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

UPDATE, July 2019. Sadly the restaurant was involved in a huge fire in June 2019 🙁 It’s currently closed for renovations.

54 thoughts on “La Mère Pourcel, Dinan (France)”

  1. Glad you liked it 😀 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. 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!


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