Restaurants and cafes are plentiful and the food is excellent. There are some wonderful regional dishes on offer such as cassoulet, lamb cooked with rosemary, hot goats cheese - and the sea food is very fresh, usually caught that day, and superb. Restaurants also often offer paella as we are so near the Spanish border and Moroccan food, especially tagine, is available at some restaurants.
At lunch time (12.00 - 14.00) you will offered a set menu, the menu is often displayed outside the restaurant or cafe, this is a Plat du Jour which usually includes a starter, main meal, dessert and a small carafe of rose, white or red wine. It will cost about 13 euros, coffee being extra. If you don't want a 3 course meal at that time you can find shops offering very inexpensive filled baguettes or slices of quiche; there are also cafes that just specialise in moules frites (mussels and chips) for about 9 euros. The size of a restaurant or cafe is no indication of its standard. We have had simply wonderful food in tiny cafes in equally tiny villages - processed foods are very rarely offered, chefs/cooks shop pride themselves on offering local and very fresh produce.
In the evening there is so much choice it is worth taking a walk around and reading some of the menus before making a decision. Narbonne has so many wonderful restaurants, as do the beach locations and ports, but all the little villages have at least one cafe/restaurant where the food will usually be freshly cooked from local produce. Children are always made very welcome, French families take their children out to eat in the evenings, regardless of age, in fact the whole family from Grandad down go out to eat together. Children usually eat the same as adults but child friendly menus have recently made an appearance and they are very reasonably priced.
The cost of all meals will be displayed outside the restaurant. Food is not served until at least 7 o'clock in the evening so if you have young children you could consider giving them a snack, as the French do, at around 4 o'clock so they can last 'til dinner time.
If you want to eat a picnic you will find areas specially put aside for this complete with tables and benches, they are usually located at particularly beautiful spots. You will also find, at some of these sites, a barbque for your use. At the river at St Laurent there is a wonderful space for picnics, for example. Supermarkets, Markets and Boulangeries sell ready cooked food that is ideal for picnics.
In the village of Thezan des Corbieres, in the village square, there is a small pizzeria which offers, apart from eat in or take away pizzas, burgers and chips. This pizzeria is licensed, the food is good value and well presented and you can eat outside. There is also a Bar in the village, Le Ptit M'tard - this offers Plat du Jour and basic evening meals plus a Bar which has events such as Paella Evening - again, you can eat outside. In Ferrals les Corbieres Bembe's Bar offers superb lunches and evening meals, all cooked barbque style over vineyard wood - in the neighbouring village of Fabrezan there are three restaurnants, one, the Grand cafe offers excellent value lunches.
There are many superb, and very high standard, restaurants near to our gites where you can celebrate a special occasion. Here are links to just three that, either we particularly like, or our guests have highly recommended :
En Catimini, Ferrals les Corbieres
Eat in a small chateau or in the chateau gardens. Family run and owned, Mother is the Chef,
Father the Sommelier and Daughter is the Waitress. Wonderful atmosphere, extremely friendly and a stunning setting.
Auberge du Vieux Puits, Fontconjouse
3 star Michelin Restaurant - rave reviews on Trip Advisor
Les Calicots, Fabrezan
Lovely building in the escargot (heart) of a beautiful little village - have a stroll there before dinner