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Best Restaurants in the Loire valley

Posted 30 Aug 2022

The Loire Valley is a region of elegant châteaux and royal cuisine. The food here is one of a kind, with unique flavour combinations and graceful presentation on every dish you order. Often called the ‘garden of France', fruit and vegetables are grown here in abundance. You can expect the freshest produce from leeks, asparagus and radishes to strawberries, cherries, apples and grapes. The vineyards of the Loire are worth noting, with delicious wines boasting fruity notes made here. All of this combined means you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the Loire.

Whilst exploring the food of this region, there are some specialities you absolutely have to keep an eye out for. One of these is the fouace, a delicious bread stuffed with a variety of fillings. The most popular are filled with pork pate, goat's cheese, or simply melted butter. The perfect starter to any meal, be sure to order this when you see it. Another popular food here is fresh fish. The bountiful rivers that flow through the Loire offer a wealth of seafood, with perch and bream the most popular. Delicate in flavour, and often accompanied by fruit, these dishes are but a taste of what to enjoy from the best restaurants in the Loire.

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Best restaurants in the Loire

Les Années 30, Chinon

Chinon is a historic town with a rich history and one from which the restaurant Les Années 30 takes its inspiration from. In a town steeped in history, this wonderful bistro in the town centre is no exception. Dating back to the 14th century, you'll struggle to find a more elegant restaurant. Many of the dishes you’ll encounter have been regional recipes for hundreds of years. Although small, the menu here is packed full of deliciousness.

The restaurant boasts a Michelin star and it's no wonder why. For starters, enjoy grilled scallops with garlic and parsley, or maybe a pan-fried John Dory with a 'calvados' glaze. For mains, the fillet of beef braised with whisky is delicious, as is the hake pan seared with a rich white butter sauce. The marriage of flavours, where river meets forest, is what makes this one of the best restaurants in the Loire. You can visit here on day 7 of our Loire Valley Discovery tour.

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Au Chapeau Rouge, Best restaurants in the Loire

L'Essentiel, Saumur

Combining the past and the present, L’Essentiel in Saumur is a contemporary take on tradition. Sitting at the foot of the castle and close to the city centre, the location is more than ideal. Outstanding service, delicious food, and sumptuous local wines are what define the experience here. Enjoy your dining experience outside as well, where a beautiful patio area awaits. Some have described the plates as ‘paintings’ thanks to the immaculate food presentation.

The chef personally oversees every table, and their five-course tasting menu is the result of their passion for food. Embark on a gastronomic journey, enjoying rich cuts of meat drizzled in red wine jus or maybe fresh river catches topped with zesty citrus and sharp-flavoured radish grown locally. One of our favourite parts of l’Essential is that the perfect wine will be chosen, no matter the dish you pick. You can visit this restaurant on day 5 of our Loire in Luxury tour.

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L'Essentiel, Best restaurants in the Loire

Les Arpents, Amboise

If you’re searching for a slice of elegance when in Amboise, Les Arpents should be your first point of call. Well deserving of Michelin's Bib Gourmand award, this restaurant prides itself on delicious yet simple recipes that entice your tastebuds. The brainchild of cook and host, Franck and Jérôme, the restaurant was born of their passion to serve delicious food with warmth and friendliness. All dishes here are made with fresh, local produce either grown in a nearby field or caught in the bountiful streams. In fact, they list all their ingredients with places of origin, so you know exactly who in the community provided the delicious food you’re eating. It’s the small touches like these that make this one of the best restaurants in the Loire.

Their menu focuses on just a few, perfect specialities; so whatever you order, you know it will be good. For starters, enjoy flame-grilled romaine, beef tartare and tangy condiments, or pressed Denis’s tomatoes, mackerel and basil mustard. For your main course, the menu offers a delicious Loire River catfish, with courgette flower, green beans, and consommé whipped with butter. Another delicious stand-out is their roast veal with creamy cauliflower and hibiscus-flavoured figs. You’ll have the chance to dine here on day 2 of our Loire Valley Experience tour.

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Les Arpents, Best restaurants in the Loire

L'Aigle d’Or, Azay-le-Rideau

For one the most spectacular al fresco dining experiences in France, head to l’Aigle d’or when in Azay-le-Rideau. Thought and care go into every choice on their menu, with a curated experience that’s hard to forget. The outdoor terrace is peaceful and serene, crowned with glistening fairy lights beneath the canopy of sheltering trees. The food here is as beautifully decorated as the terrace, where you can expect meticulously presented dishes packed with flavour. Designed to be most beautiful in the summer months, you can enjoy the walled garden terrace on day 7 of our Châteaux of the Loire tour

With dishes inspired by the local markets and the rich history of the region, expect a true taste of the Loire at l’Aigle d’Or. With four separate menus to choose from, there’s a dish for every mood. For the more traditional diner, their Ridel menu is filled with classics, like freshly caught fish and Loire veal. For a more luxurious experience, their Aigles menu is packed full of high-end ingredients, from truffles and saffron to delicately pan-fried perch. Vegetarians are also well-catered for her on their menu Vegetal, offering a selection of dishes full of locally grown produce. The Discovery menu is perfect for adventurous types, where contemporary flavours and traditional ideas are thrown out the window, replaced by inventive flavour combinations and ingredients.

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L'Aigle d’Or, Best restaurants in the Loire

For more recommendations on the best restaurants in the Loire, give us a call on 020 7471 7760, or alternatively, view our Loire cycling holidays here.

Other posts you may like:

Food and wine in the Loire
A Loire Valley family bicycle trip
Wine Regions: Loire
Best Restaurants in Bordeaux

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