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Fine Dining in Northern France

Brasserie "L' Océan"

62152 Hardelot-Plage

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 deserted road.

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 high prices.

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

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Open Google Maps Brasserie de L' Océan
100 Boulevard de la Mer
62152 Hardelot-Plage

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