Eating & Drinking

Posted by adminROCH

There are many restaurants dotted around the countryside and in the town of Limoux.  Some are better than others and most offer quite simple food.  Our favorites are:

La Tantina in Limoux’s Place de la République, where an excellent lunch will cost you no more than 14€ lovingly produced by Robert and his team, with a creativity that is quite a surprise and definitely not the norm.  For this little town it is a triumph and simply not to be missed.

La Grande Bouffe in Carcassonne. We had been in the Aude for going on a year and had not found it.  It’s the national dish don’t forget, so everyone’s doing it, but that don’t mean a thing! And then I did find it. Not purely by chance, because I’d been looking, but it was unexpected and was all the more satisfying: a better steak than you can dream of eating. From the outside the place is typical enough to look at… a bistro that sits off the beaten track, not far from the hustle and bustle of Carcassonne’s train station, right opposite the Canal du Midi.  Quite unpretentious and very modest with an eclectic mix of decor typical in this corner of France. But all cacophony fades when you first see the fire. It isn’t dead and centre like some altar and as soon as you appreciate the simplicity of the place and how purposefully it quietly supports the role of the fire, you understand the point of the restaurant. It is of course all about steak.

We arrived quite early by French standards and the fire crackled over its silence, like calm water that will eventually ripple from the ebb and flow of activity. It’s then that you realize you’re in someone’s home more than their restaurant. This is a place run by two people who respect their produce and celebrate its quality by paying it the complement of serving it justly grilled and correctly seasoned. Nothing more, nothing less.

The couple work quietly and efficiently and it’s immediately obvious they’re more than just business partners… the warmth of their union adds to the atmosphere.  She is Spanish, he is French. Together they offer up gloriously fantastic meat. They run the place without help. He deftly butchers the meat, while manning the wood-fired grill. He weighs it before laying it over the blistering coals that have fallen through the fire grate on to the hearth below. It is a spectacle indeed, that is as impressive as it is mesmerizing.

Considering all that she must do single-handedly, she seems to glide effortlessly about the room, delivering people and plates, carafes and steaks. There’s no rush and there’s no fuss. She is seen but not heard… until that is you engage her in a discussion about beef. Here the passion in the Spanish blood stirs as she speaks without pause on the provenance, the quality and the superiority of their beef. It’s all from one of two farms, she tells me, one in Kansas and the other in Nevada. Entendu! This is US beef and it’s incredible! And considering the price – 23.50€ for a 14.1oz (wet weight) perfectly cooked sirloin of faux filet steak or 25€ for the rib eye or entrecôte of the same size, this is also incredible value and further testament of commitment to their craft. 

And if you choose the house red – a worthy wingman from Corbiéres, punching well above its weight at about 10€ for a litre – you’ll get out for two for just about 60€. This is a tour de force: it’s the beat to a great track: you’re in for a treat here.  There’s simply nothing to match the quality of this meat… and that my friends is all I have to say about that! Google to find this place, it makes the find all the more personal! But if you can’t guess where it is, email us and we’ll give you details.