No matter if you arrive early in the morning in Tours, or if you just have a bit of time before catching your train ... if it's a cold winter's day or sunny midsummer ... there's always an excuse to visit the Briocherie, a local institution. A brioche is a delicious type of French pastry, and this legendary spot has stood for more than fifty years. While the decor is decidedly dated, the food is just as delicious as it's always been!
Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon and night, the Lapin qui Fume (The Smoking Rabbit haha!) is really a typical French restaurant: from the décor to the delicious dishes served there, everything is done with France in mind, like its delicious dishes with rabbit, duck or beef. Original salads and hearty entrees with generous portions alternate between traditional and innovative. The menu is not very long, and it's on chalkboards that hang on the restaurant's walls, which are decorated with old posters that give the small place a slight "bistro" feeling. If you're going to go at night, it may be best to have a reservation, and to have around 15 euros for a main course and drink. More or less. (Sorry for not having taken photos of the dishes, I forgot the camera!).
If you want to have something in one of the bars in the Jean Jaurès Plaza, or have something to eat, it's here: the Brasserie de l'Univers which offers traditional dishes typical of this type of bar-restaurant (meat with potatoes, large salads, croque -monsieur), they offer some seafood as well, and the dish of the day costs less than 10 euros, and the fixed menu about 15 ... Drinks and food at regular prices. Why here then? For the atmosphere and décor of the inside rooms (yes, if you're looking for a terrace, this is nothing special): A giant glass dome of the nineteenth century, offers party scenes and popular mementos above a room full of leather armchairs, solid wood tables, lit up by lamps in the same color
The small "salon de thé", which offers more than tea, is hidden on a street with little traffic in the heart of Tours. With modern colors and pleasant and somewhat dated dishes that adds a "grandmother's house" feel, Les Gourmands has various teas, homemade cakes, and also at noon salads, quiches and soups. All this for a very reasonable price ... And it is known that tranquility and quality are priceless! Yes, closes at 6pm, it's a place to snack or eat something on the way to visit the Old Town and other areas of the city!
Although not typical cuisine of Tours, Mamie Bigoude is worth giving a try. Crêpes are usually typical of the French area of Bretagne (Brittany), but one can find crêperies in any French city. What makes Bigoude Mamie so special, apart from the fact that the crepes are delicious and well priced, is the decoration of the place, decorated as if it were part of a house, with colors that will brighten even gray days! The restaurant is 2 minutes from Vieux Tours, Old Town, and is open every day, noon until night. Enjoy!
I've been here a couple of times, and it's a good spot to enjoy a huge hot chocolate, sitting comfortably in an armchair, and watching the street through the window. The "water walls" still help to create a calm environment, but recently it has changed from something relaxed and sophisticated, to crazy and lively, with the addition of a karaoke bar. Young and old alike are here, singing French and international hits. You can still enjoy a coffee or a nice dinner (good main courses for 10 euros, and a selection of ice creams), though.
A handy place for anyone visiting the Old Town. Here you'll find all kinds of pasta with different sauces and salads. Open for lunch and dinner, it offers reasonably priced menus: for less than 10 euros, you can enjoy a big salad, dessert and drink, or a pasta dish, dessert and drink. It has a friendly atmosphere and good location.
Asian cuisine, a short walk from the station, in a friendly, family-run environment. The staff are charming, the food is good and reasonably priced, and there's a big variety of vegetarian dishes and delicious cocktails.
The Cabane de Romulus is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Tours (not that there are many hahaha). Located in the heart of the historical city center, just a 1 minute walk from the famous Plaza Plumereau, the restaurant is in a house from the 15th century ... Now just for that, it's worth having a look! With a small, quiet, terrace and two large spaces within the house, with impressive vaulted ceilings, the design is something modern but not over the top, and the hearty menu: obviously many pizzas (about 20 different options), but also meats, hearty salads, pasta and pasta gratin. You should expect to pay between 7 and 10 euros for a medium pizza, and just over 10 for the large, the desserts are at least 6 euros, meats between 15 to 20, pasta around 12/15 euros .. Now I went back to eat there months later, and I was seduced by the lunch special: for 12.50 you get a medium pizza (which really is not median, with 28cm in diameter!) a pasta gratin or regular pasta, and dessert. Among the desserts to choose from are: chocolate mousse, ice cream, tiramisu and other normal treats you'll find at any good restaurant! Obviously you eat really well, enjoying both the environment and the food! Bon Appetito!
There are plenty of creperies in Tours, but Bigouden is the one that stands out for me, in terms of both quality and value. In the corner of Plumereau Square in the old town, it's not too big, but it's nice. There are some tables on the terrace, so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the old town, and in winter the interior rooms, with ancient stone walls, allow you to escape the cold. The prices are reasonable, with savoury crepes between 3 and 8 euros and sweet crepes from 2.60, and you can enjoy some of the traditional local cider as an accompaniment!
I had the opportunity to go for dinner here, and it proved to be a great surprise. The setting is a typical Irish pub (or at least, what is considered a typical Irish pub in France). It has draft beer, wooden settings, and a surprisingly diverse menu including pizza, pasta, and various cuts of meat served with chips or vegetables. You can eat well for about 11 euros! The beer selection is also great, too, as you'd expect in a pub.
This is on the Rue du Change, one minute from the Plaza Plumereau. For several months the chef has operated a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious pizza, and there's a pleasant summer terrace where you can sit and relax. The menu is wonderful: besides the classic pizzas, there are more original options like chicken curry pizza, one of my favourites! There's a different special every day, and there are salads available, too. A medium pizza costs between 10 and 15 euros, and you can also order online for delivery. Bon appetit!
If it hadn't been recommended to me, I might not have entered - the decor is a bit too trendy for my tastes, with lots of black, and a menu filled with "joke" names. But I'd heard good things about it, so I decided to leave my prejudices at the door. A good decision! The menu offers a wide selection of starters, main courses, and desserts, with more than twenty possible combinations. The dishes are amazingly well-presented, and very original. Refined but abundant. I tried the salmon, which was just divine, and the goat cheese rolls. Not to mention the amazing chocolate dessert! From Monday to Friday, there is a set menu with 15 euros for lunch, and 25 for dinner. But keep an eye on your budget if you're going at the weekend, or you're ordering separate dishes - things can pile up quickly!
The Buffet de la Gare is somewhat elusive: located right inside the Tours Train Station, with white plastic tables, and the noise from the trains. Behind the glass doors, there are more tables, isolated from the noise but not much prettier. What I advise: pass this space to enter the same bar-restaurant, which is a bright, quiet space with red tablecloths and Pa'el wine glasses, and bar tables with comfortable armchairs. On the menu: traditional like a "brasserie" with some more variety: including the typical meat dishes and fries, but also huge salads, croque-monsieur and other snacks, desserts, ice cream, ... all offered at a reasonable price. The perfect place to wait for your train or have a drink after a long journey!
If you want to eat Lebanese food, you have 2 options in Tours: The Bekaa, and Beirut, both located on Rue Colbert, the street that goes from the Cathedral to Rue Nacional. Each of these restaurants have their good points. The Bekaa has the advantage of being better with space and décor: it's in a large room, where hanging fabrics give it an oriental touch, with sabers, and crystal lights. You can be at ease to choose among the many dishes that the place offers. Again you have two options: choose a dish a la carte, or choose a lunchtime menu or tasting menu to discover various types of Lebanese delicacies in small quantities (but it's a small amount of hummus, plus a small amount of salad, plus a small amount of whatever else and it's a hearty dish!). The hot or cold "mezzes" dishes give you a choice of eating vegetarian or carnivorous dishes from 10 euros (lunch menu) to about 20-odd euros for the tasting menu, which has more range for the gourmands. For drinks there's also a choice between traditional Lebanese drinks and European beverages. The only thing is that the waiter seemed like he was in a hurry when the room was a bit crowded, which is normal for that time. That's probably the only thing that dampened our time a little bit before enjoying delicious dishes! Enjoy!
The restaurant Fiesta Latina, which should actually be called Brasilian Party, is in the center of Tours. With spacious rooms, both convenient group meals (up to 60 people), and for dinner with just 2 to 4 people. Obviously a relaxing atmosphere isn't the biggest feature: there's music, sometimes live, to set the mood for dinner and dancing afterwards if people are up for it. Although it might seem fictional or too "cliché", the waiters wear colorful clothes, to serve the roasted meat they slice it using their swords. A nice touch which does not detract from the deliciouness of the dishes. The budget is at least 20/25 euros, in a guaranteed great environment, especially on weekends!
I discovered after trying the rich flavors of the French Coffee Shop that it is a franchise. Well, actually, what do I care if it is as long as its good? The franchise, created by some Frenchmen ve had discovered the American Starbucks after a stay in the U.S., decided to create their own brand, adapted to French tastes. For me, I'm a fan of tea and hot chocolate (unfortunately I hate coffee so I can not comment on their coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, etc!) But it is a hit! Whether medium or large, you can get Viennese chocolate or chocolate-nutella (chocolate milk, hot or cold, with whipped cream and nutella syrup above), or smoothies (fruit smoothies), teas (several flavors to choose from) , and also a selection of pastry (yes they are like in America: donuts, brownies and cookies). The interior is half way between bad taste and a joke with their faux "leopard" chairs, but the truth that it is very nice to sit on one of these sofas to enjoy one of these drinks! One drawback is that the price for a medium chocolate-nutella drink is about 4 euros ... So you have to enjoy every sip to make up for it!
The small restaurant "Tartines & Co" is perfect for anyone ve is hungry for something tasty, but light, and fast. The concept of "tartine" is more common in the Lyon area of France (and in fact I think the owner is from there: thanks for bringing him to Tours). They treat you to a traditional slice of bread, covered with different delicacies. For example the "tartine" includes foie gras, lettuce, sweet sauce, etc. The one I ordered included tomato, ham, sweet vinaigrette, and goat cheese. Tartine is always accompanied by a small bowl of salad. This restaurant also offers different kinds of delicious salads (with cheese, or sausages, or simply different types of vegetables). There's something for everyone here! The desserts are tasty, and the prices are quite reasonable (although it's not the cheapest place in town). They have a good tartine for around 15 euros, which includes a dessert. The colors in this location match the dynamic yet quiet atmosphere enough so that you can talk and enjoy the food.