Restaurant Otonali in Saint-MaloOtonali (Saint-Malo) - © Pascal Helleu

Biggest crush of 2018

In Japanese, “otonali” means “next door.” But don’t worry, with his 17th establishment, repeat (restaurant) offender Bertrand Larcher (nine addresses in Japan and eight in France) hasn’t left the building, so to speak. This light wood extension of his Comptoir Breizh Café was designed to revolve around a communal table and an apartment-style kitchen with a “come over to my place for dinner, I live with a Japanese chef” kind of mood. And he’s really nailed it! Running things is the young Yasu (the former right-hand-man of Fumio Kudaka, the culinary virtuoso of Table Breizh Café in Cancale), who takes his inspiration from izakayas – the Japanese equivalent of a neighborhood bistro – when making his exhilarating small shared plates: juicy mouthfuls of marinated and fried karaage-style chicken; delicious slices of breaded tonkatsu pork served over tangy braised purple cabbage; an intense beef tataki; addictive fried rice of the day, topped the day we visited with flash-seared mackerel fillets and fried squid; before, for the royal finale, the last figs of the season prepared as a divine tart…. To drink, there’s a stampede of impeccable natural wines that have been chosen with care: A bouche que veux-tu 2012, a white Sainte-Baume from the Domaine Terres Promises (€30), Marylou 2016, a Beaujolais-Villages from Guy Breton (€32), or cuvée Barthélémly 2008, a Bordeaux Château Le Puy produced by Jean-Pierre and Pascal Amorau (€198). Unless you’re tempted by a cider from the Domaine Neige (80 ml, €12)! Tapas €3.50 to €25. // Yvonne Gambetta

Getting there

Restaurant Otonali
6-8, rue de l'Orme
TEL: + 33 2 23 18 76 81