Where to eat out in... Dor­dogne

Af­ter ex­plor­ing the area’s vil­lages, châteaux and caves, make sure to en­joy the hearty cui­sine, says Peter Ste­wart

France - - Classic Cuisine -

1 Le 4

Lo­cated just ten min­utes’ drive from the new Las­caux 4 cave dis­cov­ery cen­tre in Mon­tignac, Le 4 has cre­ated a win­ning for­mula of tasty, sea­sonal dishes and im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice. The restau­rant oc­cu­pies a con­verted barn and fea­tures large stone walls, wooden beams, and plenty of space for a meal with friends or fam­ily.

The chef, Jean-bernard Lavaud, makes ev­ery­one feel wel­come, as he leaves the kitchen and speaks to guests as they ar­rive. His con­cise menu has four choices of starters, mains and desserts, with the em­pha­sis on lo­cally sourced pro­duce and re­gional spe­cial­i­ties.

I ar­rived for lunch and, be­ing a non-meat eater, opted for a melt-in-the-mouth black truf­fle and egg omelette served with a toasted po­lenta square and a bed of green salad. My com­pan­ions had the poached quail, which they all agreed was beau­ti­fully ten­der and moist.

The por­tions were just right for lunch and al­lowed room for dessert. As the har­vest sea­son was in full swing, it seemed ap­pro­pri­ate to plump for the tarte aux pommes, which was suit­ably rich with­out be­ing too sweet.

Ser­vice was friendly and re­laxed, and we never had the feel­ing of be­ing rushed. Tes­ta­ment to Le 4’s pop­u­lar­ity was the sight of ta­bles full of lo­cal work­ers en­joy­ing dishes that were fresh and burst­ing with flavour.

Open Tues-sun for lunch, Wed-sun for din­ner Apr-oct; Wed-sun for lunch Nov-mar. Menus from €29. La Coste, 24290 Mon­tignac Tel: (Fr) 5 53 51 86 92

2 La Ferme Saint-louis

Squir­relled away among me­dieval stone houses on a pic­turesque square in the town of Périgueux, La Ferme Saint-louis is proud of us­ing prod­ucts sourced ex­clu­sively from the Nou­velle-aquitaine re­gion.

The restau­rant is run by chef Thierry Pra­long and his wife Agnès, who takes care of front of house. The cou­ple have cre­ated a home from home, with ex­posed stone walls, low ceil­ings, a large fire­place and space for just 20 din­ers, adding a real feel­ing of in­ti­macy to the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

I ate here on a chilly even­ing in the au­tumn, when the menu fea­tured such heart-warm­ing lo­cal dishes as calves’ sweet­breads, veal ten­der­loin in a chicory sauce, and foie gras soaked in sweet spices and wine from the Péchar­mant ap­pel­la­tion, just north of Berg­erac.

As a pescatar­ian,

I was more than con­tent with the sea bass fil­let, which had been landed 14 hours ear­lier in the Bassin d’ar­ca­chon, and was cooked to per­fec­tion. A choco­late fon­dant dessert with a rum raisin cen­tre was the per­fect way to round off my meal.

Thanks to the cosy set­ting and smooth ser­vice, I felt com­pletely re­laxed in the heart of Périgueux and could hardly drag my­self away. Dur­ing the sum­mer, you can dine al­fresco on the cute ter­rasse, which looks on to the town’s nar­row, wind­ing streets.

Open Tues–sat for lunch and din­ner. Menus from €28. 2 Rue Saint-louis, 24000 Périgueux Tel: (Fr) 5 53 53 82 77

3 L’al­abrena

This bistro is a ten-minute walk from the honey-hued fa­cades of Sar­lat-laCanéda’s charm­ing old town and keeps lo­cals com­ing back thanks to its well-priced dishes, many of which draw on re­gional recipes. L’al­abrena (the Oc­c­i­tan word for the newt-like sala­man­der, the em­blem of Sar­lat) has a taste­ful, mod­ern decor with soft grey walls, pol­ished wooden ta­bles and par­quet floor­ing. The restau­rant opened in spring last year when owner and head chef François Dal­leau moved from the South of France. I chose duo de pois­son, pan-fried fil­lets of cod and John Dory made all the more de­li­cious thanks to the but­ter­nut squash and sweet potato ac­com­pa­ni­ment. For dessert, I had a deca­dent choco­late souf­flé, topped with splashes of choco­late sauce and a sweet rasp­berry coulis.

On my visit, the meat op­tions in­cluded fil­let of beef topped with a pan-fried foie gras par­cel, rab­bit roulade fin­ished with lay­ers of cour­gettes, and a rab­bit heart stew.

The lo­ca­tion slightly beyond Sar­lat’s tourist-filled cen­tre means that most of the din­ers are lo­cals, but L’al­abrena is worth track­ing down for an au­then­tic taste of Dor­dogne served with a smile.

Open daily for lunch, Tues-sat for din­ner. Open on Sun­day for din­ner for groups book­ing in ad­vance. Menus from €19.50. 14 Rue Gabriel Tarde, 24200 Sar­lat-la-canéda Tel: (Fr) 5 53 29 12 60

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