La Verticale

La Verticale (Bellême)

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La Verticale has a serious bottle collection! They’re standing upright and carefully organized, covering the walls to the bar of this perfect cave à manger. So what’s the secret weapon behind this whitewashed raftered bistro? A verdant terrace that’s hidden away out back and open when the weather is nice for al fresco drinks. Otherwise, dig into some tip-top tapas at easy-going prices, brought out from the windowed kitchen: Guémené andouille sliced paper thin; flavorful homemade hummus with harissa; silky chilled chickpea soup with a full-bodied bacon cream; classic leg of lamb with lingot beans; or even a few strawberries with whipped cream, sprinkled with a mint and verbena crumble. // M.B.

FEELING THIRSTY? There’s a light Loire pet’ nat’ from the Domaine Les Grandes Vignes; a delicate Jasnières from the Domaine de la Roche Bleue (€6 a glass); Coef 13, a Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil from Sébastien David (€34 a bottle); or Renaissance, a Côtes-du-Rhône from the Domaine Viret (€24.80).

PRICE: Menu €16-22 (Thursday lunch), plates €2.80 to €18.90.

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