Marseille - City of Culture
This is the guide in English for all things about Marseille.
Tips - Traditions - Restaurants - Bars and cafés - Markets
Want to find out about food and drink in Marseille? Do you want to know where to get some good food in Marseille, traditional Marseillaise food, vegetarian food, the best fish soup, the best food market? Listed below are a few of our personal favourites.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for something to do before or after your meal, why not look at our "what to do in Marseille" page.
Two important tips when eating in restaurants:
A strong alcoholic, aniseed flavoured drink served with water. Made in Marseille. Probably the one most well known in Britain is Pernod. Here in Marseille there are many producers so you can compare and contrast, if you have the stamina. It is drunk mostly as an aperitif, best enjoyed in the sunshine.
Marseille's most famous dish. Bouillabaisse is a two course meal: fish soup followed by the fish that was used to make the soup. The number and type of fish vary according to the chef and what's available. Beware of cheap imitations.
Small hard biscuits shaped like little boats and often flavoured with orange. They are traditionally eaten after the candlemas procession on 2 February but are available all year.
Pieds et paquets
Roughly translated, tripe and trotters - not for the faint hearted, but we encourage you to give them a try. You'll find them in any restaurant that claims to do traditional local food.
The Vieux Port
The main tourist restaurant area is the Vieux Port and the squares behind it. The restaurants are of varying quality. We have had good meals and bad. Some we think worth a try are:
12 Quai du Port - traditional white table cloth establishment, good bouillabaisse, a bit pricey.
42 Quai du Port - good traditional fare, fish of course.
La Chope d'Or
32 Quai de Port - good moules frites and the plat du jour that we tried was very tasty.
98 Quai du Port - North African, couscous, tajine etc.
Chez Madie les Galinettes
Chez Madie, 138 Quai du Port, was recommended by a vegetarian friend, though it's not a veggie restaurant. We've tried it ourselves too and yes, it's good.
Just off the Vieux Port
Le 9.7.4 Restaurant and Tapas Bar
36 Rue Sainte Francoise, in the Panier area. If you're looking for something a bit spicy this is the place for you. It specailises in Reunionais, Caribbean, Comorian and Madagascan food and drink. As well as eating well you can buy some seriously spicy sauces and flavoured rums here. It's comfortable, it's not expensive and we like it a lot.
22 Rue Sainte, behind Quai de Rive Neuf, running parallel to it. This is a reasonably priced restaurant with an imaginative menu and well prepared food. The atmosphere is cosy and friendly. It makes a very pleasant change from the standard fare in the Vieux Port area.
27 Cours Estienne d'Orves - behind the Quai de Rive Neuf, a good, varied menu.
2 Rue de la Republique - where it meets the Vieux Port. A Tunisian restaurant that serves fine couscous and sweets. Eat inside away from the traffic and admire the blue tiles and decor- no need to cross the Mediterranean for good North African food.
52 Rue Fourmiguier - behind the Théâtre Criée. A little haven where the chef bases his food on what's available on the market and mediterranean traditions. Fresh and inventive.
A bit further afield
This restaurant is actually the restaurant for the Hotel Pullman Palm Beach in Marseille (200 Corniche Kennedy), but don't let that put you off. La Réserve offers a unique view, outstanding service and excellent food - the lunch time menu is also particularly good value for money.
La Folle Epoque
10 Place Felix Baret, is in the square in front of the Préfecture. They do the best hot chocolate in town and their meals are good too.
96 rue Grignan (if you walk up the steps from Cours Estienne D'Orves, rue Grignan is after rue Sainte, turn right and it's on your right). A small white table cloth restaurant, good food. They describe themselves as semi gastronomic. We like it.
La Table a Deniz
63 rue Sainte (the street that runs parallel to Cours Estienne D'Orves). Provides good food at reasonable prices (19€ for three courses in the evening) with a welcoming and attentive host. It's open lunchtime Monday to Friday and Friday and Saturday evening.
Notre Dame du Mont
The area around Notre Dame du Mont (metro 2) and Cours Julien is teaming with bars and restaurants. You can either wander around and try the one that takes your fancy or look at this personal guide, written by Kim Sapriel, who lives there. You can download it from here.
Needless to say we haven't tried them all but here are a couple that we like.
Les Pieds dans le Plat
7 Rue Pastoret, a good selection of well prepared food served in a friendly atmosphere. It has a small courtyard at the back so you can eat outside away from Cours Julien if you wish.
Le Goût des Choses
4 Place Notre Dame du Mont. This is a chef who takes care in the preparation and presentation of his food. Service is attentive and friendly and we have eaten well here. Traditional French food often with a little twist
Brasserie Le Massena Café
The Cantini Fountain is surrounded by places to eat. Most are acceptable but we'd definitely recommend the Massena Café. The service is friendly and the menu is varied, including sea food when in season.
The Cezar on the opposite side of the roundabout, is a cinema that shows films in VO (that's the original language, usually with French sub titles). Many of the films are US or English so you don't need to test your French to see the latest movies.
Avenue du Prado
60 Avenue du Prado, between Castellane and Perier metro stops. This is a Japanese restaurant with style. In a large former car salesroom you can watch your food being prepared. Despite its size it's not too noisy, the food is good and service friendly. It has been criticised for not having a menu in English but you cant have everything.
At 70 Avenue de Mazargues, close to the Vélodrome football stadium, Emilios is a particular favourite of ours. It's a small and welcoming Italian restaurant with good food and a deli. Metro Rond Point du Prado, bus 23, bus stop Grand Saint Giniez.
If you fancy splashing out a bit try this restaurant which is located in the le Corbusier Building (Bus 21 stop Michelet Le Corbusier). It's on the third floor (which is actually the sixth because the appartments are duplex). The view is tremendous and the food is good too.
The Cup of Tea
If you've come over all English and you fancy a nice cup of tea, try "The Cup of Tea", 1 rue Caisserie, in the Panier behind the Quai du Port. It's a cosy tea room and bookshop with a range of teas for you to try.
Marseille's main commercial fish market moved to Saumaty in 1976. You can still buy fresh fish at the small daily fish market on the Vieux Port (Quai des Belges). Open most mornings (from about 8.00 am).
Marché des Capuchins
Metro line 2 Noailles, Monday to Saturday all day. It is mostly a food market - fruit, vegetables, fish, spices and great olives. You can shop in Marseille but with a North African atmosphere. A firm favourite.
Notre Dame du Mont Market
If you prefer organic (bio) food try Notre Dame du Mont market, Cours Julien (metro line 2) on Wednesdays 8.00 am to 1.00 pm. Good market. Good atmosphere.
Plan de Cuques Market
Our "out of town favourite" is the Plan de Cuques market (metro line 1 to La Rose then bus 142,143) Saturday 8.00 am to 1.00 pm. Here you'll find a food market and a clothes market. It's big, its varied and it is well worth a visit.