Loire / Valle de la Brenne - Vouvray to Chateau-Renault
We spent a week near Neuille-le-Lierre in the Valle de la Brenne, which is a bit off the main Loire tourist track, and tried a few good places that haven't been mentioned here that I can find. They're all around a half-hour drive from Amboise.
Auberge de la Brenne is deservedly well-known and popular, so reservations may be necessary on weekends. Family place, mother is the chef, father runs the dining room with the help of two daughters. Lovely patio open in warm weather. The place was just a mile from where we were staying, so we went three times.
Highlights included the house-made headcheese, "conjugation" of white asparagus, scallops, and morels, mackerel "tart," roasted monkfish with cauliflower cream, kid goat, desserts, and the all-raw-milk cheese cart, particularly the fromage frais made from fresh goat cheese from the nearby Bodet dairy.
Auberge de la Brenne
19 Rue de la République, Neuillé-le-Lierre, Centre 37380, FR
La Cremaillère in Reugny is a hidden gem. From the looks of the bar you enter through you wouldn't expect such a formal and pleasant dining room.
The lunch menu was 22€. The house-made rillons (major local specialty) were the best I had on the trip, my sautéed skate wing was lovely, and my dessert was one of the best ever, a sour cherry clafoutis that was basically a huge pile of Montmorency cherries held together by a little barely sweet batter. Great value. We went back planning to eat there again, but the place had been bought out by a local for a birthday party.
5 Place de la République, Reugny, Centre 37380, FR
We went to the Tuesday market in Chateau-Renault, small but at least that week there was a great Auvergne cheesemonger and a pal of his with some extraordinary cherries that paired remarkably well with a sheep-goat blend tomme.
The best-looking lunch option around the square was Kalina's, an inexpensive place that looks like a bar but keeps restaurant hours. Good food, some Vietnamese and other fusion touches. Popular with locals, filled up.
15 Place Jean Jaurès, Château-Renault, Centre 37110, FR