Andrés in La Rochelle is by far and away our most favourite restaurant
in the Charente Maritime. Found at the entrance to the old port, it is
easy to find and is the centre of all the best restaurants in La Rochelle –
our theory is the further away from this point you get along the harbour, the further you get away from top class seafood ! If you want moules
frites then feel free to choose anyone of the hundreds of seasonal restaurants that pop up as soon as the sun starts to shine, but if like
us you love seafood and want top quality and freshness served with professional and friendly staff then Andrés is a great choice for all the family.
t is set on a pedestrianised cobbled square centred on a large anchor (which the children love to play on inbetween courses) We love
to sit on the terrace in summer and watch the world go by as we tuck into our Gillardeau oysters (grown just down the road and
considered the best in the world )
There is a very relaxed atmosphere, high noise levels and informal table settings. High chairs can be provided and we have always
found the staff to be extremely friendly and welcoming towards our children (and we have been taking them since they were born) Our
boys particularly enjoy the ‘space dust’ sprinkled on the ice cream which pops in their mouths.
Considering the location we have always found it excellent value. You are of course sitting in a central position in the third most visited cities in France with over 3 million visitors each year – so yes – you will pay a bit more for the location than sitting in a back street café. However they do a superb three course 18€ lunch menu which is delicious and excellent value. What we love most, apart from the food and location is they do a delicious ‘grown up’ childrens menu which incorporates a beautifully cooked piece of fish in a divine butter sauce and they will bring crayons and colouring pages for the little ones and also (if you sit inside) sit you next to the live lobster tank which will help keep the little ones amused whilst you dig into your own cooked lobster or crab !
Apart from the superb ‘fruits de mer’ platters and world renowned Gillardeau oysters they also do an amazing fish soup which is a complete meal in itself being served with the traditional croutons, grated cheese and rouille (named for it’s ‘rust’ colour) a spicy (chilli)
garlic sauce that gives a great kick to the already hot and tasty soup – perfect for a winters day or a meal in itself if you don’t have time for more courses and at just 9€50 for a massive tureen full – can’t be beat for value. Long tables, great for family meals, bustling and good noise levels (so no one hears when the toddlers shout a bit too loudly !
We always recommend a full day out to take in the sights of La Rochelle. With an early start, visit the aquarium first to miss the queues in summer then take the electric boat taxi over the harbour (fun for the kids and costs about 70cents for adults) which drops you off right at the tour de la chaine next to Andrés. Enjoy a delicious seafood meal – taking it in turns between courses to let the children play on the anchor then stroll along the promenade under the trees and browse the market stalls and watch the street entertainers making your way through the town. In the heat of the sun you can walk protected by the ancient overhanging buildings (good if it rains too !) window shopping (or buying !) in the hundreds of independent stores.
After your stroll around the shops, having walked off your lunch then you
must stop at Ernests le glacier – homemade ice creams and sorbets in
every imaginable flavour – choose just a cone or a bucket full, the kids
won’t forgive you if you don’t !
To make it a full day out (and perhaps to kill two birds…) you can then take
a walk along the city walls to the town beach. Always bustling and with
several cafés from which to enjoy an afternoon coffee, the children will get
a few hours playing in the sand and jumping the wave if the tide is in (if
not they can hunt for crabs and tiddlers in the rock pools) whilst you sit
and sun yourself gazing at the boats sailing in and out of the harbour.
A perfect day
content by Wendy Blakeman