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La Mère Pourcel, Dinan (France)

When I knew we were going to be in Dinan over New Year, I immediately started hunting about for places for a “nice meal out”.  Our rental house had a great kitchen and we planned on eating in a fair number of nights also, you know, since the food in French supermarkets is amazing, we wanted to take advantage.  Fortunately, we met Véronique from French Cooking For Dummies when we were in Paris, who just happens to hail from Brittany and she told us that La Mère Pourcel was THE place to eat in Dinan, so one of the first things we did on arrival was make sure we made a reservation.

Described on the website as being founded by Alfred and Virginie Pourcel in 1927, who have given an atmosphere to this restaurant by drawing their ideas and secrets from their love for the town of Dinan, from his passion as an Inn-keeper and her passion for home cooking. We devote our time to perpetuate this love of great cooking and seasonal ingredients.  An authentic savoury regional cuisine, in an exceptional atmosphere in this 15 th century timber-framed building. Founded in 1927.

It’s all rustic charm and exposed beams on the inside.  Large enough that you are not sitting on top of your table neighbours but intimate enough that it feels like you might just be in your friend’s dining room for a special occasion dinner.

We started out with an apéro, as you do.  Kir for the ladies…

And a wonderful house apéro called La Pousse Rapière:

Mmmm – délicieux!

The menu is quite extensive and features Breton specialties.  We liked the fact that there were many “prix fixe” options.

Neil, for example, had the Père Alfred which, for 22,00 € included: 9 Huîtres de Cancale (oysters from nearby Cancale), Travers de Cochon Caramélisés (Caramelised ribs) and Fondue au Chocolat fruits frais et Chamallows (who can resist chocolate fondue served with fresh fruit and marshmallows!?)

We were all served an amuse-bouche – a small carrot and parsnip soup in a tiny espresso cup:

Neil’s oysters:

My Salade de Homard (it was the season for lobster, after all!):

Cathy’s Gravalax de saumon (a super generous portion):

The star of the meal is certainly “les cocottes” – meals cooked in Staub  mini Dutch ovens.

I had the amazing Fricassée de Coucou de Rennes aux Morilles (a chicken – bone-in – stew with a creamy morel sauce) and it was seriously to die for.

But we still had room for desserts.  The aforementioned fondue:

with green chamallows (marshmallows!)

A delightful Moelleux Caramel au Beurre Salé et cœur fondant (once they got it right – the first time around the molten filling was not so molten).

A wonderful cheese platter: Fromage de la maison BORDIER, salade et Pain au Noix.

And a very Breton Gratin aux Pommes, Sabayon au Cidre (apple gratin with a cider sabayon cream sauce)

This was by no means a cheap meal but it was our one splurge in Brittany.  A “must” if you ever find yourself in Dinan; the atmosphere, the old-world service and great high-end homestyle cooking combine to create a delightful dining experience.  Merci Véro for the great recommendation!

Chez La Mère Pourcel

3 Place des Merciers
22100 Dinan, France
+33 (0)2 96 39 03 80

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52 Responses to La Mère Pourcel, Dinan (France)

  1. French Cooking for Dummies March 2, 2010 at 05:40 #

    Glad you liked it :D Your pictures are great, I’m drooling! I haven’t been there for years and it sounds like they’ve been renewing the menu… We’ll have to find a week-end to go try their new cocottes and this unbelievable fondue, oh yeah!

  2. Mr. Neil March 2, 2010 at 07:20 #

    Veronique, your reco was wonderful — thank you so much. And believe it or not, these were the ONLY huitres I managed to find. When we went to Cancale, everything was shut!

    A glorious little town…excellent home base for our week. (And a delightful house, despite the landlord falsely tacking on “additional charges” at the end.)

  3. Cat March 2, 2010 at 09:20 #

    what a delicious meal and what lovely surroundings in which to enjoy it. love all of that old, dark wood.
    oh, and marshmallows sound so much more elegant in french than in english. ;)

  4. Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 2, 2010 at 09:32 #

    So, what’s French for “a tankard of your finest ale, inn-keep!”?

    There just aren’t enough Innkeepers around serving deliciousness en cocotte these days, in my opinion. Definitely worth the expense when you can find one.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 2, 2010 at 20:42 #

      Une bière énorme pour l’Australienne!!!!!

      • Mr. Neil March 3, 2010 at 20:14 #

        Conor, FUNNY you should bring that up…

        We had a dubious encounter in a smal pub in Dinan, with a man brandishing a black turnip. (I’m not making that detai up, I’ll have you know.)

        The the lades ordered dainty wee kirs. I decided on an Affligem. Turnip man took one look at me (in my fedora – but it WAS raining) and said “English size?”

        God bless him… :-)

        • Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 3, 2010 at 21:10 #

          Mr Neil, was the turnip black originally, or black from being lovingly held for many years? Either way, I like the sound of Black Turnip Man.

          Do you wear your fedora whilst curling? If not, I think you should.

          • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 3, 2010 at 21:20 #

            Nope, it was a black RADISH! And naturally black… Though he did seem fairly loving about it. And I am laughing so hard at your fedora/curling comment!

      • Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 3, 2010 at 21:08 #

        I’m so using this phrase this weekend.

        • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 3, 2010 at 21:17 #

          Watch out – it might get you into trouble like the “wine tastes like horse saddle” one did!

        • Tami March 4, 2010 at 17:37 #

          Having seen Mr Neil in action on the curling course/field/track/rink, I too think he should wear his fedora!!

          • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 4, 2010 at 21:51 #

            Oh that’s right – you got to go to curling before the night degenerated…

  5. penny aka jeroxie March 2, 2010 at 17:48 #

    I like it all! Paris next year? Fingers cross!

  6. Tami March 2, 2010 at 18:04 #

    Mardi, thumbs up for the change to WordPress, now I get the posts con photographie!! Keep up the great work, your blogs are a welcome start to each day.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 2, 2010 at 20:41 #

      Thanks Tami – I am glad you care getting the posts AND the pics now! SO glad you enjoy them!

    • Tami March 3, 2010 at 18:05 #

      Hmm, couldn’t decide whether to go French or Spanish…………

      • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 3, 2010 at 21:18 #

        huh?

        • Tami March 4, 2010 at 17:34 #

          You had a reply offering to be my translator & thought it referred to my mixture of languages. Funnily enough, it’s not there anymore, so probably wasn’t even applicable to my post…….

          • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 4, 2010 at 21:51 #

            Oh I think I was offering to be someone else’s translator in Paris. You don’t need one!

  7. Nicole @ Making Good Choices March 2, 2010 at 20:08 #

    I love how you took pictures of everything – do you take it without the flash? I can’t bring myself to take pictures in restaurants even when I really like the meal. any tips? :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 2, 2010 at 20:41 #

      This is taken with my DSLR with no flash. We were lucky to be sitting in a corner table with great lighting so I was able to get good shots. I sometimes still feel a bit awkward taking pictures but this was a setting where I didn’t. Other places I will just use my point and shoot.

      • Mr. Neil March 3, 2010 at 20:15 #

        “We” were lucky Neil bought a new camera for blog use, we were…

  8. Meghan@traveleatlove March 2, 2010 at 20:08 #

    Sorry if this is a duplicate comment, but the photos are lovely, and everything looks delicious! :)

  9. Carolyn Jung March 2, 2010 at 21:24 #

    I am in serious swoon mode over that apple gratin. A perfect ending to a lovely evening.

  10. Dawn Brister (Whineaux) March 2, 2010 at 22:25 #

    This looks like my kind of place. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  11. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best March 2, 2010 at 23:14 #

    Fricassée de Coucou de Rennes aux Morilles sounds amazing. I love the Staub mini pots!

  12. Gourmantic March 2, 2010 at 23:18 #

    Definitely one to bookmark! I’d be interested in trying the fricassee. Those pots look divine!

    PS I have a bottle of Pousse Rapiere in my liquor cabinet, and a post on it in my drafts!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 3, 2010 at 05:36 #

      Ooooh – post about the Pousse rapière!!! I had understood that it was a blend of stuff though – what’s in yours?

      • Gourmantic March 5, 2010 at 18:11 #

        I have to dig it out and get working on the post. Been a while since I wrote about drinks.

        In the meantime you might like one of my popular articles on Pineau des Charentes. Worth a try if you can get it in your travels.

        • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 5, 2010 at 19:52 #

          Oh we have Pineau de Charentes in our liquor cabinet (you should SEE the insides of that – scary!) but will head on over to take a look at your post. You should def write about drinks soon!

  13. 5 Star Foodie March 2, 2010 at 23:29 #

    A wonderful meal! The Fricassée sounds sooo good and the desserts look excellent!

  14. Mr. Neil March 3, 2010 at 20:16 #

    Just wait everyone, until posts from our next French destination: Alsace!

  15. Fuji Mama March 3, 2010 at 20:54 #

    Oh drool! What a meal!

  16. Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 3, 2010 at 21:21 #

    OK, so maybe I should try some wine, declare it tastes of horse saddle, then say “une bière énorme pour l’Australienne”. Yes, surely a foolproof plan to appear both a wine connoisseur and well travelled. I’ll have the crowds eating (turnips) out of my hand!

  17. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 4, 2010 at 13:35 #

    What a wonderful meal… Loved all of your pictures, as always!

  18. Ek4zone March 23, 2010 at 17:10 #

    nice palace, nice info. thxz

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