Thursday, March 10, 2011

Le Trauquet

Here at 42rvh we pride ourselves on being able to send our clients to the restaurant or bar that matches their wants, their needs and their budget - and also to help them find the great local places that their guidebook won't mention.

Before we can recommend somewhere we need to try it for ourselves and before we try it we need to find it. I know, it's a tough life we have chosen for ourselves - having to force ourselves out of the house to conduct restaurant reviews - I admit it's a fabulous bonus of the life we lead.

As with anyone living on the doorstep of a tourist attraction - in our case the magnificent medieval Cité of Carcassonne - we hardly ever visit it because, well because it is full of tourists. But without doubt, every single one of our clients will visit it so visit we must too in the name of research.

We had planned to call in at a bar and then move on to a restaurant for lunch. It was a glorious early Spring day with a cloudless blue sky and the temperature pushing 20 degrees. Even though it is still early in the season and it was midweek, there were hundreds if not a couple of thousand tourists strolling the old streets.

So imagine our surprise when we found both establishments firmly closed with business going begging past their front doors. What on earth is wrong with these people? - why not close in January?

The reviews of these two places will now have to wait until they decide to open for business.

It was 12.30pm, we were hungry and we were in the Cité - out of the setback came the opportunity to discover somewhere new and that is how we came to lunch at Le Trauquet.

Le Trauquet is a sweet little tourist restaurant serving classic dishes (entrecote, cassoulet, salads) very well. It has the usual range of fixed price menus from €10 to €20, a charming owner and a sun-drenched terrace - a perfect affordable lunch spot in a busy tourist attraction.

In mid-Summer I suspect you will need to be seated as close to midday as possible to get a table for lunch, but today we had a choice of tables arriving an hour later than that. That's not to say they weren't busy - we counted at least 50 covers whilst we were there which is a healthy trade for a small restaurant at any time of year.

Our entrecote with chips and salad was cooked perfectly, one rare and one medium. The service was fast, efficient and polite. The bill, with a large bottle of Badoit, a small pichet of red wine and a coffee came to €33 - which to my mind is a bargain lunch in a tourist trap.

It was so warm I removed my jacket and sweater and ate lunch in short sleeves and Debrah got the added bonus of a sunburnt nose - in March!

You've got to love the south of France.

le trauquet, place du petit puits, la Cité +33 468 474931

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