Thank you, Michelin, for our new find in Bergerac

Today was our best day ever, with our most delicious meal, in Bergerac. There is a lot to share — from the town itself to the glorious weather to the new restaurant we “discovered.” So grab a seat.

The town of Bergerac lies on the Dordogne River, about an hour and a quarter west of Daglan. You may know the name, at least, from Cyrano de Bergerac. Fictional character or not, Cyrano and his nose helped make Bergerac’s name. And because it’s a decent-sized town, we find ourselves there from time to time, mostly to do some shopping, and then usually to have lunch at a restaurant in la vieille ville — the old quarter — called Le St Jacques. It has a nice courtyard out back, which is lovely for summer, and the food is quite good. Here’s the entrance:

Front of Le St Jacques

A former favourite, now relegated.

However, I find the inside of the restaurant a bit gloomy. And besides, we’ve eaten there often. So last night, while planning a shopping trip to find a new easy chair for relaxing TV viewing — hey, I’ve got my standards! — I announced that I’d had enough of Le St Jacques, and it was time to check the Bergerac section of Michelin’s 2010 Guide rouge, the guide to hotels and restaurants. And there we found it: Restaurant L’Imparfait, at No. 8, rue des Fontaines, in the heart of la vieille ville. Michelin had awarded it two couverts, or place settings, the ranking also achieved by Daglan’s superb Le Petit Paris. That was enough for me! So, here’s the entrance to L’Imparfait, which I have to say is not overly promising:

Restaurant l'Imparfait

Welcome to Restaurant L'Imparfait

But once inside, we were charmed.  We had a warm welcome, despite not having a reservation, were seated at a prime table for two, and were served our kirs promptly. And then came the amuse bouche — described to us as an egg en cocotte, but which I’ll describe to you as an absolutely delicious, savoury creme brulée, rich and creamy and perfect for dipping into with the small toast provided. Here it is:

An amuse bouche

This certainly amused our bouches.

And then we had a marvellous meal: beef marrow as a starter for me and chorizo and squid for my wife; and then a main course of poached cod with deep-friend shrimp for me and scallops with salmon “maki” for my wife. Afterwards, we wandered through the old town and did some shopping, enjoying the sights, such as the cathedral that’s being renovated, like this:

Cathedral in Bergerac.

Soaring into the blue sky above Bergerac.

What about Cyrano? Well, there are (at least) a couple of statues in his honour in the town. First, here is the “traditonal” statue:

Statue of Cyrano de Bergerac

A "traditional" take on Cyrano.

A “modern” statue of Cyrano — which seems a bit weird to me, because it is painted in full colour — is centred in the main (touristy) square of old Bergerac. Here it is:

Modern statue of Cyrano

Cyrano, in modern dress.

So, a perfect day? Pretty close. As long as you don’t count my stepping into dog doo-doo on the way to the parking lot.

This entry was posted in French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France. Bookmark the permalink.

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