We have been fans of Le Tournepique for a long time. That’s the Basque restaurant in Castelnaud, about 10 kilometres north of Daglan.
Obviously it’s not our “favourite” restaurant (hello? … no Michelin stars!). But for my wife Jan and me, it’s been one of our go-to places for a comfortable, tasty, and not-too-expensive lunch.
Starting last year, we began to be worried.
We had known that the silver-haired owner (and chef) was hoping to retire and sell his restaurant, and then learned that he had indeed sold. What would happen? Would the delicious Basque food remain?
On Wednesday, we got our answer, and it was all good.
First, a quick visual reminder of the restaurant. It’s located right on the Castelnaud side of the bridge that spans the Dordogne River, so it’s easy to find. Here’s a look:
When we first arrived on Wednesday, Jan and I were a bit concerned: We were the only patrons, and it was well past noon. Uh oh. Then, as time went on, more and more people arrived, until the place was just about packed. So that’s a good turnout on a cool day in March, well before the real start of the tourist season.
As for the menu, I’d say it’s actually improved, because now it includes both the popular Basque dishes we’ve enjoyed, as well as a good number of classic dishes from this area (including, of course, a good number of duck treats, like confit de canard).
And the cooking was just as good, and sometimes even better, than the previous chef-owner had managed.
What did we have, I can almost hear you asking, and how much did it cost?
Well, we each had a kir (white wine with cassis syrup), followed by a bottle of Spanish rosé wine to go with our meal.
For Jan, lunch was a large bowl of sweet mussels, and a generous serving of absolutely delicious French fries. (Trust me, I know.)
For me, an entrée of tapas, which included Serrano ham, chorizo, red peppers with garlic, anchovies, and more. As my plat principal, I actually had three small dishes, such as a tasty piperade (peppers, tomatoes, onions) served with more ham. All three dishes were delicious, and wonderfully hot (temperature, not spiciness). Then came my dessert — a slice of Basque cake — followed by coffees for both of us.
Total? Sixty-five euros, which we thought was just fine.
So, phew! All is well at the Basque place. Which is actually now the Basque-and-Périgord place.