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AuvergneLarge1 - Visitor Information - Eating Out

It’s ALWAYS advisable to book a table.
Ask if you’d like us to phone for you.

L’Amandine at Saint Amandin on the way to Riom-ès-Montagnes, our nearest restaurant, about 10 minutes. Don't be deterred by the campsite, Pierre’s classic food is well presented on pretty china. Nathalie & her staff are friendly and welcoming. Children can play outside & be seen from some tables. Closed Monday evening from September and Sunday evening from October. Menus from about €10 to €30, children’s menu €6.10, wine reasonably priced. Dinner for two, allow €50. Sample menus (when I can get them) at the back of this folder, after the index. Recommended.

La Grange aux Fleurs at Sarran, down the Rhue valley. A pleasant 35 minute drive to a prettily converted barn, the new owners are have made some changes. The food is traditional yet imaginative. A lovely setting and atmosphere. For a meal for two with aperitif, wine & coffee allow €50 or €60. The service is now noticeably slower than before. There’s a 2 hour walk you could do before lunch and/or a pleasant 10 minute after lunch stroll up to the old communal oven on the hillside above. Recommended.

Ché Marisou - off the Condat/Montboudif road at Veysset, ask for directions, it's not easy to find. Serves only authentic Auvergnat food in a traditional setting, no haute cuisine. In several guides & an article in Marie Claire in 2002. Atmosphere, big hearth, lit-clos, massive dining table with benches. Friendly, helpful host & service. Set menu €28 (July ’07), children ½ price. Allow €50 for dinner for two including an aperitif, red & maybe other wine and a digsetif. Good value for money if you consider part of the bill as an admission fee to a museum & cultural event, which it is. See footnote...

Les Diablaires is a hidden pearl in Compains. Interesting food well served. An all woman team (members of Restaurantrices d’Auvergne), they open on Sundays in spring & autumn and daily in the school holidays. Menus from €18 to €31. We have enjoyed many an excellent lunch there. On a Sunday, visit the Russian Orthodox Convent (qv) near Marcenat on your way home. Recommended.
Restaurant8 Restaurant1
Restaurant3 Restaurant11 AND ALSO . . .

The Auberge des Trois Rivières in Condat (formerly the Central Hotel): the small restaurant in the hotel serves generous portions of hot, unfussy food, simply presented on plain white china. Often open on Sunday evening.

Lac des Moines, ½ mile from Condat on the Allanche/Murat road. Now offering normal French menus at local prices. The current owner was previously at the Hotel de la Poste in Marcenat. Food good, and other improvements.

Gîte de Saignes at La Godivelle changed hands in 2006. Sadly, the €17.50 Table Montagnarde is not what it used to be. Reports are now disappointing. We used to park at Espinchal, the walk takes an hour and is very pleasant.

La Fenoune, the former pizzeria in Condat’s main street is now an inexpensive restaurant. The midday menu du jour is €12.50. They still do pizzas, including take-away. Good value for money.

La Bergerie at Super Besse is big, busy, atmospheric, especially at night in the ski season. Inexpensive, traditional food for skiers. Not to be confused with the Bergerie at Sarpoil near Issoire.

And further afield:

Between Besse and Super Besse, L’Etable at Fontaneix, a mountain farm, is a bit like the Grange aux Fleurs but only one menu, which changes daily. In winter you can see cows through the windows dividing their quarters from the restaurant. Reasonably priced, very friendly, spotless. They also sell their own St. Nectaire and the smaller Pavin cheese. Recommended.

In Besse, watch your pizza being made and baked in a real brick oven fired by blazing logs at Mato Coulis fun; about €15 a head including pudding and wine. In the old town up a very narrow side street, ask for directions. Book in advance - downstairs is definitely nicer. For traditional French cooking, L’Oustaou (04 7379 5961) is satisfactory. Le Beffroi and the restaurant at Lac Pavin are no longer recommended. For superb food and exemplary service, try the art-déco Radio in Chamalières or the lunchtime menu at JC Leclerc in Clermont.

La Cascade is a hostelry on the Besse road just north of Egliseneuve. Country cooking, not haute cuisine. Simple dining room with bar. Can be crowded in summer, especially on Wednesdays (market day in Egliseneuve). Customers may include farmers who park their cows in the car park. See footnote...

In Riom-ès-Montagnes, the St Georges has fed us well, good presentation, service not always what it should be for a Michelin-listed restaurant. Costs slightly more than the Amandine.

Allanche was a culinary desert, but I am told that Le Relais des Remparts is satisfactory. Reports please. The Buron des Estives, (open May to Sept) at Montagne St Roch Sud, by the main road this side of Allanche, serves traditional Auvergnat food. Reports needed.

Marcenat’s Hotel de la Poste has changed hands and is no longer recommended. The original owner is now at the Lac des Moines, Condat.

Eat well yet inexpensively in Le Puy at Le Chamarlenc, 19, rue Raphaël. Run by Philippe (the creative light who set up the Gîte de Saignes). Menus were €10 to €14. Highly recommended by Susan Kane and Andrew Coulson in 2003 - “Simple but truly delicious”. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch & tea. Downhill from the cathedral, bear left at the fountain into rue Raphaël.

In and around Issoire, our preference is La Bergerie at Sarpoil, 10 minutes from Issoire, leave past the hospital, cross the motorway, follow St Germain le Herm. Recommended – phone 04 7371 0254. Also near Issoire are the Auberge des Louises at Tourzel, the Auberge de Margot at Usson, La Mairie Restaurant at Sauxillanges & further south, Boudes les Vignes at Boudes, where you can round off the day with a visit to Annie Sauvat’s vineyard for some excellent wine. Or eat under the plane trees at Le Cour Carré in Perrier (just north of Issoire).

The Ferme-Auberge du Bruel at St Illide serves mostly homegrown food and we ate well there in 2009 as it had been been recommended to us twice. They make their own foie gras and have a well stocked farm shop.

In and around Clermont-Ferrand:

Our preferred restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand is JC Leclerc in the old Quartier Juridique, (Michelin starred). Lunch menus are €35, €55 and €75. A culinary event I have not experienced outside France. They combine sophistication and chic with commendable, unobtrusive service and a genuine desire for you to enjoy your food. Closed on Sundays, so can no longer be combined with the antiques and flea markets in central Clermont. Advisable to book. Recommended.

At Royat/Chamalières the Radio serves noteworthy food, beautifully - both Michelin & Gault Millau agree. The building is original art déco and interesting in its own right. Recommended.

L’Amphitron Capucine, 50, rue Fontgiève, Clermont is very agreeable. Aperitifs, their four course Esquisse menu, wine and coffee for two was €105 in 2009, but you could do it for less. Friendly, efficient, we will definitely go again.

At the other end of the scale in Clermont-Ferrand, Crêperie Grill Le 1513, 3, rue des Chausettiers, near the cathedral. Great for small kids as they have a play area with toys, + tasty crêpes and ice-cream.

NB: La Cascade, Ché Marisou, the Buron des Estives and Gîte de Saignes serve traditional Auvergnat food only. MatoCoulis does pizza & steak only. The other restaurants listed above serve traditional French cuisine often with a local touch.