The best barn I've eaten in!
L'Etable Restaurant (Tours, France)
Member Name: tartlette
L'Etable Restaurant (Tours, France)
Advantages: Great food, great prices
It was our last night in Tours and we wanted to find somewhere really nice to eat that wouldn't break the bank. We walked through the old town but there were lots of places closed (it was Monday and the Continent does seem to come to a halt more on a Monday) and the rest didn't appeal. The owner of our hotel said that for good food all the locals went to Rue Colbert so we headed there to see if there was anything better.
The restaurant is located at 121 Rue Colbert. It is towards the cathedral end of the road, away from the old town. We walked to the restaurant from our hotel which was on Avenue de Grammont and this took around 15 minutes. There are plenty of car parks around the area which are within a couple of minutes walk and they're free to park in after about 6pm.
We made our way up Rue Colbert looking for somewhere to eat. We had a look at L'Etable ad thought it looked pretty nice but there were only 2 people eating there and we're always slightly put off by empty restaurants. However, having walked up the rest of the street we returned to L'Etable and decided that it looked good enough to chance it.
We sat outside, which I love doing - think it really adds to that French feel. The waiter clearly noticed our poor French and brought us some English menus which is always a slight relief - our French is limited and the French do seem to have a habit of putting ingredients in their dishes that wouldn't necessarily appeal to me. The menu was one where you could choose two or three courses for a set price. There were two set menus, one cheaper than the other. We went for the cheaper one but it was still excellent.
We started by ordering our drinks; some water, a glass of white for Mr Tart and beer for me (yes, we're a strange couple!). Make sure you ask for a carafe of water if you want it for free, as if you say bottle they'll probably bring an expensive one. Our drinks came - they brought two glasses of wine by mistake - clearly our Allo Allo French was failing again! They took it back with no fuss though.
Next came the starters. I'd ordered the goat's cheese salad. When it came there were some strange looking additions on the salad.....yes, they'd added goat! I was horrified, I'd never eaten goat and I wasn't particularly looking to try it. However, Mr Tart, good influence on me that he is, said I had to at least try it. I'm glad I did, it was absolutely delicious! To go with the goat, there was actually goat's cheese which was hot and wrapped in pastry, on a bed of lettuce and tomato. The whole starter was wonderful, goat is actually quite a tasty meat, but be warned if you're a veggie - there was no warning on the menu of its presence at all! Mr Tart had the daily special for his starter which was a big, single ravioli filled and baked. He said this was absolutely excellent as well.
Then onto the main courses. I'd ordered the steak, which I tend to order a lot when I'm on holiday as I rarely have it at home. It came on a huge wooden platter. There was a plate with the steak in the middle, and three little pots around the side. One had veg in it, a mixture of green beans and peas, another had a cheese sauce and the third had potatoes cooked in cream and garlic. It was by far one of the best meals I'd had in a while. The steak was beautiful and very tasty. The veg was perfectly cooked, so that the beans were still slightly crunchy, the cheese sauce was not too cheesy but really went well with the other flavours and the potatoes were delicious. The only slight issue was that when they asked me how I wanted the steak to be cooked, I said medium rare, but it obviously got lost in translation as it came out almost blue. I wouldn't normally have eaten it but to be honest it was such a good steak that it didn't matter too much and I still enjoyed it. Just be aware that you may need to take a phrase book with you! Mr Tart again had the daily special. He knew that it was going to be some sort of fish but again the French wasn't flowing so it was a surprise when it came. It turned out to be salmon in pastry, with a really yummy sauce with prawns in. I didn't taste as I'm not a big fish person but he was really impressed with it.
I was completely full up after my starter and main but Mr Tart's had been a bit lighter so he had room for a dessert. He went for the bavarois, which is a cream and custard pudding. Yet again he was hugely impressed.
The service throughout the night was absolutely excellent. They were very attentive and didn't mind our bumbling French! I also thought that the prices were extremely good. My meal was Euro16 for two courses and Mr Tart's was Euro19 for three courses. The standard of the food was outstanding for a meal of that price. The menu had something for everyone, as long as you're not a vegetarian! There was fish, chicken and various meats.
This restaurant really is excellent. I would highly recommend a visit there if you're ever in Tours. The food was some of the best I've had in a long time and Mr Tart was hugely impressed too. The prices were extremely reasonable and the service was great. The only thing to be aware of is the need to have a phrasebook and the fact that meat may appear on your plate!
By the way - apparently Etable is the French for cowshed or barn (please correct me if I'm wrong) hence the title!