Nantes: Exploring Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Nantes: Exploring Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Nantes: Exploring Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Nantes, located in western France, is not only known for its rich history and beautiful architecture but also for its delicious local cuisine. With its proximity to the ocean and the Loire River, Nantes offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes and culinary delights that are sure to satisfy any food lover's cravings. In this guide, we will explore some of the must-try dishes, top restaurants, and even share a traditional Nantes recipe.

Must-Try Dishes in Nantes

Nantes is known for its unique and flavorful traditional dishes. Here are some of the must-try dishes you should not miss while visiting this culinary paradise:

  • Curé Nantais Cheese: This soft cow's milk cheese is one of Nantes' most famous culinary exports. It has a distinctive flavor that is slightly tangy and nutty.
  • Rillettes de Porc: A specialty of the region, rillettes de porc is a spread made from slow-cooked pork that is shredded and mixed with its cooking fat. It is typically spread on fresh baguette slices and enjoyed as an appetizer.
  • Moules Marinières: Nantes' proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means that fresh seafood is abundant, and moules marinières is a classic dish that showcases this. It consists of mussels cooked in a broth made with white wine, shallots, and herbs.
  • Gâteau Nantais: This delectable almond cake is a favorite dessert in Nantes. It is moist, rich, and often topped with a generous layer of rum or Albermarle liqueur-infused icing.
  • Breton Galettes: While not originally from Nantes, these savory buckwheat pancakes from neighboring Brittany are widely popular and can be found in many restaurants in the city. They are typically filled with a variety of ingredients such as cheese, ham, mushrooms, and eggs.

Top Restaurants in Nantes

If you're looking to experience the culinary delights of Nantes, here are some top-rated restaurants that are known for their exceptional food and ambiance:

  1. L'Atlantide 1874: Located in the heart of Nantes, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a focus on seafood dishes. From oysters to lobster, each dish is prepared with precision and creativity.
  2. La Cigale: A historic brasserie in Nantes, La Cigale is renowned for its Belle Époque decor and traditional French cuisine. The menu features a variety of dishes ranging from steak tartare to escargots.
  3. Le Bistrot à Gilles: This charming bistro offers a cozy atmosphere and delicious regional cuisine. Their menu includes local favorites such as rillettes de porc and galettes.
  4. La Raffinerie: If you're in the mood for creative and contemporary cuisine, La Raffinerie is the place to be. Their menu changes regularly and features seasonal ingredients for a unique dining experience.
  5. Le Lieu Unique: Housed in a former biscuit factory, Le Lieu Unique is an eclectic venue that combines a cultural center, bookstore, and a restaurant. The menu offers a fusion of international flavors with a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

Traditional Recipe: Nantes-style Clams

If you want to recreate a taste of Nantes at home, here is a traditional recipe for Nantes-style clams:


  • 500g fresh clams
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 50ml white wine
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 20g butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by rinsing the clams thoroughly in cold water to remove any sand or grit.
  2. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened.
  3. Add the clams and white wine to the pan, then cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the clams open up.
  4. Discard any clams that do not open. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the clams and give it a gentle toss.
  6. Serve immediately with a crusty baguette to mop up the flavorful broth.

Enjoy this simple yet delicious taste of Nantes!