“ 25 bis avenue de Grammont, 37000 Tours Tel : 024720 1515 „
On our recent trip to the Loire Valley Mr Tart and myself arrived in Tours quite late on our first night. We drove down to Tours from Paris. We were going to stop for something to eat on the way but in the end decided to make our way straight to Tours and get settled in the hotel and then find something close by. A couple of minutes from our hotel we came across this place and were really glad that we did. LOCATION: La Chope is located at 25 Avenue Grammont. Our hotel was on the same road so we just came across it. It is about a ten minute walk from Tours' old town. The restaurant doesn't stand out and the sign is not particularly bright so make sure you look out for it. THE EXPERIENCE: La Chope (which apparently translates as the tankard) is actually a fish restaurant. I'm not really a fish person (ok, that's an understatement, I can't stand most fish). However, we checked out the menu to see what other delights they might offer. They had a reasonable fixed price menu which looked pretty good so we went on in. The restaurant looks quite Parisian, with traditional French pictures on the walls and red velvet chairs. I really liked this French feel. It is quite a big place and I would say it would seat 100 easily. We ordered our drinks (wine for Mr Tart and water for me) which came fairly quickly. They also brought us bread which was really yummy but they didn't bring any butter or oil which I would have liked, but I think this is typically French. For the starter I had goats cheese with beetroot. It sounds a slightly strange combination but it was really delicious. The beetroot wasn't pickled in vinegar like it is so often over here so went really well with the goats cheese. Mr Tart had the artichoke which he raved about. For the main course I had steak. I often choose steak on a night out because I never have it at home. The steak was absolutely delicious again. It was really well cooked and a really tasty piece of meat. It came with a red wine jus, green beans and chips. It was exactly the type of food that I wanted after a long drive. Mr Tart had the fish. We're not sure what type of fish as it was the fish of the day and he didn't bother asking the name of it as we knew that we probably wouldn't be able to translate it anyway (he eats pretty much anything and likes being surprised). When the fish came it was white fish (although he's still not sure what it was!) but he said it was amazing. It was very simple and didn't come with much else (just some simple veg underneath). Mr Tart is used to really good food (his brother's an excellent chef) so for him to say it was amazing it must have been. The menu that we chose from seemed to be a kind of tourist menu as it was the only one that was translated into English (so take a phrase book), but obviously you can have anything from the other menus. I'm not sure how much we paid for our meal as I've lost the receipt but it was definitely less than Euro15 each, which I thought was really good value for the standard of food that we got. Make sure that you are aware before you order that the andouillette that the 'traditional sausage' is actually a tripe sausage (Mr Tart had it the next night somewhere, before we knew what it was, and he went a lovely colour of green while eating it!). Of course the main reason most people visit La Chope is for the seafood. Although I'm not a seafood person I have to say that the platters looked incredible. They weren't cheap from what I remember but they are stunning. They are served on what looks like a cake stand. They can include prawns, whelks and various types of oysters and it is all brought in fresh daily. If you're into seafood then this is definitely the place to come in Tours. If you're not into fish then they do offer some amazing sounding dishes on their al a carte menu. Starters include 'homemade terrine of duck foie gras with a fig chutney, on ginger bread, lambs lettuce dressed with a black truffle oil vinaigrette' and 'home smoked salmon on warm charlotte potatoes with a chive cream and harenga'. Mains include 'roasted suckling pig with morel mushrooms, broad beans and a sweet vouvray jus' and 'veal kidneys, mashed potatoes with mustard seeds, red mustard leaves and a 'Meaux Pommery' mustard sauce'. Desserts include crepe suzette and dark chocolate fondue. CONCLUSION: The restaurant is definitely one that I would revisit if I was in Tours again. We were both really impressed with the restaurant. The food was amazing and the service was great. Next time I would go for something off the al a carte menu but it was a little pricey for us that night and it was late so we just wanted something good value. I thought the prices for the fixed menu were really good for the standard of food that we got. Highly recommended!