When looking for a good place to eat in a French town, chances are high that you’ll find something in or around Les Halles. Like in Béziers, where you’ll find the restaurant Les Dames des Halles opposite the covered market. Of course, it’s run by women, host Karine and chef Rahma, to be precise. Their cheerful mindset sets the tone for this happy place, shaking up your taste buds with simple, spot-on food.
Open-air dining room
You can sit comfortably inside the small restaurant. But why would you when the hubbub happens outside? A mix of colourful tables and French bistro chairs are scattered across the pavement, transforming it into an open-air dining room. Chéri and I went on a Saturday night to spend some time catching up. Jaunty notes raised the mood while the night slowly fell on Les Halles and the beautiful surrounding facades. We started with an apéro, a beer for Chéri and wine for me. I guess the ladies are more wine lovers, as the waitress pointed out they only had a few beer options. However, Chéri was free to get one from the neighbouring bar. How cool is that?!
Compose your own
Karine is also a shellfish producer. Therefore, you’ll find a fine selection of oysters, clams, mussels, shrimps, and other sea delicacies on the menu. You can order just a simple plate or compose your own platter. Chéri and I decided to share a starter. I wanted to try the blinis with smoked herring and horseradish, which we completed with a couple of shrimp and oysters. By this time, Chéri had finished his beer, so we also shared a ‘pichet de vin blanc’. I always feel very French when ordering one, although it simply means you will get a carafe of local wine instead of a bottle. Which Les Dames des Halles also serve, by the way.
Friends told me the ladies would put on a bib for some main dishes. I figured I didn’t need one for my Vietnamese-style salad- fresh and tasty- and I was right. But Chéri ordered the bavette, and there Karine was to adjust a big bib around his neck. I didn’t warn him in advance to add to the surprise… Chéri forgot all about his wardrobe addition when he saw his- raw!- steak coming. He had to cook it himself on the hot stone that was on the tray, accompanied by a salad and fries. It added to the fun vibe! Chef Rahma has Dutch roots; therefore we were delighted to see the very Dutch ‘poffertjes’ on the dessert menu. Chéri had to have a portion of these mini pancakes. I had a lavish pavlova, although I took a poffertje to try. And it tasted like home.