France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Restaurant Areas in Marseille, France
You can find good meals at any price in Marseille, and if you like seafood, you can find very good meals of fresh fish.




The Vieux Port is the focus of most visitors' activities in Marseille, including dining. Some mornings you'll see the small fishing boats come to the Quai des Belges at the eastern end of the Vieux Port (map) and unload their still-squirming catch onto tables to be snatched up by restaurant chefs and knowledgable local seafood-lovers.

Three areas around the Vieux Port provide three somewhat different dining experiences.

Quai du Port

Quai du Port, the avenue and broad promenade along the north shore of the Vieux Port is lined with restaurants, cafés and bars with indoor and outdoor dining spaces. This is the most obvious place to dine, with a variety of menus and prices from low to moderately high, and good views over the hundreds of pleasure boats moored in the port. But because it is so obvious to eat here, quality standards may be indifferent. Choose your restaurant carefully, and only after you've explored the other areas described below.

Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves

Walk south along the Quai des Belges at the eastern end of the Vieux Port and continue south along the Cours Jean Ballard, and after two short blocks you'll see the long open space called the Cours Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves stretching for five blocks southwestward all the way to Place aux Huiles. Most of the space is populated with terrace restaurants, cafés and bars serving a variety of drinks, snacks, light and full meals. It's good for any dining occasion. Prices range from cheap to moderate.

Morning fish market at the Vieux Port, Marseille, France
Morning fish market on the Quai des Belges at the Vieux Port, Marseille. Note the fishing boats behind the fishmongers.

Place Thiars

A block south of the Quai de Rive Neuve (the avenue along the southern shore of the Vieux Port) and north of the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves is Place Thiars, an open space at the intersection of Rue Euthymenes and Rue Saint-Saëns. In and near the place are numerous restaurants offering a quieter and somewhat more refined experience than those on the Quai du Port or Cours Honoré.

Restaurant La Daurade, 8 Rue Fortia, corner of Rue Saint-Saëns, just east of Place Thiars, is among the better seafood restaurants in Marseille. They're serious about their fish and shellfish here, putting them on display at the door, shucking the oysters (huîtres) and whelks (bulots) only when ordered. Other items are on the menu (such as beef), but come for the seafood. Prices are moderate, the atmosphere is quieter and more refined than at many Vieux Port places, and the food is delicious.

Walk east on Rue Saint-Saëns, cross Cours Jean Ballard, pass the Opéra Municipal on your right and you come to Place Général de Gaulle, where there are several nice cafés and bistrots with greenery, little traffic, and sometimes tables of a brocante market.

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