The big news in the Basque Country this summer is that Paris-based Béarnais chef Yves Camdeborde and Ramuntxo Courdé, who runs one of my all-time favorite Basque Country addresses, Arrantzaleak in Ciboure, just across the river, have taken over a long-running but never very good brasserie in the center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and turned it into a seriously good restaurant. So far they haven’t clarified the establishment’s confusing three sections and three names—La Txalupa, Le Suisse and Le Madrid—but the menu and prices are now the same throughout.
And although the old decor may not have changed, the menu sure has, with a spectacular shift to first-rate quality and outstanding southwestern French cooking. Start with an assortment of charcuterie—andouille and boudin made by Yves Camdeborde’s charcutier brother Philippe in Pau, plus some superb jambon de Bayonne from Eric Ospital. Then take your choice among such dishes as sautéed squid with white beans and preserved lemon, roasted pork belly with snow peas, grilled sole and one of the best millefeuilles in France. Great list of local wines, and terrific people-watching, too, with a terrace facing the port.
Place des Corsaires, 05.59.51.85.52. €45, wine starting at €18. Prices are approximate, per person without wine.
Originally published in the July/August 2012 issue of France Today
Leave a reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *