Marvellous Marsielle in the sunny south of France is so far removed from it’s Parisian sister that you could be convinced they were different countries. While the food retains its French charm, there’s something about the crisp salty sea air that makes Marsielle far more relaxing to me than the hustle of the world’s most visited city.
My one piece of advice for Marsielle is to go forth and explore, and avoid eating at any of the restaurants along the port (they’re all tourist traps). If you’re going to try a bouillabaisse, go fine dining quality (like Chez Michel) and have the authentic experience rather than find yourself paying for an overpriced bowl of watery soup.
Avoid the food near the port altogether and walk 200m up the road to Les Echevins instead for impeccable service and the brilliant food that Marseille is famous for! I was determined to find a place to redeem Marseille for me after experiencing an offensively horrific bouillabaisse at Les Mets De La Mer; luckily, Les Echevins serve me some of the best muscles I’ve ever tasted anywhere in the world. The garlic herb sauce was so good I mopped the plate clean with the glorious bread that came with it, and at only €7 a plate, trust me, you’ll be craving a second one!
Les Halles de la Major
I stumbled across this gem of a food hall while wandering along the port. Even if you don’t stop to eat anything, you must check out the beautiful range of meat, seafood and fresh produce on offer, which can be cooked fresh and enjoyed with a particularly picturesque view.
L’Esperantine de Marsielle
If you think chocolate and olive oil don’t mix, think again. Even if you can’t be convinced in concept, a sample from one their friendly staff will change your mind as it’s like nothing you’ve eaten before, it tastes amazing (particularly the ones with the orange inside). Bliss!
I stopped for lunch here when I realised the place was full of local business people instead of tourists (always a good prognostic indicator in France!). The salmon and burrata salad was absolutely wonderful, as was the robust double espresso and the bread basket which included my favourite French style olive bread. This is one of the few affordable but very tasty places in Marseille near the port, and I’d definitely go back.
Similar in concept to places like Pret a Manger in London, these guys specialise in fresh and healthy food on the run, perfect for travel!