoffrance

                  I don't think Les Ecuries exists any more. I haven't heard anyone talk about it for several years, and there is no listing in the telephone book.

                2. A sublime stay in a wonderful historic house with sweet hosts and wonderful food in a table d'hote. An area (Dropt) not as heavily touristed as the Dordogne, but just as interesting and beautiful...