L'ETRIER (*****): The best and most prestigious restaurant in Deauville runs smooth like a vintage Rolls Royce, carefully controlled by Chef Eric Provost: balanced between innovation and tradition, his cuisine develops hundreds of flavours and savours, without spoiling the rich tastes of fish and meat from the best origin. The casino Barrière is next door, with its benefice poured into the Etrier Barrière, and it seems obvious that Provost is not that much attached on its cost: this is THE place in Deauville where you get the best value for money. Homey dinning room with a pleasant summer terrace, stylish service, and the best fish in Deauville are available in the ritzy atmosphere of the hotel Royal for a mid-range budget.
We experienced the «Menu Découverte, with wines tasting», charged EUR 195: one of the richest tasting menus we ever had in Normandy, both in terms of quality and volume.
After the refreshing tapas-like «Amuse Bouche» (chilled Gazpacho, Tuna with Olive «Tapenade», and a fine John Dory mousse on a crispy potato chip), we started with the «Lobster Raviole»: a new item on the menu, this amazingly fragrant and precious delicacy was accompanied with slow cooked yellow courgette and girolle with basil, thin slice of smoked provolone, and herbs cappuccino with pine nuts. Splendid with a glass of «2008 Delas Frères Condrieu La Galopine, Rhône», fruity and refreshing, with a distinguished peach aroma.
Our «Fritters of Dublin Prawns», with an obvious Asian (we would say Vietnamese) influence, were so yummy: an entertaining dish, mixing a popular concept with a sophisticated fresh cheese to herbs-basil espuma. It was paired with one glass of unctuous and savourous red «Saint-Romain, Clos des Ducs 2008, Christophe Violot».
There was a little break, with an «Apple Granita»: refreshing with its slight cider flavour, it pleasantly cleaned our palate from the fish and wine reminds. It made us ready for enjoying the meat specialty: the «Ribs of Beef cooked on the Grill». We had it medium. Tender and juicy, it almost melted in our mouth. Such a quality goes scarce nowadays. It came with a lavish creamed risotto with summer truffle, green asparagus with parsley and garlic, and turnips tops in sweet and sour. Simply perfect. We had it with a «Château Greyssac 1997, Cru Bourgeois». Nice colour, full bodied, well balanced with a red fruit taste, this is a great Medoc wine at a very decent price (EUR 56 / bottle).
After our «Neufchatel cheese, flavoured with Apple Granita and Herbs Salad» (enjoy it with a glass of cider) we had our row of desserts. The «Pineapple Roasted with Rapadura Sugar» was delicious, with its banana chiboust cream, fruit minestrone style and exotic ice cream. Even better: the so sweet «Strawberry boiled and stewed», with white chocolate and thin lace biscuit crisp, ice cream with cardamom, and strawberry milk emulsion. With a «Muscat du Cap Corse, Domaine Gentil 2005» (EUR 14 by the glass), it constituted a happy ending to an unforgettable dinner.
The restaurant is non-smoking, but is that a real problem? It has one of the nicest lounge bar in Deauville, with the best Cognac, where you can smoke a cigar: listening to live piano music. Very chic!
Eric Provost losted his Michelin star. Who knows why? This is the cuisine we like and finally it doesn 't matter. The clients are booking much in advance, coming from around the world, with many jet setters, Hollywood movie stars and French show business making the place not only attractive for its remarkable standard, but also for its glamourous ambiance.
Elaborated in very small quantity in Normandy, this is more or less the equivalent of the made in Quebec «Cidre de Glace». This was first time we enjoyed this delicious beverage: the apple taste turned quickly in our palate into a honey flavour. It somehow remembered us the «Tokaji Eszencia» (essence of Tokay) we had recently in Hungary. One negative point: this product is so much demanded by the grand chefs that buying a bottle from a shop is almost impossible.
CIRO'S (****): Next to « Le Bar du Soleil » and its well famed terrace, this is the most famous restaurant in Deauville, since 1959. With its picture windows opening onto the beach, located on the famous Deauville sea front, this restaurant was tailored made for a touristy activity; the management -Groupe Lucien Barrière- rejected facility, and turned it into what we would like to call a gastronomic brasserie. Gastronomic, because Chef Eric Provost brought to this place a very high -intentionally not too much sophisticated- quality of cuisine. Brasserie, because Ciro's is very French, informal -despite of the smart Jacques Garcia 1920's touch- and family oriented. This is something a more friendly, quality oriented sister of Parisian « La Coupole ».
Joël, sommelier and manager, is a very important person at Ciro's: he joined the restaurant not less than 37 years ago! He knows everybody by name, and treats the family of tourists or the movie star with the same extreme courtesy. His staff behaves with a similar nice and anticipating attitude.
You can seat at the terrace (protected from the wind and curious tourist intrusions...), or in the elegant dinning room.
As a starter, we would like to recommend the « Cold Tomato Soup » (EUR 18), with gray shrimps, minestrone of vegetable, with pinions of pine. We found it extremely refreshing. Something like a richer, more sophisticated version of the « Gazpacho ». Or the interesting « Mackerel Back » (EUR 16): marinated in cider, onion and carrot slices, with an unexpected though wonderful grain mustard. A light, delicious specialty: reflecting quite well Provost's talent, you will also find in the much recommended « Semi cooked Tuna » (EUR 22), mixing the best quality of tuna fish with the proletarian celery remoulade, enriched with a coriander aroma and crystallized lemon. Only French chefs can marry basically unmatchable ingredients with such a positive alchemy. This is one of our favourites on the menu, at a remarkable value for money.
« Coquilles & Coquillettes »: a mouth watering name for a mouth watering seafood specialty, mixing shell fish and pasta. Clams, oysters (depending on the season: in July-August could be replaced by crunchy lobster or prawns), shrimps, molds, scampi, hard shell and clams, come with a very light, amazingly tasty and digestive Béchamel sauce with Parmesan. Another Chef's specialty. A best seller, at EUR 28 only!
Some guests just come for the « Turbot cuit Blanc » (Turbot, cooked white), with mushrooms, gray shrimps, juice of spinach and nutmeg. With its great texture and artistical balance of aromas, this specialty comes as close as possible to perfection without any special artifact nor sophistication (EUR 39).
Meadows of France are also well represented. We had a « Noisette d'Agneau » (EUR 28): very juicy and tender piece of lamb, with white crystallized onions, and a worth the trip creamy polenta with cheese and harissa's juice. The « Noisettes » would certainly have been even better with some full bodied red wine; but, was it for the polenta?, it tasted fine with the Côte de l'Ardèche, « Grand Ardèche, Louis Latour ». Tailored made for seafood and fish, this is a well balanced, supple Chardonnay: with subtle notes of exotic fruits and vanilla. This is somehow what we call in France « le vin maison »: at EUR 40, Joël straightly recommend it to his regular guests. So do we.
Fine desserts, on a separate menu. Like the refreshing « Fruits Minestrone », or the « Apples Strudel » with some a somehow oriental aspect (rolled into « brick », looking like a Vietnamese « Nem »), but tasting like the « Retes » (those very light Strudels we experienced in the Hungarian coffee shops: the best in the world, according to us).
Reservations required. Closed January 4th- 27th.
and much recommended restaurant.
LE DRAKKAR (***): You might have to queue a little bit to find a free table in this crowdy, though well famed brasserie. In term of popularity, this is one of the favourite restaurants in Deauville. We found the food fresh, well prepared, though of course not as sophisticated as in a gourmet restaurant like Ciro's or L'Etrier; most pleasant nevertheless for a relaxed and somehow quick lunch. Those on a long stay in Deauville will find it ideal for an everyday catering.
Their « Fresh Goose Liver » (EUR 15.20) goes well; though the seaside atmosphere orientates our choice to seafood. Like the « Bouchot Mussels Marinière » (EUR 9.60) or the « Batter Fried Sea Scallops » (EUR 9.60), served in decent though not excessive portions. The « Seafood Platter » is splendid: at EUR 67.20 for two, this is a best seller.
Desserts are classics like « Floating Island » (EUR 6.10) or the so good, so sweet « Tarte Tatin » (EUR 7.80).
A EUR 100 – 150 for 2 is a good average. Not so expensive... nor so cheap: you are in Deauville!
CHEZ MIOCQUE (***): With same category and prices like « Le Drakkar », this restaurant is maybe little bit more « showy »: this is since decades the meeting point for the show business, rushing there when « Ciro's » is full. We like its warm atmosphere. The cuisine is traditional: brasserie style. « Mussels with French Fries », « Scallop of Veal Normandy », and « Cod with mashed Potatoes » are recommended specialties: surpriseless, though palatable. Interesting wine list, with some much affordable bottles and fine Champagne and aged Calvados selection.
The lovely decorated room, featuring red sofas, large mirrors, in an elegant « bistrot », its pleasant terrace and its proximity from the front beach (a 5 minutes walk), makes « Chez Miocque » a very attractive place to relax oneself before visiting the casino.
Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
MIOCQUE: 81, rue Eugène Colas - 14800 Deauville