ANGELA BIRD'S

 

The
Vendée 

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN THE VENDÉE,

2. LA ROCHE, LES SABLES AND THE BAS-BOCAGE

Aizenay, Apremont, L'Aubonnière, Avrillé, Beaulieu-sous-La-Roche, Brem-sur-Mer, Brétignolles-sur-Mer, La Chaize-le-Vicomte, Coëx, Jard-sur-Mer, Maché, La Mothe-Achard, Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits, Nesmy, Olonne-sur-Mer, Palluau, Le Poiré-sur-Vie, Poiroux, La Roche-sur-Yon, Les Sables-d'Olonne,
St-Étienne-du-Bois, St-Révérend, Talmont-St-Hilaire.

 Key
Blue text = restaurant with view over water (sea, lake or river)
Red text = hyperlinks to relevant web pages

For some more reviews of restaurants in the Talmont/Les Sables area, visit Michael Julien's website

 


APREMONT
Hotel du Centre, opposite château (tel: 02 51 55 70 22)
Rather too many British voices to be heard at times, but the food can be excellent - particularly the mussels. You can eat outside on the terrace, or inside in the cool. At weekends it's best to book, as there are often weddings or other family parties.




no picture yet

 

APREMONT
Le Cabanon, along lakeside road, past the barrage (dam) (tel: 02 51 55 72 13)
Simple décor, but good position overlooking the sandy lake beach that is so popular with British visitors. Good-value menus at lunchtime and evening, with stuffed mussels and steak-&-chips, and simpler fare such as pizzas and pancakes.




Photo: Angela Bird

AUBIGNY
Le Bel’Arôme, 5 Rue St-Laurent (tel: 02 51 98 08 74).
An attractively decorated restaurant-pizzeria with an Italian flavour, serving good pizzas, pasta and other  dishes (takeaway pizzas also available). Set on a corner, just down from the church. Closed Mon all day, Sat lunch and Sun lunch.

 

 


Photo: Angela Bird

 

BELLEVILLE-SUR-VIE
Caffe Ristorante Pimento, HyperU, on southern edge of town
A sparse industrial-style decor for this trendy restaurant in the unlikely setting of the HyperU supermarket.   It’s hugely popular with local businessmen, so turn up early (noon), or be prepared for a wait. Plat du jour around 14 euros (2008); pizzas from 7 euros.

 


Photo: Angela Bird

LE CHATEAU D’OLONNE
Le Puits d’Enfer, 56 Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny - on coast road 6km SE of Les Sables d’Olonne (tel: 02 51 21 52 77)
Delightful, airy restaurant with sea views from its clifftop position (opposite the gully of the same name that produces spectacular water effects in stormy weather). Fans of the vanished Champ de Foire restaurant in Challans will be delighted to find that the Soreaus have brought their light, crisp flavours and signature fishy dishes with them. You can eat outside on a sheltered terrace, as well as in the modern interior. Easy parking opposite. Closed Sun evg, Mon all day, & Wed evg (July & Aug may be open 7/7).





Photo: Angela Bird

LE CHATEAU-D'OLONNE
Le Cayola, on D32B, 7km SE of Les Sables (tel: 02 51 22 01 01)
Superbly sophisticated restaurant on the top of the cliff, overlooking Cayola Bay, with trendy decking stretching out seawards between diners and the water. Though expensive - evening menus from 39 euros (2009) - the food is a dream, and the setting ultra-romantic - but you need to book some time ahead.
Obtained a Michelin star in 2007.
Closed Sun evening and Mon (except in June, July and August)

 

 


Photo: Angela Bird

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
Brasserie Le Clemenceau, 41 Rue Georges Clemenceau (tel: 02 51 37 10 20)
CHARLES HARRISS WRITES:
The Rivière brothers have the biggest-turnover brasserie in town. The standard of food is always good (it's where the locals eat), all suppliers are listed on the menu, and the seafood is excellent. Very lively atmosphere. Absolutely our favourite (and I insist on good food and value for money). Menus 110F-160F (2000). NB The tiger's head, in the restaurant's logo, is an allusion to the nickname of fiery WWI politician Georges Clemenceau: "le tigre". Open midday to midnight 7/7; closed 1 Jan, 1 May and 25 Dec.

 

 


Photo: St Charles website

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
Le Saint Charles, 38 Rue de Gaulle (tel: 02 51 47 71 37)
Delicious food, impeccably cooked and served by the Hermouet family, who - if you need help making your choice - speak excellent English. Menus, with jazz-themed names, at 132F, 159F and above, plus à la carte (2001). A couple of drawbacks: the irritating habit of giving ladies copies of the menu without prices; and the hard edges of the chairs - it can take a bit of time to get the circulation moving again after a convivial evening around the table. From the huge Place Napoléon, follow the nose of Napoleon's horse to find the street... Closed Sat lunchtime and Sun (though open for pre-booked groups Sun midday). Restaurant closed throughout August.

 
Photo: Bistrot du Boucher

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON
Bistrot du Boucher, 10 Rue de Verdun (tel: 02 51 09 90 42)
Steaks, poultry, fish all cooked in straightforward fashion at this franchise restaurant. The good-value lunchtime menu makes it a popular midday stop for office workers in La Roche – especially those from the nearby Conseil General (county council). Open lunch and evening 7/7.

 



Photo: Bistrot duPort website

LES SABLES-D'OLONNE
Bistrot du Port, 7 Quai Garnier - on fishing port (tel: 02 51 21 55 45)
Quite the most delicious mussels we have ever tasted; you can choose from four or five different ways (try the creamy, curry-flavoured mouclade), at around 9EEE (2008). Plenty of other dishes as well for those who don't like mussels. Closed Sun.



 


Photo: Angela Bird

LES SABLES-D'OLONNE
La Pilotine, 7 Promenade Georges-Clemenceau (tel: 02 51 22 25 25)
Discreetly located on the seafront, Philippe Pleuën’s restaurant is the place for reliably excellent meals (not surprising, as the patron/chef trained at Taillevent - among other prestigious restaurants - and is a certificated "disciple of Auguste Escoffier"). Weekday lunch menu 16€ (2009); other menus up to 46€. Closed Mon, & also Tues out of season.

 


Photo: Angela Bird

 

LES SABLES D'OLONNE
La Fleur des Mers, 5 Quai Guiné - on fishing port (tel: 02 51 95 18 10)
Good food served overlooking the fishing harbour. Best view from the tables on the higher level, up several steps. Menus 19 € - 32 € (2003).

 

 

 


Photo: Angela Bird

 

LES SABLES D'OLONNE
L’Affiche,  21 Quai Guiné - on fishing port (tel: 02 51 95 34 74)

Good quality, good value place on fishing harbour, but best to book as it’s small and popular.


LES SABLES (LA CHAUME)
Le Port, 24 Quai George V (tel: 02 51 32 07 52)
Good, unpretentious cooking, in this restaurant across the water from Les Sables, with lovely view over harbour entrance from first floor front. (If you sit in the first floor back, you only see a painted version, on the walls!) Closed Tues evening and all day Wed.

 


LES SABLES (LA CHAUME)
Le George V, 20 Quai George V (tel: 02 51 95 11 52)
Olivier Burban turns out some stylish dishes at this waterside restaurant. Ask for a table by the window for a lovely view over the entrance to the fishing harbour and marina. Almost next to Le Port (see above).

 

LES SABLES (LA CHAUME)
Loulou Panoramique, 19 Route Bleue, La Chaume (tel: 02 51 21 32 32)
Behind its rather unprepossessing exterior, Loulou offers fantastic panoramic views over the sea to accompany the delicious dishes created by Jean-Pierre Houga - many of them based on the excellent, local seafood. Menus from 25€ (weekday lunch, otherwise from 41€. (2009) (Follow the road along the quayside at La Chaume, then round to the right, along the cliff road, almost to the end - 2km in all - and the restaurant is on the left.) Closed Sun evg, Mon evg and Thurs evg out of season; closed all day Monday during summer season.

 

Photo: Angela Bird

STE-FLAIVE-DES-LOUPS
La Belle Aventure, Les Rochettes, Route de Nieul-le-Dolent (tel: 02 51 34 03 65)
Copious helpings for diners from Myriam and Daniel Remigereau, in a peaceful setting. Also a separate salad menu, for lighter eating. Menus from 17.50€ (in 2009).

 

 

 No picture available

TALMONT-ST-HILAIRE
Le Cottage, 60 Avenue de Luçon (tel: 02 51 96 04 61)
EDWIN APPS WRITES:
We usually eat at this restaurant on the main road on the way back from Les Sables. It is excellent, not expensive and has a nice, welcoming atmosphere.

 

   © Angela Bird...and friends

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