Fine Dining in Northern France
Brasserie "L' Océan"
It is approximately a 10 miles
drive from the highway in Boulogne-sur-Mer to the Brasserie where
we're heading towards. From exit 29 off the A16 (E402) the ride on
the "Departmental 904" to Hardelot-Plage can be quite busy during
the Summer. But we follow the route on a wintry Saturday and it's a
When we turn to yet another roundabout, we enjoy a three miles drive
in a forest scatered with elegant villas of the luxury resort of
Hardelot-Plage. It is winter and Saturday, but here and there is
still work going on preparing the holiday-homes for next spring.
Brasserie "L'Océan" has lured us here with a -to French standards-
very extensive bilingual website in French and English. The website
is decorated with a nice-looking mascot, a seagull, and occasionally
we hear the surf of the beach through our PC-spreakers. Additionally
you can download the website menu in PDF format, so you can make all
your choices at home and be warned in advance for the relatively
Update: since our visit, the website has been renewed.
Arrived at the spot, we benefit from the many (hundreds) of empty
parking spaces that are almost at the beach. In winter there is an
abundance of parking space, in midsummer it will be different ...
Brasserie "L'Ocean" is much smaller than what we had imagined. We
enter the restaurant at an impossible hour for France: it is four
o'clock in the afternoon. Much too early for dinner and too late for
a déjeuner. But with "L'Ocean" that's no problem: tourists are a
strange breed that like to eat at their convenience, and that they
keep in mind in "L'Ocean"..
The prices on the menu are pretty high for a "brasserie". Only a
handful of appetizers and a snack, a croque-monsieur (toasted
sandwiches), remain under the magical € 10 limit. For a main dish,
you'll have to fork out at least € 14 and when you want to
treat your partner with the cream of the crop, a seafood platter
"Grand Fond", then you'll spend a whopping €78.90 ! The wine list
weighs heavily on the budget: the cheapest "Muscadet Sèvre et Maine
sur Lie", ideal with seafood, will set you back € 15.90.
That's about 4x the supermarket price ...
We order a "marmite de poisson en bouillabaisse" (fish Mediterranean
way) for €15.70 and an "Emince de boeuf aux oeufs sur
tagliatelles" (noodles with meat sauce) for €13.60 and we are
not impressed. We know we are in a pub and don't expect haute
cuisine. What we have on our plates is not bad, but really not worth
the money. The "marmite" consists of smaller pieces of fish in a
saffron sauce, and one can have an equal noodle dish in a chipshop
for less than a fiver. We are tired and have had a busy day, it that
perhaps why we are so disappointed?
Verdict: the location of "L'Ocean" is impressive, close as it is to
the beach, but just as little as the English Channel isn't The
Ocean, "L'Ocean" is not a recommendable restaurant. The quality of
the food was not bad, but the prices are too high, especially for a
"brasserie". So you pay extra for the sea view while you eat.
Update: since our visit, not only the website, but the whole
restaurant has benefited form a make-over. Prices on the website
seems lower than when we were there. So we may want to give it
another try in the future.
More details on "L'Océan": visit the website.
Brasserie de L' Océan