“Wow that tomato Sauce is Banging” – Limmat, Marseille: Restaurant Review

The exclamation that came out of my brothers mouth after his first forkful of the tomato sauce his main course bathed in caught me by suprise. You would expect that living in the ancient city of Marseille, Provence’s un-official capital, he would be used to eating exceptional Tomato sauce. But clearly not. Every forkful of our meal at Limmat, Marseille was like this though, a dining experience that balanced value for money with exceptional provencal tastes. It would be an injustice to the chef Lilian Gadola to not write a wonderful restaurant review of Limmat, Marseille hopefully encourage you to visit and get a taste of the what Marseilles food really is today.

This spot is one of the few that has been on my saved google list as one to visit for the last few years on a trip to Marseille. Hidden, almost camouflaged half way up the Grafiti covered stairs on to Cours Julien the tiny terrace and open kitchen may not seem at first like a gastronomic highlight of Marseille. Yet, Lilian and her team at Limmat are talked about as one of the must do spots amongst the up and coming hip and it crowd. We climbed past it while researching our self-guided food tour of Marseille and I was reminded me again how much I wanted to visit.

Limmat Marseille Restaurant Review Watching the chef cook Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024

Getting a table is rumoured to be somewhat difficult. There is a lunch time service monday through friday and an evening service on thursday’s and fridays. We didn’t reserve as we were waiting for some packages to be delivered, but as soon we were able to leave the house we hopped on our bikes and made our way through the traffic maddness of Marseille to the vibrent Cours Julien area in the hope they would have a spot. The waitress looked concerned, and didn’t have a table for us on the tiny terrace. But it’s 13.13 and my restaurant angels are smiling on my brother and I, we are invited to sit down inside, I have the perfect view of the kitchen and marvel at the tiny menu. Don’t be like us, reserve if you want to go!

The menu is short, written on a blackboard and consisted of three starters, two main courses and a few desserts. Remember this is one of my rules when it comes to **choosing restaurants like a local in Paris and applies throughout France. My brother and I are too disctracted by guessing the accent of the waitress so don’t bother to read it, instead deciding we would just try everything. It turned out the waitress is Canadian, no way she is going to speak english with us tho. She was busy, and while we were a little disappointed at the way she fumbled through the wine choices, she charmed us with her smile and efficient service.

White Wine in Missmatched glasses limmat marseille Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024

There is so much joy in watching your food be made in front of you. No plastic packet’s or microwave in sight. The relaxed feeling of a chef making food with no stress just love could be felt through the whole space. I can’t decide if it was the missmatched glasses, rustic-recycled chairs, the seeming lack of pressure in the kitchen or maybe the first glass of our funky (in a good way) bottle of natural wine we were soon relaxed. We didn’t know what we were bout to eat it was going to be a treat.

Like all good young french Dad’s my brother and I sat discussing what we would be making for dinner. I explained how on my exploration of the markets and backstreets of Marseille, I was inspired by the cheap blood oranges, fresh local fennel and flopping fish to make something of a provencal style fish crudo salad thing as a starter. We clearly hadn’t been paying attention at what we ordered and I have to be honest with you, I find french handwriting hard to decipher so hadn’t even bothered. Because when our starters arrived, we were greeted with blood oranges, fennel and raw fish. I didn’t know if I should have been delighted or frustrated. But, hot damn this was sooo good!

Tuna Blood Orange Crudo Limmat Marseille Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024

The other two starters the other two starters a roasted cauliflower imbibed in turmeric serves on a bed of hummus and fresh chickpea salad perfectly balanced perfectly cooked perfectly seasoned this is what you could eat every day there’s nothing exceptional about it it’s just done correctly it’s done well it’s done with the passion and patience of someone who cares about what they cooking

Our second starter; The Bagne Cauda, a traditional Provençal style dip claimed by the Italiens, made from garlic and anchovies. Was served cold, laden with fast pickled seasonal veggies and fresh herbs still lingers in my mind as I zip back to Paris on the TGV. I can’t believe I haven’t eaten this before in all of my visits to the South of France but I now want to go home and perfect the same recipe to serve up to friends. The waitress explains they use leftovers of the delicious bread to get the texture of the sauce. This isn’t a cuisine that is virtue signaling sustainability but living it, I hope other chef’s will be inspired to follow considering the expected impact of the Paris olympics on french cuisine this year.

bagna cauda limmat marseille restaurant review Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024

A local sat next to us and didn’t even seem to order, this place is clearly popular with the hip locals. Our table neighbour was dressed like she worked at LVMH and could have been just at place in a swanky restaurant in Paris’s 7th arrondissement. She probably works at home my brother ponders outloud, the cool thing is she can come here everyday for lunch and eat a couple of starters for less than 15 euro. Let’s be honest the food here is 100 times better than most of the restaurants selling metro supplied main courses at the same price to rip off the tourists and local office workers. Why can’t more chef’s focus on making food that is like this, jaw dropping, droolingly delicious?

Before our mains arrive, we are moved outside to a tiny table on the terrace. More opportunity to watch the crowd’s of school kids on a street art tour and the hip locals rushing back to their offices. Two main courses arrive, that same locally caught tuna bathing in it’s banging tomato sauce. And a perfectly poached egg sat on what I now know was a ragu of white beans and blettes. My brother and I are meat lovers, but we are won over by the beautiful umami of this ragu. Blette annoys me becuse I can’t cook it and yet I am re-inspired to come back and revisit this vegatable again when I head back to the market at home.

We mop up every drop of sauce with more delicious bread. As we stare down at our empty plates, the sun slapping our face, we consider ordering another dish of that tomato sauce and tuna. But realise the time is slipping away, we have errands to run before we head to gather up the kids in our sun warmed, wine glowed, lunch drunk state. I am not so sure about getting back on the bike in Marseille traffic, but don’t worry we made it home.

Limmat Marseille Chairs Restaurant Review Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024

As an ex-chef turned food tour guide, with enough of a vintage that has allowed me to eat and cook my way around the world. I realise, I gravitate towards restauranteurs and chef’s that share the same culinary ethos as myself. Locally sourced, seasonal, family style cooking. The price has to match too. I don’t believe that gastronomy and great food should only be for the 1% that can afford to go to the three michelin star restaurants.

I know that eating out is a Privilege. But why has it become a privilege to avoid the over processed, under seasoned, hot off a factory line grub? Every time I find the chef thats bucking the trend by making amazing things real people can eat I’m excited. Thank you Lilian and the team

Going to this restaurant, you can immediately relax. The choices aren’t complicated, it’s a vegetarian dish or fish dish, three starters and two desserts and a few different wines. And okay the waitress wasn’t great as explaining the different between the wines or telling us which one she thought we would like. But everything was chosen with care, made with love and served with a smile. A brilliant choice for a delicious lunch in Marseille!

Thank you to the team at Limmat, Marseille they knew not that I was going to write this Restaurant Review and their welcome was exceptional and their food delicious.

Restaurant Limmat, Marseille

41 Rue Estelle, 13006 Marseille

Starters 7€, Mains 14 – 17€

Lunch: Monday to Friday – 12am – 14.30
Dinner: Thursday to Saturday – 19.00 – 23:00
Reservation by telephone on +33786302316

Chef Tris Portrait Eat Like The French! March 22, 2024
Food Tour Guide
From the bustling streets of Paris to the quiet moments at home, my journey is one of passion, resilience, and a deep love for French cuisine. As Chef Tris, my transformation from a culinary expert and tech recruiter to a local food tour guide in Paris has been a delicious turn of events, blending my professional skills with my personal story of renewal.

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