Normandy is best known for its dairy products – especially butter, cream, and cheese – and for apples and seafood. It’s an haute-cuisine destination, but without the price tag of typical Parisian eating out. All towns have a slew of cute cafés through to silver service restaurants, with locally-sourced meats and authentic dining always at the ready.
Traditional cooking and an emphasis on regional dishes are noticeable when dining out in Normandy. Along with quality seafood and meats are the freshest of cheeses and ice creams. Many famous cheeses come from this region, including Camembert and Pont l’Evêque, along with the semi-sour crème fraîche.
The seafood is among the best in France, and you’ll find it better priced than in the French Riviera. The Normandy coast is strewn with picturesque fishing harbors bringing in the catch of the day fresh to your plate – think Normandy oysters and Dieppe sole!
Lamb, chicken and duck are given equal precedence on the menus. Be sure to sample duck à la Rouennaise in the capital of Rouen, creamy omelets in Mont St-Michel, sausages in Vire, and baked tripe with calvados in Caen. Isigny toffee desserts are popular in Rouen and ice cream is sold by the truckload everywhere in summer.
If you’ve never tasted the alcoholic apple drink of cider, be sure to give it a go in Normandy. As in England, there are swathes of apple orchards in Normandy and they churn out some wonderful dry and sweet ciders. Calvados apple brandy is also recommended.
Normandy has great diversity in dining out, with everything from street cafés with shaded terraces to friendly bistros and brasseries, and swanky restaurants. Dieppe, Le Havre and Honfleur, in particular, are noted for their seafood restaurants. In Rouen, head for the area near the Church of St Joan of Arc. Although touristy, this area has the best choice of eateries.
A sandwich in Normandy on average will set you back €3; for a coffee, expect to pay €2, and €4 for a glass of wine.