Loire Valley - similar to, or as good as, Le Bon Laboureur
I'm currently staying in Amboise for one last night and wanted to see if there's a restaurant similar to, or as good as, Le Bon Laboureur where I can have lunch tomorrow.
I'm feeling very crestfallen right now. I had a 1:30pm reservation at Le Bon Laboureur today and was super excited for it, especially since we had dinner last night at Le Choiseul which was full or more misses than hits...unfortunately we were made late for several reasons and arrived at the restaurant just before 1:40pm, and then needed a little extra time to park because their lot was full. I would've called them but we had no working phone nor did I want to send my fiance out of the car to check in since I needed his help to find a spot and park the car (I never feel ok parallel parking rental cars especially when roads and parking spaces are so much smaller than in the states).
Anyway, we arrived and the manager would only offer us their limited menu which is mainly salads, croque monsieur and a cheese plate. I thought perhaps this was their lunch menu and so we ordered thinking if we loved it we'd still come back for dinner - but then saw that everyone else was eating more elaborate looking dishes. I asked the waitress why we couldn't order from their regular menu and she explained the manager has strict rules about the last order off their gastronomic menu being made at 1:30pm. Knowing that French restaurants can be very strict about arrival times I just told her I didn't know, didn't make a complaint and then apparently ended up looking very sad and disappointed throughout the rest of lunch. My fiance and I did discuss perhaps coming back for another meal before we leave town.
However, when we finished eating, the manager came over with a printout of the reservation confirmation email that stated that last orders are taken at 1:30pm and that they'd need to be notified if we'd be late. Unfortunately when it was sent I was in the countryside with very limited Internet access and never read that email. I explained that I wasn't mad at anyone at the restaurant, just disappointed that I couldn't try their regular menu considering I was only late 10 minutes and had no means of calling them - but that I understood it wasn't anyone's fault. He was basically explaining that the waitress said she was concerned that I wasn't aware of their policy and felt the need to drive the point that missing out on their menu was completely my fault - even saying that I technically arrived at 1:45:48 (yes, he even cited the amount of seconds late I arrived). This I found to be unnecessary since I didn't complain or ask for any type of compensation - I was already really sad and this only made me feel even worse. In fact, it completely killed any desire to return there.
The waitress saw what a jerk the manager was being and gave us some souvenir hats that the hotel gives to their guests and said the manger didn't understand what she meant when she told him about our situation (it seems she did feel we were entitled to some token of kindness for the miscommunication).
Anyway, just had to vent and ask if there's another place where I could get memorable lunch tomorrow, our last day. To make up for today my fiance and I decided to book a hot air balloon ride - but this means we won't have time for a real dinner....so all we have salvage the culinary aspect of this trip is lunch tomorrow.
So sorry to hear this. I've had a couple of wonderful meals at Le Bon Laboreur. Perhaps you could try Chateau de Rochecotte near Langeais. We had a memorable lunch there some years ago and it still seems to get great reviews. The atmosphere is very grand and traditional, not really similar to Bon Laboreur, but in terms of price and food quality, compares very favorably.