Here’s a true Garden of Eden in the culinary desert that is Pornic! Le 21’s chic nautical space is a veritable briny ode to joy. Christine (with the wine) and Gérard (in the kitchen) converted their fine dining establishment Le Beau Rivage into a beautiful wine bar (a swordfish on the wall, wine posters by Michel Tolmer, panoramic views of the Plage de la Birochère), and maintain equally high standards with the drinks as with the food. The day we went for lunch: an enticing fish plate – marinated anchovies and mackerel with mustard and coriander, sardines slow-cooked with piment d’Espelette; wild bass fillet tucked up against garlicky spinach, risotto with chanterelles and a shellfish sauce; turmeric-spiced veal sweetbreads served with a full-bodied jus de viande, plus a carrot and parsnip brunoise; before an elegant blueberry confit amandine topped with a white chocolate ganache. An extra incentive to visit: there’s a fine foods corner with whiskey from Michel Couvreur, Bellota-Bellota olive oil or even Alain Milliat fruit juices. // G.LeP.
FEELING THIRSTY? There’s a strong organic wine list, with 300 labels to choose from (a Fronsac from Paul Barre at €38, a Côtes-du-Roussillon red from Olivier Pithon at €39, an Arbois white from the Tissots at €44) and a predilection for Loire vintages – Landron, Carsin, Guiberteau, Bretaudeau, etc.
PRICE: Menu €18-24 (weekday lunch and in the off-season), à la carte €27-50.