La Cantine’s fast, sure start

It’s a pleasure to recognize a hit, and it looks like Chef Fabrice Lemonnier’s new restaurant in Daglan, La Cantine, started fast, picked up speed, and now is approaching the village’s quiet season as a full-blown success. My wife Jan and I keep hearing good reports on it, from locals as well as tourists, and we’ve enjoyed many good meals there — including lunch yesterday with friends Tish and Bob.

Here’s a reminder, from my first posting on La Cantine as it opened this year (“Fabrice le Chef, reimagined,” March 25):

La Cantine is a reworked version of the shop where Chef previously sold meats, cheeses and his own creations, and which evolved into a casual place during the tourist season with meals served on the terrace outside the shop. It’s across the street from the post office, and next to Daglan’s primary school and the mayor’s office.

Now all the food shelves are gone; new tile has been put down; the kitchen equipment has been beefed up; and La Cantine is a cozy and comfortable bistro, with seats for 18 inside. (There are tables on the terrace already, but the weather will need to warm up a bit before it gets much use.)

At today’s inaugural lunch, there were just six of us — and that includes Jan and me. But we think that the quality of food, the price, and the location will bring in lots of diners, especially in the warmer seasons. Here’s a look at a table for four, in one corner of the restaurant:

One corner of the cosy restaurant.

One corner of the cozy restaurant.

During the summer, virtually every table on the terrace outside the restaurant was full during lunch. Sunday lunches were especially popular, as Chef added fresh oysters to the other entrées available. And many of our friends who’ve eaten at La Cantine for dinner report that they had excellent meals.

Speaking of which, my plat principal yesterday (after splitting a half-dozen oysters with Jan) was a nice piece of pork belly that had been roasted in Marsala, and then perched on mixed vegetables. The fat was nicely browned and crispy, the meat tender and sweet. Here it is:

The pork was moist and delicious.

The pork was moist and delicious.

Dessert was equally delicious. It was a poached pear (cooked in Monbazillac wine to a nice, soft texture, but not mushy) served with chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce, and sprinkled with roasted almonds. Here it is:

A lovely combination -- soft, poached pear and chocolate ice cream.

A lovely combination — soft, poached pear and chocolate ice cream.

Prices and variety are right, I think. The lunch for Jan and me, with a generous amount of white wine, came to just under 70 euros. Each day, there is a choice of three entrées, three main courses, and three desserts.

The good news: I checked in with Chef today, and he confirmed that he plans to continue the same schedule for meals even in the non-tourist season (with occasional closings for vacation time and holidays). So that means lunch every day except Tuesdays, plus dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. For reservations, the phone number is 05-53-30-34-54.

The bad news: Over at Daglan’s popular tea room and restaurant, proprietor Judith Thomason confirms that the fish-and-chips night on Friday, September 30, will be Le Thé Vert’s final closing date — not just for this season, but forever — until the business is sold to a new owner. The village (and the countless cyclists who arrive each summer) will miss it.

This entry was posted in Cafés in France, Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to La Cantine’s fast, sure start

  1. Samandjill Hershfield says:

    Great reviews for Fabrice!

    If his restaurant has the same effect as the two in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts, it will make GDA a real destination.


  2. loren24250 says:

    Thanks, Sam. Yep — those TripAdvisor reviews are very positive. Lovely to see the success of Fabrice. But I am truly sorry that Le Thé Vert is closing. Why don’t you — or someone else who is as smart as you — buy it? Doesn’t need to be a British tea room. Could be a French café. Or a Moroccan restaurant. Or an Indian curry place. Anything interesting!

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