Above: Grilled fresh sardines at La Pointe Chartrons
We’ve taken you to eat, virtually only, in Bordeaux’s Marche des Capucins and along Rue du Ha, so now we’re going to wander willy-nilly through the city for a final wrap-up of restaurants we sampled.
Located along the Quai des Chartrons, Pastel was among our favorite contemporary French restaurants in Bordeaux. Lunch requires reservations, and, waiting late, we only succeeded in obtaining those once. The soft lemony cheese appetizer with eggplant and tomato confit was particularly refreshing and memorable.
To my English-attuned ears, the name of the street sounds somewhat silly, but I believe the “Ha” came from a 1600s temple nearby that belonged to an order of nuns. The narrow street barely runs three blocks and was about that distance from the apartment we rented in Bordeaux. We were on the prowl and hungry, and I laughed that the reason we settled into the last table available on the sidewalk of Orta was the sign on the corner seemingly forbidding any kind of safe exit from Rue du Ha.
Above, “breakfast” platters of seafood at Chez Jean-Mi
Marche des Capucins is the city’s oldest public marketplace, meriting the moniker of the “Belly of Bordeaux.” The abundance and quality of its seafood, produce and cheese stalls inspired numerous chefs to open booths there in the past decade, but, while we were in Bordeaux, COVID and August vacations temporarily pared down their numbers.
Seafood remains prominent. The most renown platters are found at Chez Jean-Mi. One has to arrive early because it both gets crowded and closes before 2 p.m. most days. This forces many a foodie-pilgrim to venture forth for raw oysters for breakfast. As wonderful as a succulent raw oyster can be, I just couldn’t talk myself into eating it first thing, and there definitely was no room at the counter by lunch time.