Authentic France Travel Tip #12: Follow The Locals For The Best ‘Nosh

Ma Cuisine is emblematic of Burgundy, and especially Beaune, in its obsession with good wine.

Authentic France Travel Tip #12: Follow The Locals For The Best ‘Nosh

When we went to Tuscany three years ago we took along a Rick Steve’s guide. The corner of Tuscany we chose, however, was rather obscure so the only time we pulled out “The Rickster” was during a day in Florence.

We used it to choose a restaurant for lunch…big mistake. Besides the waiters, there was not a single Italian in the place. Rather, we were surrounded by a mob of other North Americans, all with their Rick Steve’s guides under their arms. The food was merely passable, the service perfunctory, and the atmosphere anything but authentic.

We promptly realized our error of ways and ditched the guide. Thus began a covert spy mission which involved sussing out locals and following them to wherever they went to eat. This technique earned us many memorable meals, from a street-side humble pizza to a divine pasta feast in a local nunnery in Sansepolcro.

Looking for the best and most authentic meals anywhere new? Easy – follow and / or ask the locals.

Never hesitate to simply ask store clerks or anyone else without a Rick Steves guide under their arm which restaurants THEY would recommend.

I know when I’m travelling I fully expect to land in a couple of disappointing tourist traps during my trip, but using the above technique we tend to find much more good nosh than bad nosh, and sometimes we even find truly LIFE ALTERING nosh.

Here in Burgundy, we are constantly asking around to friends and family for restaurant recommendations. One name that we kept hearing was the restaurant “Ma Cuisine” in the Passage Saint-Hélène in Beaune.

Much to my well…surprise…Franck surprised me with a dinner there to celebrate my 36th Birthday. Comme d’habitude, the locals’ recommendations were right on, and my delicious dinner of rabbit paté and chicken breast with a cream sauce, accompanied with an amazing selection of hand-picked local wines, REALLY made the extra year easier to swallow.

Ma Cuisine
Passage Saint-Hélène
21200 Beaune

Tel: 03.80.22.30.22

*Open only 4 days a week which vary. Reserve as early as you possibly can, as this restaurant is very popular with the locals!

Don’t miss this simple yet amazingly satisfying restaurant when you are in Beaune. Its low-key, understated atmosphere provides the prefect backdrop to its unfussy yet perfectly executed cuisine. In the evening enjoy a prix fixe menu for 22.00 Euros with choices such as delicious home made terrines, foie gras, kidneys, chicken breasts in cream sauce, etc. etc.

The restaurant boasts one of the best – if not the best in my opinion – wine lists in Beaune. All the bottles are hand-picked, and there is a generous selection of half-bottles for those pour souls such as Franck and I who have to drive home afterwards (however, if you are staying in Le Relais du Vieux Beaune, you are in easy stumbling distance).

The desserts (crucial for me) are just as simple and sublime as the rest of the meal. Franck had a gorgeous hunk or tarte tatin and I had a selection of three different kinds of crème brulée. Miam.

So make like a local; reserve a table at Ma Cusine, go, eat and drink divine things, then enjoy feeling at one with the universe…

Other places locals go to for a lovely evening meal in Beaune:

La CibouletteFaubourg Saint-Nicolas

Le Petit Paradis – rue Paradis

Le BenatonFaubourg Bretonnière (has a Michelin star, and the higher prices that go with!)

*”Authentic France Travel Tips” are posted every Tuesday and give ideas for savvy travellers who want to experience the authentic side of France.