French Restaurant Review: Auberge de la Source, Calvados

French Restaurant Review: Auberge de la Source, Calvados

Using local ingredients from the abundent Norman countryside, chef Kevin Legoy delights the sense at the gastronomic restaurant Auberge de la Source.

I’ve been a fan of L’Auberge de la Source in the lush green Norman countryside around Barneville-la-Bertran, just ten minutes’ drive inland from Honfleur, ever since I first stayed here almost ten years ago. This intimate 18-room hotel in beautifully restored red-brick farm buildings is exactly the type of hotel one dreams of finding while travelling in France – a welcoming, unpretentious, good-value place of real charm and quality.

With the recent arrival of chef Kevin Legoy, the hotel’s restaurant has become a sort of in-the-know address for many Parisians who have second homes in the area, as well as discerning locals from Le Havre and Honfleur.

Legoy is a native of the region, which explains his superb mastery of Norman produce, including everything from apples and cider to some of the best cheeses in France, locally landed seafood, fine fowl, excellent beef and first-rate vegetables and herbs. Legoy worked at the Ritz in Paris for several years, which explains the precision of his cooking and his beautifully made sauces. Eager to return to Normandy, he found a job in the kitchens of the storied Ferme Saint-Siméon, once a simple tavern frequented by painters such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, and now a luxury auberge.

© Auberge de la Source

“What I really wanted to do was cook good country food like you might eat if you were invited to dinner at the home of someone who lives nearby,” he says, explaining his decision to move to L’Auberge de la Source. “I wanted to make everything to order using the best seasonal produce,” he adds, which accounts for the short, regularly-changing menu.

Staying here for the weekend as a guest at nearby wedding, I invited friends from Deauville and Trouville to join me for dinner. They groused about the 20-minute drive, but I assured them it would be worth it. We all chose the €56 discovery menu, which began with mackerel tartare with horseradish, a lovely light dish, followed by trout with baby peas in an apple-vinegar-spiked beurre blanc, another beautifully made dish with a subtle regional signature.

A main course of braised beef shoulder with tomatoes, basil and puffed rice delighted everyone and was followed by warm Camembert with green apple. An apple tart flamed with Calvados at the table concluded this excellent meal, and it was gratifying to hear the enthusiastic compliments my friends paid to the chef when he stopped by our table while we were having coffee.

L’Auberge de la Source, Chemin du Moulin, Barneville-la-Bertran, Tel. +33 02 31 89 25 02,

Lunch menu €42, dinner menu €56, average à la carte €65.

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : The garden at Auberge de la Source © La Source

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Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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