We had dinner at L'Océanic on April 10 and lunch there the following day. We were told that the tourist season in Chinon only really gets under way after Easter so we had no trouble to get a table on the same day.
During the same trip, we had the pleasure to eat at some of Le Fooding's top bistros in Paris. None came close to L'Océanic for quality, value or originality.
We had a local mousseux that was very good as an apéritif and it was served with an oyster and red pepper mousse (if memory serves). Yummy. Yes, if you want the amuse-bouche, you should order an apéritif. They go together and the price is very fair.
For dinner, the foie gras snacké with milk shake à l'orange et triple sec was thoroughly original, enjoyable and surprisingly light. The oysters "tsarskaya" were fresh and very tasty. Sandre en croûte persillé au beurre blanc was fresh and understated. The real revelation was the skate with Camembert Normand. I don't generally like skate and had doubts about the combination but it was a boneless treat and the highlight of what we tried at l'Océanic.
The cheese plate for desert combined local chèvre cheeses with really superb selections from elsewhere in France.
The wines on the list were well chosen and fairly priced. We really enjoyed a demi-bouteille of Sancerre. The granddaughter of one of the larger local wineries could not stop gushing to us about how highly she thought of the husband-wife couple who serve as chef and Maître d'Hôtel at l'Océanic and had special praise for the wines and cheeses at the establishment.
After our dinner we had a surprise: cabbies in Chinon do not ply after 8:00 PM. It was about 10:30. After trying to call numerous taxi companies without success, the head-chef/owner gamely volunteered to drive us the several miles back to our B&B in Ligré. During the drive we had the opportunity to chat with him a little. He is truly invested in providing the best ingredients and cuisine to his customers, driving before sunrise daily to the market in Tours to pick out the best seafood and produce.
I won't say too much about our lunch the next day because it would be repetitive. I will quickly mention that the Cabillaud lardé en croûte de pommes de terre, crémeux de cresson was a revelation and that the price of the lunch at 17 euros (main course plus desert and a glass of wine) was a bargain. By comparison, the hole-in-the-wall place with the pool table offered lunch for only a couple of euros less.
If you are in Chinon, this is the place to go.
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