Being a mother of three teenagers can be frustrating when they don’t come out of their rooms for hours at a time. However, promising them a big, fat burger with a view of the Med kicked my brood into action. Beach restaurant Paparazzo at the Plage des Chalets in Gruissan has all these tempting ingredients, and more. Their tapas, pizzas and other elevated dishes are made with ingredients from local fishermen, producers and winegrowers. Kids happy, Mom happy.
The Paparazzo is a ‘cantine populaire’, or a popular canteen as they call it, but doesn’t take reservations. So, if you want to be sure of a spot, you better come early. That’s what the family and I did on a Sunday, arriving a bit before noon. At this time, there still were plenty of choices- either outside at the barrels surrounded by high stools or under the colourful parasols. Or you can go inside, at one of the industrial style tables and chairs. And even here, you would feel like you are eating outside thanks to the giant awnings that shade you from the sun.
The number of- friendly- staff members was impressive. We could recognize them by the t-shirts and sweaters marked with ‘Paparazzo’ or their tagline ‘C’est qui le Papa?’ (Who’s your Daddy?). These fun t-shirts can also be bought at the concept store. The minute we sat down, a charming girl took our drink orders. And by the time we got our drinks, we were ready to order our food. The menu offers tapas, salads, pizzas, and pancakes for uncomplicated meals to share (or not). Or you can choose between one of the fish or meat dishes for 13 to 24 euros.
We started with mussels with a spicy touch of Thailand that we shared from the pan. After that, the promised hamburgers arrived swiftly. And they were good burgers, judging by the kids’ empty plates. For Chéri and I, a cheerful plate with an entire sea bream was served. It came with a zesty gremolata and original carrot mash with fennel seeds. The kids were ok for dessert, but of course Chéri and I had to try one: a tasty café gourmand with three little delicate pastries. To share apparently, as the children changed their minds about dessert upon seeing our delicacies. According to the kids, Paparazzo is definitely a place worth coming out of your room for. Chéri and I couldn’t agree more.