Based in a former cinema in Sète, Le Rio used to attract many film fans for about 40 years. Now, it’s the home of Michelin starred restaurant The Marcel and its brasserie-style sister Le Comptoir au Rio, simply called The Rio. When visiting the Escale à Sète, Chéri and I finally had the chance to have lunch at this legendary establishment. And despite the hustle and bustle that comes with this biennial maritime festival, it was a flawless culinary experience.
To honour the cultural institution Le Rio once was, today’s The Rio still hosts expositions, concerts, performances and film screenings besides serving excellent food. The interior of the venue has this movie theatre vibe with art-deco details. And the terrace outside is simply divine, with an unbeatable view of the emblematic Canal Royal. I have to say that I didn’t expect to eat so well during the Escale à Sète with so many people around.
Swing of spring
The lunch menu offers three to four choices per course and costs 34 euros for a three-course and 27 euros for a two-course meal. During the evening, you can eat à la carte, including bites for the aperitif. The service was warm and professional at the same time, and soon enough we enjoyed the setting even more with a glass of wine in our hands. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and got us in the swing of spring. So did the starter of a festive ‘pâté en croûte’ for Chéri and a delicate carpaccio of sea bass for me.
The menu focuses on seafood, however, there also are some meat dishes included. Chéri went for the good old classic entrecôte steak, grilled to perfection and accompanied by crisp fries and Mediterranean vegetables. I chose fish again, and the whole sea bream was covered by a generous mix of almond flakes and fresh herbs. To end this beautiful lunch, Chéri had a chocolate mousse, and I ordered the panna cotta with strawberries. The Rio lived up to my expectations with a smile. We definitely will be back to try the other eating venues of The Marcel and The Marcel aux Halles!