We cruised along a narrow, straight road beside the Mediterranean to the seaside resort town of Sète, population 40,000. As we blew by at 80 kilometres per hour the salt water crept up the white sandy beach to our right. There were fluffy white clouds scattered around the blue sky.
There were a few camper vans parked on the roadside with people in collapsible chairs enjoying the view with a glass of wine. One group even had their BBQ going. Every now and then we could see fishermen, often with their rods planted into the sand casting out to sea.
We were hoping that some of the fishermen had already returned to Sète with their catch. We were headed there for dinner and hoping for some fresh seafood.
We walked around the seaside town for a while to check it out and work up an appetite. As we walked along the canal we could see some rowers out for their evening practice. The ‘canal royal’ has been there since 1666, same year the port was built. Sète is also the point at which the Canal du Midi meets the Mediterranean Sea.
The sun was getting low in the sky and set the town aglow. We decided it was time to head back to a strip of seafood restaurants by the pier to decide which one we’d try for dinner.
We chose Restaurant L’Amiral by chance and ordered some dishes to share between us. We started with a dozen baked oysters finished with cheese. They were tasty morsels and the simple sauvignon we chose washed them down well. We also ordered some moules frites done the traditional way – nothing fancy, but fresh mussels don’t need much help to be delicious. The mixed salad added some veggies and a nice crunch to our meal.
I was interested to try the signature dish from Sète, Bourride de Baudroie, which is monkfish with a garlic mayonnaise served with pasta. Unfortunately, I could barely swallow the fish. It had a tough, kind of rubbery texture that made it difficult to swallow, in addition to its overly fishy flavour. The pasta and the sauce weren’t too bad, though. I wouldn’t write this dish off before trying it at another restaurant.
The total for five people came to €66.50 (C$103-ish) with wine, tax and tip.