It was difficult to find a good restaurant in the rural Corbieres until summer 2013, when the Place des Marchés opened in Villeseque, not far from the Mediterranean coast. We enjoyed lunch there this week. One of us chose the menu du jour, which is possibly the best deal in the region. The offering of the day was a starter of super-fresh shellfish with aioli, main course of a meatloaf (the traditional rousole of the area, “like Grandma used to make”), and glass of wine for 13.50€. The other ordered the 20€ menu and chose the charcuteries (an amazing selection of cold cuts), then crisply sautéed salmon with purple artichokes, and ice cream from a nearby goat farm. The wine list is brief and fairly priced, focused on well-chosen regional specialties. There was not one false note in the entire meal.
Service was friendly and un-rushed, except for the chef moving at high speed in the open kitchen. The ambiance is part village café – locals at the bar enjoying their aperitif – and serious foodies like us come from afar. Chef Eric Lalande has returned to his native region after 15 years working in USA and in fine restaurants in France to open this charming bistro. He calls it a bistro, and the prices and good service match that name, but the food is a step up in quality. The bistro’s village-friendly ambiance will help keep it going through the tourist-free winter. We drove 1.5 hours to get there, and will do it again. When you go – and you need to go – it will be best to reserve.
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