Une Table, au Sud restaurant, MarseilleUne Table, au Sud is right on the Old Port, but it could be a million miles away from the tacky tourist traps lining the harbour.

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You might easily miss the entrance, a discreet doorway to the left of the La Samaritaine brasserie as you face away from the port.

A spiral staircase leads to the elegant, restful curved dining area on the first floor: there is no outdoor seating, though the tables by the window offer fine views across the water to Notre Dame de la Garde.

Its original founder, the Toulouse-born Lionel Lévy, trained with the superchef Alain Ducasse and launched Une Table, au Sud in 1999, just before the opening of the high-speed TGV line from Paris in 2001 made Marseille a voguish destination.

Lévy's friends, he recalls, thought he was crazy at the time, but the restaurant became a roaring success, earning a Michelin star in 2004 and in 2006 Lévy opened a spin-off, La Virgule, just down the road (this second restaurant has since closed down).

Une Table, au Sud restaurant, MarseilleAt the end of 2012 Lévy left Une Table, au Sud to head up the kitchen at the InterContinental Hôtel Dieu, the new five-star hotel which opened in Marseille in 2013. His deputy, Ludovic Turac, took over the reins and the restaurant's Michelin star disappeared along with Lévy.

We - the Insider plus, on this occasion, two professional chefs - went back for a meal at Une Table, au Sud in July 2013, to see how Turac was faring. I'd dined there several times while Lévy was running the show and it was always a treat, but standards have slipped judging by this more recent experience.

The restaurant still offers a set-price lunch, which seems at first like good value. But the dish of the day isn't posted outside the restaurant; only after you have entered the first-floor dining room, sat down and been given the menu do you know what's on offer (there's no choice). And if you don't like that, eating à la carte soon becomes much more expensive.

Our starters - stuffed courgette / zucchini flowers, and red tomatoes in a green tomato gazpacho - were fine if unremarkable, as was the fish (hake and sea bass).

But the devil was in the detail (or lack thereof). The dishes came, unimpressively, with the same garnish: brousse du Rove goat's cheese for both the starters, celery purée for the fish.

Service was attentive, an English-language menu was available and the staff spoke English too. However waiters did not make a note who had ordered what, and had to ask around when the dishes arrived at the table - a casualness that would or should not pass muster in a top-class restaurant.

We had to ask for tap water (served automatically by many French restaurants) and a complimentary amuse-bouche to start the meal off would have not gone amiss. Wine by the glass was vastly overpriced and the coffee that was meant to follow the meal never arrived.

News for Une Table au Sud in Marseille In February 2015 Une Table, au Sud and Turac earned a first star in the Michelin restaurant guide. So either we were unlucky or things have improved enormously and Turac - the youngest chef in France to hold a Michelin star- has got into his stride since our last visit. Maybe it's time to take another look!

Visited April 2002, June 2010 and July 2013

Where: 2 quai du Port, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 63 53.

How to get there: Metro (line 1, stop Vieux Port).

Website for Une Table, au Sud

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