It’s rare that I stumble into a town without an existing must-visit restaurant in mind, but when my partner and I decided to do an impromptu day trip to Dinan, that’s exactly what happened. We arrived just before lunch with nary a restaurant recommendation in sight. And because Dinan is very touristy and touristy places tend to have lots of low-quality restaurants, our prospects seemed grave.
We would have turned to the Michelin guide, but they had just let me down hard with a recommendation that led us to a dingy dining room and a fatty, not-properly-seared steak in another nearby French town. So instead of guides and internet searches, I did what I do in a foodie pinch:
Ask a local.
In a town bustling with tourists, the easiest way to find one was to head to the tourist office.
Please, I begged the woman behind the counter, tell me where you would eat on a special occasion. Not where the tourists eat. It doesn’t have to be popular. Send us, please oh please, to the best food in town.
And damn, that fabulous woman at the tourist office did not let us down.
Eating at La Fleur de Sel
Our habit of eating early served us well again, as we had our pick of tables before the restaurant filled up (and it did fill up). We chose one along the back wall next to the handwritten blackboard menu.
House-made breads and gourmet butters opened the meal and we didn’t leave a crumb behind – they were both that good. Then it was onto creamy foie gras, tender guinea fowl, and, my sweet tooth’s personal favorite moment of the meal: a dessert of profiteroles Dinan style, filled with salted butter caramel ice cream, salted butter caramel coulis, and a puff of bergamot whipped cream.
La Fleur de Sel‘s set multi-course menus are reasonably priced at 30 and 42 euros respectively and they offer several wonderful-sounding children’s menu options starting at 12 euros. The menus shift and change over time, so our exact meal has already disappeared, but I’d eat either of their menus again in a heartbeat.
Even though we got a table at the last second, I’d suggest booking ahead. There’s no way this gem is that easy to get into on a regular basis.
Address: 7 Rue Sainte Claire
Phone: +33 02 96 85 15 14
Hours: Open Tuesday – Saturday most of the year, but closed Thursdays in low season. (Dates vary and it’s best to call or use the booking system to check availability.
Price range: Three courses on the adult menu range from 30 to 42 euros (an absolute steal for this quality; Chad and I shared a three-course lunch and it was the perfect amount of food for us). For kids, you can get two to three courses for 12 to 18 euros.
Dog friendly? Yes!
What to do in Dinan (when you’re not eating)
People come to Dinan for its preserved old town (which escaped the ravages of WWII) and the walk along its still-standing walls (which is stunning and recommended).
We only had a day to enjoy the scenery, so we didn’t get past these usual tourist draws. That said, I’ve heard that Thursday morning is the time to go for an excellent market in the main square. If I make it back, I’ll plan my trip for a Thursday.
And if you’re interested in trying more Breton specialties, may I recommend my Brittany food guide?