Great Restaurants to visit in Champagne

Great Restaurants to visit in Champagne

 

Expert recommendations

by Champagne connoisseur Gert Crum

 

Planning a trip to the Champagne region in the future? (Fingers crossed we will be able to travel again soon!)

Recently, we spoke to connoisseur and author of the book 'Champagne - The Future Uncorked', Gert Crum.

Crum has been a wine writer and wine teacher for decades. He has therefore visited the Champagne Viticole many, many times and is globally one of the key experts in the field of Champagne.

For this blog, Gert shared some of his favorite places in Champagne with us!

 

Read our blog below to for Gert's recommendations for the best hotels, champagne bars and finest restaurants- with the best wine lists - in the area!

I'm traveling to Reims, where should I eat?

If you want to go chic (after all, we are in Champagne!) then L'Assiette Champenoise*** is an absolute must. In his stately restaurant in Tinqueux in the suburbs of Reims, chef Arnaud Lallement conjures up the most beautiful dishes on the table. The sommelier lovingly offers champagne pairings that match the various menus to choose from.

Near the famous cathedral of Reims we find Racine**, belonging to the Japanese chef Kazuyuki Tanaka. He cooks a sublime French-Japanese cuisine (see Tanaka's Instagram account for a sample of his colorful dishes). Also, the wine list is a dream come true for every wine lover!

At brasserie Le Jardin located at Domaine Les Crayères, it is almost always pleasantly crowded. In the summer you can find a seat on the terrace in the garden of the château and enjoy classic French dishes with a modern twist.

If you are looking for a typical French brasserie, La Brasserie du Boulingrin is an excellent option. This is the right place for a classic sole meunière or entrecôte with gratin dauphinois. They are also known for their steak tartare, of which they have three different varieties on the menu.

On the cozy Place d'Erlon, we find the - according to Gert - best champagne bar in Reims, with strangely enough an English name: The Glue Pot. Selecting a bottle of champagne from the wine list here is joy as well as a huge challenge: there is a huge variety to choose from! So there's nothing else to do but come back more often. Don't feel like having another glass of bubbly after a day of tasting champagne? Burgundy, Loire and Bordeaux wines are also well represented on the wine list.

The best restaurants near Épernay

Crum: "If you can afford it, a visit to Royal Champagne is worth it. Because of its location, near Champillon-Bellevue, the view from the terraces over the valley of the Marne is magnificent. The rooms are very spacious and fully equipped, and the two restaurants are good to very good. The name Royal Champagne has existed for hundreds of years, but after a renovation spanning several years, the current Royal Champagne is completely of this age. It is owned by the same investors as the reknowned champagne house Leclerc Briant, which operates in Épernay and is located on the famous Avenue de Champagne, and is a boutique hotel with five rooms. Again, you need to bring a credit card with a generous limit, but it is worth every penny. It is called Le 25Bis by Leclerc Briant".

Sleeping and eating at Anselme Selosse

A little further south, in the grand cru village of Avize, we find the hotel-restaurant of the iconic Anselme Selosse. Here he runs a small but luxurious hotel with an intimate restaurant, Les Avisés. "Every time I'm in Champagne, I want to have lunch or dinner here, because Stéphane Rossillon's dishes are both very creative and delicate and his wife Nathalie is the most charming host. What's more, the extensive wine list will not disappoint." You can read more about Anselme Selosse and his cult champagnes here. 

Finally, Crum mentions La Gare in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. It is located in the old train station. The decor is simple, but the reason for coming here are the dishes of chef Geoffrey Bemont, which are simply very good. Wines, including champagnes, you can't find cheaper almost anywhere else, according to Gert.

Is Aube also part of Champagne?

Yes, Aube also belongs to the Champagne area, although it is sometimes a bit overlooked. It is located a good way away from Reims and Épernay, in the area around the beautiful city of Troyes. It is definitely worthwhile to visit this area as well. This region is home to many relatively unknown champagne houses and many champagne producing families, so there is definitely a good chance you will find some hidden gems!

In the center of Troyes we find Aux Crieurs de Vin, both wine bar and a restaurant. Here you can pick a bottle from the cellar, order an assiette de charcuterie or a local selection of cheeses and enjoy la douce vie!

Gert's last secret tip is Le Garde Champêtre in Gyé-sur-Seine, a village on the edge of what we still call the Champagne Viticole. Expect pure dishes made from local products. There is a large garden near the restaurant, from which the chef harvests for the dishes presented. The wine list has many gems, such as those undiscovered champagne treasures from the Aube!

 

***
Gert Crum is a wine writer and teacher at the Dutch Wine Academy and an authority in the field of Burgundy and Champagne in the Netherlands. He has many wine books to his name, including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and 'Champagne - The Future Uncorked'. In this last book, in the chapter 'Enjoying Champagne', you can find many more locations to eat and sleep well in the region can be found. 'Champagne - The Future Uncorked' is also available as an i-Book.

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