When in France it seems rude not to try as many French foods and drink as you can, and so during my recent trip to Lille I checked out a variety of restaurants, and their delicious edible offerings!
On the first night in the beautiful city, we hopped over the road from the hotel to a small restaurant recommended in my Brandt guidebook, Le Pot Beaujolais on Rue de Paris. Listed as simply the boutique place to eat steak in the city, and conveniently located in the centre of Lille, it seemed to perfect not to try out.
The restaurant is famed for its wine and meats, and also offered a truly scrumptious scallop dish for those (like me) who don’t particularly enjoy steak. However, even I had inklings of food envy as I gazed at my fellow diners’ plates. The restaurant prides itself in the selection of their meats, and even lists the butchers they use on the menu. The main courses are all around €20 give or take, so not the cheapest spot on the street but worth every cent!
I absolutely loved my scallops in Le Pot Beaujolais, and it was the most generous portion of fish I’ve ever encountered. I indulged in a little of the namesake Beaujolais white wine along with my main course, which at around €3 per glass was an absolute steal and delicious along with it. The main ingredient in Le Pot Beaujolais’ charm is the impossibly French atmosphere, leaving you feeling quite the sophisticated European as you attempt to order in French and navigate the dicey world of leaving a tip.
Looking for a more casual bite to eat further into our stay, we tried the inconspicuous looking L’Abbaye, which sits just by the theatre in the central square. An affordable eatery, L’Abbaye sells itself on having a wide variety of regional beers alongside a menu of classic French comfort foods including moules et frites and the cheesy tartiflette.
A meal of moules et frites and a glass of beer, Leffe blonde seemed to be the one to pick, was around €17, not a bad price at all! The tartiflette, a hearty dish of cream, potato, cheese, ham and onion came in a generous portion and more than compensated for the howling winter winds outside.
Whilst L’Abbaye lacks some of the rustic charm that a smaller outfit might boast, the staff were friendly and helpful, the food delicious, generous and prices reasonable!
L’Square d’Aramis, set further away from the central squares of Lille was where I tried what was sold to me as a delicacy of this region of France, carbonnade flamande. This warming dish involves tender pieces of beef, braised in beer, brown sugar and gingerbread. Creating a thick, delicious sauce and meat that I could have eaten for days. It was an absolutely delicious meal, topped off with some classic frites and a glass of sparkling water.
With such hearty offerings for your main meals in Lille, breakfast and lunch can often be found in any one of the dozens of patisseries around the city. My guidebook spoke extensively on the delights of Paul, which turned out to be mere feet from the steps of our hotel and had rows of gorgeous looking pastries available at all times of the day. It seemed odd that a guidebook was speak so highly of an international chain, with more than half a dozen branches in Lille alone, but the Brandt guide was adamant Paul was the only place to buy your morning croissant and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Prices are relatively reasonable, at least for whilst you are on holiday and can afford to treat yourself to something! I tried the macaron, brioche and croissants whilst in Lille and all were magnifique!