The best oysters I have ever had (fine de claire No3)
OK if you are ever in Sainte Maxime, in addition to La Maison Bleue, you mustmustmust go to La Reserve, on the main stretch facing the sea.
I went specifically because I wanted oysters (tick) and also a bouillabaisse (tick), which not many cafes served (they serve mostly the more simple soupe de poisson).
La Reserve is a restaurant, rather than a cafe, although everything in this town has that wonderful seaside-relaxed feel to it.
Oysters on the menu were Fine-de-Claire. I am a huge fan of oysters and try them almost every where they are offered. These, arguably, were THE best oysters I had ever tasted (backed up by the fact that the next night we tried the same oysters at another restaurant and they simply weren’t as good). Hard to describe why they were the best – the balance of the sweetness of the oyster and the saltiness of the sea was just PERFECT. I smile just thinking about them now (and my eyes have gone into a reminiscent blurriness).
Deboning the dazzling array of fish for my bouillabaisse
So, I had pretty high expectations for my main course – the bouillabaisse, and I was certainly not disappointed. The waitress appeared with multiple pieces of crockery, and then proceeded to debone an amazing array of local fresh fish, caught that day, onto a soup plate, before ladling a rich seafood broth from a tureen over the deboned fish.
ladling the rich seafood broth over the deboned seafood
I literally ate myself into a food coma. I simply had to eat as much of that dish as I could in one seating – it was, in a word, divine.
My amazing bouillabaisse at La Reserve
We also watched as other French classics such as beef tartare was prepared tableside to each person’s liking. I think the other testimony to La Reserve is that we went probably at the tail end of “the season” – not a lot of tourists were around, yet La Reserve was at full capacity with locals. Lots of cheek kisses and friendly conversation surrounded us. Happiness !
Restaurant La Reserve
8 Place Victor Hugo, 83120 Sainte-Maxime, France
Tel:+33 4 94 96 18 32