Families staying at the Sandboys seaside gites or at our Garden Studio apartment will never lack for choice when it comes to places to eat. Fort Mahon and its surrounding countryside, towns and villages are packed with good restaurants, brasseries and cafes.
The other night we were planning to eat out before going to the cinema in Montreuil. The film (The Company Men, with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, in English with French sub-titles) was not scheduled to start until 9pm, so we had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal beforehand. We had a place in mind, too – somewhere we hadn’t been before – the Brasserie “Les Pieds dans l’Eau”, aptly named as it is on the beach at the seaside resort of Berck (about 12 miles drive from Fort Mahon). This is the restaurant at Berck’s Agora Leisure Centre which I had noticed while attending swimming club training sessions in the excellent pool there.
Brasserie Les Pieds dans l’Eau, Agora, Berck-sur-Mer, Tel. 03 21 89 87 10
The restaurant is very comfortably furnished and nicely decorated in a modern style. It is accessed either through the basement level of the Leisure Centre (the restaurant is actually underneath the seaside promenade) or by steps down to the beach from the promenade.
Appropriately for a seaside restaurant, the kitchen at Les Pieds dans l’Eau leans towards seafood, though salad and meat eaters are certainly not forgotten and will find plenty of choices on the extensive menu. There are some spectacular-sounding specialities as well as a sensible children’s menu. You’ll find almost all seaside restaurants in France are well prepared for families with small children – we noticed that Les Pieds dans l’Eau had a good supply of high-chairs available to cope with the summertime family seaside holiday rush.
We chose to eat inside, although it was a lovely sunny evening, and there was plenty of room at the open-air beachside tables. We both chose the same cold starter, Tartare de tomates fraîches et confites, copeaux de Parmesan, a delightfully fresh and zingy dish. Sue had Moules Frites for her main course – it’s virtually this seaside region’s signature dish – while I tested the kitchen with a more demanding Turbot rôti, sauce vierge, escalivade de légumes. I was very happy with my excellent fish, though I personally found the dressing on the vegetables a little too oily for my taste (most people will probably disagree with me)
There is an excellent choice of wines, including a range of wines you can order by the glass. Unusually you don’t pay any extra for the “by the glass” option. A 12.5 centilitre glass is priced at one-sixth of the bottle price. We chose a very acceptable French Chardonnay from the Pays d’Oc, and since we had 3 glasses between us (only one for me, the driver), we paid for exactly half a bottle.
We had to leave it there without trying any of the interesting range of desserts so that we could make it to the cinema in time, but we’ll be back on another occasion to see what they’re like.
All in all, Les Pieds dans l’Eau gets our Sandboys stamp of approval as a very decent, comfortable and superbly positioned French seaside restaurant.