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Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

Brittany offers the traveler a fascinating cultural history, plus enchanting old towns such as Dinan, Quimper and Vannes. The Celtic Breton language is still spoken, and on high days and holidays, the women still wear their traditional long dresses adorned with lace. Brittany is home ...

Brittany offers the traveler a fascinating cultural history, plus enchanting old towns such as Dinan, Quimper and Vannes. The Celtic Breton language is still spoken, and on high days and holidays, the women still wear their traditional long dresses adorned with lace. Brittany is home to many megalithic monuments, the largest alignments being near Carnac. Here you will also find long beaches swept daily by Atlantic tides, and the ocean in this area yields some of the finest seafood anywhere in the world. May through July is the most pleasant time for a visit; August is too crowded, and some restaurants close for the season as early as the middle of September. 

bird icon Recommended Luxury Hotels in Brittany

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.

Best Restaurants in Brittany

With gracious service, reasonable prices and fine views over the Bay of Cancale, this charming restaurant is a perfect choice for a traditional French seafood meal. Diners might try the ravioli of langoustine, or roasted ormeaux (a very rare and succulent conch caught off the Channel Islands), followed by cod with celery mousseline, or grilled lobster. Don’t miss the delicious chocolate tart with raspberry marmalade. Closed Wednesday; Sunday evening September to June; Tuesday evening October to June.

4 Rue Ernest Lamort Cancale Prix fixe menus, US$50 and US$60; tasting menu, US$70; seafood platter, US$100

Self-taught chef Hervé Bourdon has developed a remarkable network of local suppliers, and he respects the quality of their produce by cooking it simply and precisely. This excellent seafood restaurant is where we celebrated the end of our cure with a superb meal of mackerel sashimi on cauliflower purée, and sea bass with artichokes and ginger.

11 Quai Saint-Ivy Portivy Saint-Pierre-Quiberon

A short walk from the Hôtel Brittany, this contemporary brasserie has a seaside setting, cordial service and an appealing menu of good, simple French dishes prepared with first-rate local produce. These dishes include excellent oysters; mussels served three different ways; and yellow pollock with buckwheat stuffing, baby vegetables and beurre blanc sauce. 

37 Rue de l'Amiral Courbet Roscoff US$45

Overlooking the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, this excellent Michelin-starred restaurant showcases the modern Breton-Japanese cooking of chef Raphaël-Fumio Kudaka, a native of Japan who previously worked with Olivier Roellinger. Kudaka’s cooking is delicate, precise and subtle, as seen in dishes such as lobster dumplings with pine nuts, Lepage Farm pork-and-morel gyoza, braised shiitake mushrooms and a clear yuzu broth; and fillet of fried John Dory with pointed cabbage, clams and a cabbage-and-garlic-oil broth. Excellent wine list. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

7 Quai Thomas First Floor Cancale Five-course menu, US$85; eight courses, US$150

After many years working in celebrated Paris kitchens, including Pavillon Ledoyen, Epicure and Arpège, young chef Stéphane Cosnier returned home and opened this modern French bistro, which is a perfect place for lunch after a visit to Carnac. His menu changes often, but runs to dishes such as roasted langoustines with crushed grilled peanuts, John Dory in mussel sauce, and a buckwheat waffle with stewed peaches and verbena ice cream. Closed Mondays.

36 Avenue de la Poste Carnac

This friendly, mostly seafood restaurant on a spit in the pleasant resort town of Saint-Lunaire (near Dinard) has spectacular sea views. It offers dishes that are perfectly sourced and cooked, such as grilled sole, cod steak with ratatouille, and a frangipane tart topped with preserved oranges. Closed Monday July and August; closed Monday and Tuesday April to June, September and October; open Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch February and March.

1 Pointe du Décollé Saint-Lunaire Prix-fixe menus, US$35 and US$50

Located next to the little white lighthouse at the entrance to the fishing port of Sauzon on Belle-Ile, this simple seafood restaurant serves the excellent local catch of the day, including langoustines, mussels, oysters, lobster and sea bass. An enchanting terrace overlooks the harbor. Open April 1st through September 30th.

Quai Guerveur Hôtel du Phare Sauzon

Overlooking the sea, this hotel dining room is a fine destination for lunch, especially as a stop on an easygoing drive around the lovely Crozon peninsula (much recommended). Order one of the well-priced prix fixe menus, or go à la carte for fish soup, langoustine with homemade mayonnaise, grilled lobster, turbot with a buckwheat crust, or beef tenderloin with foie gras sauce and potato pancake. Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday evening and Monday. Closed all of January.

11 Quai du Fret Crozon Prix fixe menus, US$35 to US$85

This pleasant but unexpectedly simple Michelin-starred restaurant in a residential corner of Saint-Brieuc occupies an old granite house. Talented chef Jean- Marie Baudic changes his menu daily according to the season and the markets, and the only choice is whether to have two courses or three. Baudic has a particular love of seafood and vegetables, as seen in dishes such as a starter of dressed crab with quinoa, piquillo peppers, baby vegetables and shellfish jus; and a main course of brill with vegetables and a luscious deeply reduced meat sauce. Perfect for lunch. Closed Sunday and Monday.

5 Rue Palasne de Champeaux Saint-Brieuc Two-course menu, US$40; three courses, US$60

Since he took over his family’s simple auberge 18 years ago, chef Olivier Bellin has won two Michelin stars for his contemporary Breton cooking. His menu evolves constantly, but dishes such as langoustine with girolle mushrooms and apricots, sea bass with onion ravioli, and seaweed-infused pear tart with verbena ice cream are typical of his style. Closed Monday and Tuesday all day and Sunday evening.

7 Rue de la Plage Plomodiern Prix fixe menus, US$110 to US$215
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