Toinou – Les Fruits de Mer!
My eating in Marseille was a focused activity, based mainly on seafood. Some of my eating adventures are pictured here, and I have to say that my two favorite restaurants – both researched, in fact, long before my trip – during my 7-day stay were Toinou (4 meals) and La Boîte à Sardine (only 1 meal, regrettably). Toinou is part self-service, part place-your-order-at-the-counter, then you find a place at your table and wait for your order to arrive. My favorite thing there was their anchoïade (anchovy spread) spread on the mini-baguettes that you grab on the way to the order counter. Some of my selections are shown below.
Toinou – the sidewalk fish display
Toinou – sea bass with butter and fried potatoes
Toinou – shrimp with aioli on the side
Toinou – half a Breton lobster
Toinou – assorted oysters
La Boîte à Sardine, funky decor and delicious lunch
At the top of La Canebiere, and across the street from the Eglise des Reformes, is the slightly kitschy but fun La Boîte à Sardine (The Sardine Can), open on most days only for lunch, and serving exceptionally fresh fish. The menu is hand-written on a wooden box carried from table to table by the waiter.
Lunch at La Boîte à Sardine, catfish, potatoes, eggplant
Mutton couscous at Ghomrassen, near St. Charles train station.
The couscous at Ghomrassen was good, but a truly superb couscous was sadly lacking on this trip. I had also misplaced my list of recommended restaurants that served it.
A visit to Marseille also demands a tour of the Noailles district, the market area and center for imported exotic spices and foodstuffs. In one shop I was so bewildered by the array of aromatic ingredients that I went into sensory shock. I settled, however, for possibly the best slice of halvah I’d ever eaten.
My final splurge, after spending some time at a cafe next to the Catalans Beach, was the famous Marseille bouillabaisse, the local fish stew requiring 5 different Mediterranean fish. I’d read that the dish is skyrocketing in price because the required fish are no longer plentiful; I paid 60 Euros (about $60) for my lunch at Chez Fonfon, serving one of the most well-known local renditions.
The famous Marseille bouillabaisse, at Chez Fonfon
Chez Fonfon is on the far left, in the picturesque Vallon des Auffes
Finally, one of my favorite things in the world, moules-frites (steamed mussels with mariniere sauce, served with fries)