Nothing fancy, just good food! 5th Arrondissment, Dinan (area), Bayeux and Honfleur.
We will be spending two weeks in France, one week in Paris and the other week driving from Dinan to Honfleur and back to Paris. Aftert two days spent near the Montparnasse Train Station we will be taking a train to Rennes, then renting a car and driving to Dinan (three nights), to Mont St. Michel and on to Bayeux (2 nights), then on to Honfleur (2 nights), then to Giverny and back to Paris (5 nights in the 5th Arr.).
We love good food and we also enjoy the challenge of finding great little restaurants that are not fancy, nor very expensive (expensive is relative). I’m not saying budget or cheap restaurants, but we find that our most enjoyable meals are at restaurants in the middle of the price scale, but many of our great meals have been at little, family places with no curb appeal. For years expense accounts allowed for meals at more expensive places, but that is no longer an option. Chow Hound contributors have been wonderful in providing excellent suggestions over the years, but all of our past travels (using Chow Hound) have been in North America, so this will be the first time we have tried Chow Hound for anywhere in Europe. We have been to France before (10 days in Paris over Bastille Day several years ago), but never to Brittany or Normandy, or to this particular Arrondissment. Thank you very much for your help.
OK, Colette and I just did a little sprint to Normandy (unlike Parnassien, we'll do Italy next year) with our two 14 yo grands and ate at La Rapiere which I rated a 5.8/10
- If you're American or Brit you must go to the cemeteries, I've been going since 1953 and they define the word "awe".
Honfleur I don't know well, but we had a nice meal at (6.0/10) Entre Terre et Mer.
As for the 5th; (I loved the new Tour d'Argent but it may be not what you're looking for in "great little restaurants that are not fancy"); so we'll await Parnassien's GPS survey; for me Au Bon Coin, which he and others rec'd, was really good (6.5/10, for me a very high rating) and my recent list would look something like this
6.6 Terroir Parisien
6,3 Les Degres
5.8 Christophe & Dans Les Landes
5.4 Bar a Huites
I would second the rec from JT for La Rapiere in Bayeux. It should certainly fit with your request for a lovely small restaurant that is family owned and operated with very good mostly traditional Normandy cuisine, with just a slight nod towards modern flavours. It is in middle of the price scale and the service is exemplary and ambience is both intimate and elegant.
We had their Salad Rapiere with foie gras and gizzards followed by an excellent Turbot in a Champagne beurre blanc, and a Lotte and Shrimp with a Tahitian vanilla sauce.
The mains were followed by a "Tru Normande" - Calvados poured over apple sorbet - this is to "fill the hole" as they say.
Local cheeses were very good - how can you go wrong in Normandy- and then baked apples with caramel sauce and and crème brulee with licorice completed the meal.
The sommelier was excellent and he has a cellar of good value wines which he was keen to share.
Also, visit Reine Mathilde Patisserie on the main street of Bayeux for the best Pomme Normandie you will ever taste!
This apple tart will haunt you forever.
In the village of Giverny, at 81 rue Claude Monet, you will find the Hotel Baudy, which is a small historic inn that has a very busy bistro and outdoor terrace. It was originally a two -table painter's hangout in Monet's day. The food is simple, fresh and well-prepared.
We had a good Salade Landaise and a duck pate with frites for lunch one day, and for dinner the next day we had lamb brochettes and a superb potato gratin. The 07 Medoc we drank was 19 euros. Old French country hotel ambience with swift and efficient service.
We stayed in Bayeux last year, and were disappointed in La Rapière... we had a MUCH better experience at Le P'tit Resto, a wonderful bistro with a young bold chef. Great stuff.
For a fun meal where you sit in a real Calvados barrel (huge) go to Au Trou Normand on the outskirts of town. Not fine dining, but acceptable food and a kick. Hard cider served in cups (traditional).