Thought dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant would break the bank? WRONG! In Normandy, it turns out you can have lunch at not one, but FIVE Michelin-starred restaurants for €35 or less! Intrigued? Read on…
1) A Contre Sens (Caen)
In the heart of Caen’s cobbled streets, this cosily traditional restaurant with modern decor is run by husband and wife team, Anthony and Cindy Caillot. I was lucky enough to have dinner at A Contre Sens a few years ago on a press trip and remember how passionate Anthony was about using top quality local produce and spreading the word about Normandy’s amazing food. The very next morning, we found him shopping at the regular Friday morning market in Caen for wild strawberries. All of these excellent, locally sourced ingredients and intriguing culinary juxtapositions have led to A Contre Sens deservedly enjoying a Michelin star since 2012. At lunchtime, there is a three-course €27 ‘Inspiration’ menu, which offers a starter, choice of main course and dessert. The latest menu, offering a cream of potato soup with hints of seafood and curry, monkfish or veal for main and then strawberry and lemon parfait as dessert, sounds very tempting.
- Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-1.15pm and 7.30pm-9.15pm. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes.
- Get booking: +33 (0)2 31 97 44 48 | firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Auberge de la Pomme (Les Damps)
William Boquelet and his wife, Amélie, run the picture postcard Auberge de la Pomme with its rustic, half-timbered façade and elegant interior only a 30 minute drive from Rouen along the Seine. Guests can enjoy an apéritif on the terrace overlooking the apple orchard before heading into the designer dining room for a gastronomic treat. William Boquelet sources his ingredients from a group of faithful, local suppliers and relies on the very best the daily market has to offer to inspire his menus. Gourmets will be delighted to find a three course menu for just €35 on offer both at lunchtime and in the evening on weekdays* which currently includes seabream, angus beef and fresh fruit with sorbets. There is a smattering of eclectic flavours from all over the globe included in these dishes to give them a unique signature.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12:15pm-1.30pm and 7:30pm-9pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. €35 menu is available Tuesday-Friday, but not on bank holidays.
- Get booking: +33 (0)2 35 23 00 46
3) Intuition (Saint-Lô)
In view of the ramparts in Saint-Lô in the Manche département, the aptly named Intuition restaurant joined the distinguished ranks of Michelin star holders this year. Chef Mickaël is a local lad and often heads off into the Norman countryside to pick herbs and wild plants to include in his dishes. He also insists on sourcing the very best fresh products from local growers. With the town of Saint-Lô being so close to the coast, there is always fresh fish on the menu. A delicious three-course lunch is served at Intuition on Thursdays and Fridays (excluding bank holidays) for the paltry sum of €25. To give you an idea what is currently on offer, there’s an intriguing squid in coconut sauce starter, a delectable main course to satisfy all fish lovers and a very tempting rhubarb vanilla slice.
- Opening hours: Thursday-Saturday 12pm-1.15pm and 7:30pm-9:15pm.
- Get booking: +33 (0)2 33 05 14 91
4) Auberge de la Mine (La Ferrière aux Etangs)
Just south of the Suisse Normande and on the edge of the Andaine Forest, this Michelin -starred restaurant is based in the former mining town of La Ferrière aux Etangs. This pretty village was once home to a mine for iron ore found in the local rocks, and Catherine and Hubert Nobis opened the Auberge de la Mine in the mine’s former canteen in 1991. Rest assured the decor and meals served here nowadays are much classier and for only €35, you can tuck into the three-course ‘Sentier de fer’ menu, which generously includes a glass of wine and coffee and represents amazing value for money. The elegantly presented dishes are are essentially organic and made from ingredients sourced locally in the bocage area.
- Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday lunchtimes and Wednesday-Saturday evenings.
- Get booking: +33 (0)2 33 66 91 10
Le Bec au Cauchois (Valmont)
This 18th-century restaurant is just inland from Fécamp on Normandy’s Alabaster Coast and run by a dynamic young chef, Pierre Gaillet, who was awarded his Michelin star six years ago. He is described as a ‘passionate alchemist’ and sees his cooking as an act of sharing. Pierre grows many of his vegetables in his own garden in the grounds of the restaurant and he proudly lists his main local suppliers on the website. The cuisine on offer at Le Bec au Cauchois combines vegetables fresh from the garden and regional ingredients with culinary flair. The €35 ‘Reinette de Caux’ lunchtime menu is available on weekdays (excluding bank holidays).
- Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12pm-9pm and Sunday 12pm-1:30pm.
- Get booking: +33 (0)2 35 29 77 56 | email@example.com
For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
Cover photo © Auberge de la Mine | Text: Alison Weatherhead