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“A very mixed bag - très moyen” 3 of 5 stars
Review of La Diligence

La Diligence
2 place Petrarque, 34400 Montpellier, France (Comédie)
04 67 66 12 21
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Ranked #196 of 879 Restaurants in Montpellier
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: Comédie
London, UK
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A very mixed bag - très moyen”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2010

On the face of things, getting the booking wrong is not a very good sign. However, in fairness, the waiter responsible gave us a glass of Champagne on the house by way of apology. A table was hastily set in the anteroom. While this gave us more space than the rest of the diners, it also kept us away from any buzz of the place might have had.

The key avantages of La Diligence are its location right in the centre of town (the vastly superior but vastly more expensive Le Jardin des Sens is on the outskirts), its magnificent building, and the relative vegetarian-friendliness of its menu (but if you are that way inclined be absolutely sure to check an up-to-date menu on their website and ring ahead).

We had their €36 'menu découverte', which gives you a starter, a main dish and a dessert, plus a couple of 'amuse-bouches' in between courses. It is good value in two ways: there are five choices for each dish, and you do not come out feeling hungry!

The trouble with this place is in the small details. The food is relatively ambitious, but I got the feeling that in order to reconcile this ambition with the price they charge, they have taken shortcuts with some of the ingredients. Just one small example: I swear no-one in the kitchen has ever tasted the orange juice they serve. It's got the unpleasant ly bitter taste of the old fashion kind, out of a cheap carton or a glass bottle.

The amuse-bouche - small shrimps with curry sauce or goat's cheese with a pesto marinade, were pleasant. The starters were a mixed bag. A pumpkin 'velouté' with almond froth and sautéed girolles (French mushrooms - yummy) offered a nice contrast of flavours and textures. The king prawn ravioli was disappointing: the squidgy texture not helped by the fairly bland stock it came in, and it was served lukewarm. One of our party did not think the thin sticks of vegetables that set off the texture were tender enough. OK, but nothing special.

Turning to the mains, my lamb was tender and flavoursome, but quite fatty. The speculoos crust that it came in was not strongly enough flavoured. It was like a good idea that was not taken to its full conclusion. The coucous with pecans that completed the dish was a nice addition. The wing of ray (large flat fish) was utterly delicious: soft, flavoursome, cooked to perfection. The layer of thin potato slices it was on offered a nice contrast in terms of texture and flavour. Underneath that, another layer of contrast: mushrooms and green beans. I'll eat my hat if the beans were not out of a tin though - another example on my list of suspected skimping... The veggie had a puff pastry concoction, which hosted some melted Reblochon cheese, and apples caramelised in Calvados which proved totally unnoticeable. It was slightly overcooked at one end.

Before the desserts, we were served with a small scoop of lemon sorbet, set in a small glass bowl that looked like a tealight holder, with a glug of vodka at the bottom. I am not qualified to comment on the vodka, but the first note of the lemon sorbet was a bitter one, reminiscent of lemon-scented detergent; a defect encountered all too often in commercial sorbets.

The 'nougat glacé' was not dissimilar to rhum and raisin ice cream. The chestnut flavour in the chestnut purée and whisky charlotte was noticeable by its absence (and it was not cold enough). The 'moelleux au chocolat' was OK, but its very perfection screamed "not homemade" to me. The coconut crème brûlée was fairly tasteless. Now for the good bits. The carrot and honey cake soufflé was a very nice idea, but too sweet. I'm minded to experiment with this concept back home... Ditto the cardamom caramel - mmmm! In the trio of chocolates in crunchy pastry, the white chocolate and spice pouch could have been less sweet and more spicy (and the pastry was underfilled, and thus too dry). Milk chocolate samosa: great idea, pity the chocolate was a bland and sweet Swiss affair. How different it would have tasted with some Vahlrona, or even some good old-fashioned and more democratically-priced Côte d'Or! Let me finish on a high note: the dark chocolate and blackcurrant spring rolls were fabulous.

Except for the initial hiccup, the service was good.

Would I recommend this? Very hard to say. Personally, I think I'll start saving for a return visit to the Jardin des Sens. I'm off to La Réserve Rimbaud next...

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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174 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Durham, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Exceeded Expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2010

We are still wondering if our dinner at La Diligence in Montpellier FR just might have been the best meal we've ever had in France (including 5 times in Paris). The combination of personal, thoughtful service, romantic setting, and fabulous food and wine provided an exceptional experience. Our starters (respectively) were grilled shrimp ravioli in asian broth, and roasted figs stuffed with sweet chevre. Main courses were filet de boeuf with cepes, fois gras and mixed vegetables; and an amazing breast of duck with mousseline de celeri (sort of a mousse made from celery root). For dessert, we had a Mille fleur with exotic fruits and a ginger/pumpkin souffle. A wonderful bottle of Le Roc des Anges (a Roussillon red) was the perfect match. The service was outstanding. From the moment we were seated, we felt welcomed, pampered, and the whole experience was simply magical!

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Norwich, United Kingdom
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Worth the money!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2010

We had the 63 Euro Menu dégustation, which was excellent value (includes wine with every course). We've eaten at Le jardin des Sens and La Maison de la Lozere, both very good, but thought that La Diligence offered best value. I knocked off one star, perhaps unfairly, because I felt their choice of wines could have been better. Atmosphere good (but they struggled to keep the place warm the night we visited; it was -5 outside!).

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Expensive but definitely worth it.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2009

Was taken there with a group by a vendor. We had the 5 course meal with matching wines. Pauline really knows her wines. I like to think I do as well but she managed to surprise me with each course.

If there is one thing I could possibly critize it's portion size. Most things taste so goods that you'd glady have a second helping. With a 5 cours meal it's sufficient, I wonder about the menus with less courses.

The place also features a 200+ bottle whisky collections with some interesting rarities.

Tip: If you can't find it, ask any native for the english pub "shakespeare".

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
110 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
242 helpful votes 242 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2009

This place is amazing. We sat on the decking in the open air terrace. The setting is very pretty and romantic. Staff were superb and the food was amazing...every single course.
We had the set menu with a different wine with each course. It was our best culinary experience in France by far – the place, the setting, the food, wine, staff, everything. Just perfect!!!
Worth every last euro and at 65euros per head it was superb value for money. Would love to go back one day.

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