Cancale, Brittany. Lunch at Coté Mer.

Cancale, Brittany. Lunch at Coté Mer.

Coté Mer is highly recommended, not only by two Crumbs, but so far 48 French diners on tripadvisor.fr have been very enthusiastic about their meals there. (The new owners took over in June 2022 so I made sure to read only reviews posted since then.) I usually don’t take TA reviews seriously, but we knew from the owners’ two previous restaurants that they set a high standard, so the fact that so many French diners raved about the place did not surprise me at all.

We went on a Thursday in September 2022 and found a casually elegant restaurant with a patio on one level and a short flight of exterior steps up to the main dining room. We got there just as they opened and soon the place was packed. The owner and her two servers skillfully handled everything in the dining rooms. The owners have always had well-trained teams.

Things got off to a good start for me when I saw one of the servers cutting up a gros pain.

We were seated by an open window so we had a nice view of the patio crowd below us and of a palm tree, which I love to see in France, and then to the left of the palm tree was a hazy little triangle on the other side of the bay. It was Mont Saint Michel, and seeing its silhouette in the distance is my favorite way to see the Mont.

I don’t want you to think we can be had for a basket of excellent bread and a blurred view of the Mont. If the meal wasn’t top-notch I wouldn’t be writing about it.

I ordered a kir normand which came with two baked goodies for each of us. One pair was a rich spread on blé noir crackers, topped with a radish slice.

The amuse-bouche was a verrine with what at first glance looked like a thick butterscotch pudding, but it had a rich vegetable flavor, not at all sweet, with a subtle interior crunch.

My oysters were excellent and my husband was impressed with his marinated mackerel as a tart fine. He ordered bar with lobster broth and I ordered merlu with a delicious ratatouille. I don’t know how restaurants in France can produce the best-tasting fish. One owner told me it’s because their oven is much hotter than a home oven. Could be true, or it could be fresher fish.

For dessert, one of us had to order the far Percheron (far Breton with Calvados added) because we love the Perche, and also that’s where we first encountered the owners. I ordered three glaces, mango, lime, and the ever-present framboise. Usually we order different desserts and I eat 90% of them, but I was allowed only a bite of the far percheron. The strawberries on the far were close to perfect.

I should be used to hearing American pop songs in a restaurant but it still surprises me. We heard a pleasant, whispery French rendition of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Killing Me Softly before the happy chatter and the clatter of silverware on plates took over from the music.

No time for coffee. We left regretting that Cancale is far from where we usually stay in France, but very glad that the new owners have found the appreciative diners that their generous cuisine and their warm welcome deserve.

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So beautifully written, thank you. By the way, we filter / make use of TA reviews similarly.