If a restaurant can serve an excellent meal on one of the busiest days of the year, you know you’re in the right place. Especially if the owner welcomes you with a genuine, big smile that she keeps all evening. Therefore, here’s a restaurant that I can recommend ‘with eyes closed’ (‘avec les yeux fermés’ as they say in French): Le Clos des Framboisiers. You will find it on the outskirt of Carcassonne and it’s worth every effort to find this true treasure.
This year, the family and I wanted to go to Carcassonne to celebrate Bastille Day on 14 July. As the firework display, one of the best in France, started at 22h30, we had to kill some time. Over 700,000 people tend to visit this event, so I was prepared and made a reservation for dinner. To my surprise, I succeeded at Le Clos des Framboisiers, which has been on my wish list for a long time. The restaurant is in the middle of a residential area, but as soon as we entered, we unexpectedly stepped into a different world. The first eye-catcher is the pool, surrounded by various stylish seating areas. And when I peeked inside, the decoration left me even more in awe. The restaurant is huge, but owner Patricia and her crew have succeeded in creating tasteful and cosy corners both inside and out.
I would go back to Le Clos des Framboisiers for the decoration alone, and apparently the interior design changes regularly. However, the kids were more interested in the food. Normally we take them to kind of kid-friendly places- serving burgers- however here the choice was limited with a four-course set menu for 35 euros. Every course had three options though, and there was something to everyone’s liking. We started with a festive sangria and mocktail for the children, followed by the starters. Chéri and the kids all had the scallops with a pea cream and corn foam while I relished a summery dish. It had grilled bell peppers, fresh zucchinis, and tasteful tomatoes on dots of two creams based on mascarpone/tarragon and brie. The starter had already made my night out!
But there was more delightfulness to come. Like the uncomplicated grilled steak, mashed carrots and potatoes and roasted garlic butter for Chéri and the kids. I had a filet of coalfish with a beautiful confit lemon sauce. As the rest of my family isn’t into cheese, I was the only one for the cheese course, a triangle of Cantal with homemade jam. Everyone wanted the dessert though. Here again, Chéri and the kids had the same dish, which was a sunny strawberry soup including a scoop of ice cream and a tuft of whipped cream. Of course, I went for the chocolate ganache with crusty bits of praline on a layer of crispy biscuit. With this heavenly meal, we had more than a good base for the Bastille Day fireworks.