If you visit Toulouse, the ville rose, you don’t want to miss the breathtaking sunset view across the Garonne river. The panoramic splash of colors across the expansive sky and its perfect reflection on the glassy water surface change almost every minute as the sun sets beyond the Pont St. Pierre and Pont des Catalans bridges. After watching this romantic and magnificent sunset, we took a lazy stroll around the cobblestone backstreets of Place Saint-Pierre and sniffed our way to rue Blanchers. Rue Blanchers is a small restaurant row of sorts with numerous cafés and restaurants offering international and local cuisine.
Restaurant Georges was one of the first places we came upon and we knew immediately that it was the right place to dine. We didn’t have to walk down the remaining stretch of rue Blanchers to check out our other options- the menu sounded tempting and the place was brimming with locals. Georges’ menu represented Southwestern French regional cuisine with a modern twist, at reasonable prices. Here you can order a Formule for 21 Euros (entrée + plat, plat + dessert, or 2 entrées + 1 dessert), or a Menu for 26 Euros (entrée + plat + dessert).
The atmosphere at Georges was friendly and casual, and happy diners filled the numerous tables that were tucked into every crevice of the small restaurant space. Old paintings and antique photos adorned the brick exposed walls, and small stained glass lamps added to the rustic feel of the restaurant. There was a tight narrow staircase that led to the downstairs cave and mini dining area that was stocked full of French wines.
Charlotte de Saint Jacques au coulis de crustacés – Molded shellfish coulis prepared in a cream sauce. This dish was a modern twist on the traditional French dish of coquilles Saint Jacques, which is made with scallops in a white wine and mushroom cream sauce served on a coquille, or shell. The soft and warm soufflé of delicious shellfish essence that stood proudly on a porcelain scallop shell dish was just as good as any seared scallop I’ve ever had.
Forestière d’escargots en cassolette et son feuilleté à l’ail confit – Warm cassolette of escargots in a mushroom cream sauce accompanied by a delicious flaky slice of bread with garlic confit. The cassolette was full of succulent meaty pieces of escargot that were even more delicious on top of the garlic bread, and the intense woodsy aroma of mushrooms filled the air.
Tartiflette au magret fumé- a hearty gratin of potatoes, cheese and smoked duck. A tartiflette is a warm winter dish that originated in the Savoie region of the French Alps, and is particularly popular in keeping skiiers warm at ski resorts. Although a true tartiflette should be made with Reblochon cheese and smoky bacon, modern versions can be made with any type of melty cheese and other hearty meats. Indeed, this tartiflette was very hearty and had enough power to keep a whole family warm during any winter chill.
Emincé de boeuf au coulis de foie gras – Beef sirloin tips served with a foie gras sauce. These cuts of meat were slightly tough, though the rich savory foie gras sauce almost made up for it.
Tartare de saumon a la crème d’herbes fraîches – Salmon tartare tossed with herbs and cream, was quite delicious. The minced cuts of salmon were fatty and marvelous, perfectly enhanced by the zing of fresh parsley and chives.
Le Régal des Capitouls: foie gras de canard mi-cuit, magrets sec et fumé, gesiers confits, saucisse au pot, mesclun de salade, confiture de figues, marrons, noix et sel guerande – this was a classic Toulouse dish that showcased all of the beautiful duck delicacies of the region. Toulouse is particularly famous for its foie gras and sausages. Cuts of foie gras mi-cuit, slices of smoked duck breast, gizzard confit and cuts of smoked sausages were served with preserved figs, chestnuts and walnuts. I loved every tender and flavorful morself of duck on this amazing plate, especially the smoked gizzards that had more texture than the other cuts. The more I chewed on the gizzards, the more these smokey flavors permeated my taste buds.
Fondant au chocolat – chocolate cake with a somewhat molten center was decadent. The exterior was ever so slightly flaky, adding a textural contrast to the silken interior.
Crème brûlée aux framboises fraîches – crème brûlée with whole raspberries inside was quite flavorful, and the four of us finished it very quickly.
Our dinner at Georges was a fantastic experience, and it was a perfect treat to succeed the amazing sunset that we saw over the Garonne river. Gratifying rustic French cuisine served by honest caring hosts at Georges is an experience not be missed on your next trip to Toulouse. Michel Sarran, with 2 Michelin stars, is perhaps the most famous restaurant in Toulouse, but I also recommend Georges if you and your wallet want to take a break and keep it casual and homey.
4 rue des Blanchers
31000 Toulouse, France
+33 05 34 44 95 92
Open 7 days a week
Lunch 12 to 2pm, Dinner 8-11:30pm
Random trivia: Did you know that the scallop shell is regarded as a symbol of fertility? That’s why many paintings of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and fertility, also depict a scallop shell. Botticelli’s famous painting in Firenze’s Uffizi gallery, The Birth of Venus, shows a beautiful and serene Venus emerging from the sea on a scallop shell.