Tourist restaurants: embrace or avoid?

I do my very best to avoid places that scream “tourist” for several reasons. Mostly because I think prices will always be more expensive than average when you can get a similar quality elsewhere.

Unfortunately I’m normally right and equally as unfortunate, they’re always on the best squares or have the best views in town! It’s a little sacrifice I make as I walk past <insert monument> to the lesser known cafe or restaurant on the side street.


Le Cafe Francais beautifully captured by @littlelottieloves

Not last week though… I had some visitors to Bordeaux who treated me to lunch and so of course they picked. With delight they whisked me off to the cathedral square; Pey Berland to eat at “Le Cafe Francais” (read: begrudgingly they dragged me to the number 1 tourist spot in town, I mean even the name makes me cringe…) which sits with prime view of the gothic Cathedral Saint Andre in the centre of picturesque Bordeaux.

We were greeted in English by a waiter in a waistcoat and sat down on the terrace at a table dressed in white tablecloths… (Deep breath, they’re treating you remember…) We kept things easy, all selecting the “Formule du Midi”, a 3-course fixed lunch menu.

When the first dish came out I definitely remember thinking it looked a bit weird… I took my first bite and… it’s time to admit to you all… It was actually very good. “Delicious” may have been the very word I used.

The main course, was too, excellently cooked and the portions were very generous. Then came dessert, the same high quality, good taste and large size (tourist-size perhaps!) In fact, it was probably one of the best crème brûlées I’ve had in a long time.

Maybe these restaurants aren’t always full just because of the view they offer and easiness of finding them… Maybe they all have this secret (not-so-secret) menu of yummy food! I was right in believing that the price wasn’t cheap, around €20 for the 3-course menu, but we were all very satisfied (& slipping into afternoon food comas) plus we’d enjoyed the ambiance of a central location with the imposing cathedral next to us…

I admit, I’ve learnt from my mistakes. That’s not to say I’ll be running back to all the central spots and embracing my touristy side but I won’t be so snobby and walk straight past them.


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