The Best Restaurants in Marseille

Arnaud-de-GrammontOver the last few years, a wave of chefs has transformed Marseille's food scene, which is today is one of the most vibrant, varied and inventive in France.

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Pictured top left: Arnaud de Grammont, the chef at the Café des Epices.Click here to see our personal selection of some of the best restaurants in Marseille, including that one. Click here if you're looking for the restaurants serving the best bouillabaisse in Marseille.

In the 2014 Michelin guide, Marseille has a restaurant with three stars (Le Petit Nice). There are three more with one star each: L'Epuisette, Michel - Brasserie des Catalans and Alcyone, the restaurant at Marseille's new five-star hotel, the InterContinental Hôtel Dieu

Brasserie des Catalans had previously held a Michelin star but had lost it in 2008 before regaining it in 2013. Une Table, au Sud lost its Michelin star the same year after its founder-chef, Lionel Lévy, moved on to head up the kitchen at Alcyone.

But the paucity of stars is misleading: in truth, you can eat extremely well at even a modest restaurant. In 2012 leading chefs from Marseille, Aix en Provence and the surrounding area founded an association, Gourméditerrannée, to promote the region's gastronomy.

Initially formed to highlight the importance of food during the Marseille-Provence European Capital of Culture year in 2013, its mission continues with initiatives such as Food'In Sud (sic), a three-day conference and trade fair in Marseille in 2014 which attracted thousands of visitors, as well as educational and charity work and food festivals.

Gourmediterranee chefsOver 50 top names (some of them are pictured here) now belong to the organisation. One of its aims, as the name suggests, is to celebrate the diversity and cross-influences of cuisines from countries all around Mediterranean basin, Lévy told the Insider at Food'In Sud.

And Gourméditerranée is not just about starry restaurants, Lévy stressed: its members also include speciality outlets such as the Glacier du Roi ice-cream parlour or the Boîte à Sardine fishmongery and restaurant. There's even a roving street-food truck.

The distinctive style of cooking in Marseille focusses on simple, fresh, healthy Mediterranean ingredients: low on the meat, animal fats and heavy sauces of traditional French cuisine, high on vegetables and fish.

And it's all spiced up with influences from the city's successive waves of immigrants, in particular Italian, Spanish, Armenian, Turkish, North African, Caribbean and Chinese. Today, then, it goes without saying that Marseille is not just about bouillabaisse.

The visitor to Marseille today is really spoiled for choice, but there follows a selection of some of the best places to eat out: click on the links for full details and reviews.

Different as they are, each offers great food, value for money and its own unique selling point. This section will be added to regularly, so check back soon for new additions.

Click here to read about Marseille's best bars and cafés, many of which also serve food. And click here to view a complete and up-to-date list of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)

For visionary, avant-garde cuisine by (in our view) the best chef in town: AM par Alexandre Mazzia, 9 rue François Rocco, 13008 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 24 83 63

For super-fresh shellfish a stone's throw from the Old Port: Chez Toinou, 3 cours Saint Louis, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 54 08 79

For high-quality bistronomic eats on a peaceful square off the Old Port: On Dine, 22 rue de la Guirlande, 13002 Marseille. Tel (+33) 9 83 53 83 41

For good-value food in a hip designer brasserie near Saint Charles Station: Le Comptoir Dugommier, 14 boulevard Dugommier, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 62 21 21

For bold food and wine pairings by a former wine-maker: Vinonéo, 6 place Daviel, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 40 26

For high-quality, imaginative, affordable brasserie food in the centre of town: Le Café des Epices, 4 rue du Lacydon, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 91 22 69

For seafood straight from the fishmonger's slab (and not a can in sight): La Boîte à Sardine, 7 boulevard de la Libération, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 50 95 95

For moderately priced gourmet dining at Marseille-Provence airport: Chefs en Provence, Upper Level, Terminal 1, Marseille-Provence airport, Marignane 13700. Tel: (+33) 4 42 14 21 79

For a fantastic wine cellar and classic provençal food with a modern twist: 29 Place aux Huiles, 29 place aux Huiles, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 33 26 44.

For the only Michelin three-star restaurant in Marseille: Le petit Nice, Anse de Maldormé, Corniche JF Kennedy, 13007 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 59 25 92.

For stunning views over the Old Port: Le Chalet, Le Jardin de Pharo, 13007 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 52 80 11.

For 1950s retro-chic in a super-stylish modernist setting: Le Ventre de L'Architecte, The Radiant City, 3rd Floor, 280 boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 16 78 23.

For ambitious cuisine on the Old Port: Une Table, au Sud, 2 quai du Port, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 63 53.

For fine dining a stone's throw from the Old Town and Old Port: La Virgule, 27 rue de la Loge, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 90 91 11.

For classic brasserie fare by the Marseille-born superchef Michel Portos: Le Malthazar, 19 rue Fortia, 13006 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 33 42 46.

For stunningly fresh fish in a spectacular, remote setting: La Baie des Singes, Cap Croisette, Les Goudes, Marseilles 13008. Tel: (+33) 4 91 73 68 87.

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And the top eateries on our wish list...

So many restaurants, so little time! The Insider is doing her very best to munch her way tirelessly on your behalf through Marseille's restaurant scene, but there are always more addresses to try.

Here are some much talked-about spots we haven't got round to yet but still wanted to let you know about. We'll keep you posted just as soon as we've had the chance to test them.

Place Lorette, 3 place Lorette. North African flavoured restaurant and tea room on a lovely, peaceful square in the Panier.

Le Bar de la Relève, 41 rue d'Endoume, 13007 Marseille. Buzzing brand-new bistro near Saint Victor Abbey.

Le Grain de Sel, 9 rue de la Paix Marcel Paul, Marseille 13001. Multiple award- winning Spanish-influenced bistro on a side street on the south side of the Old Port.

La Cantinetta, 24 cours Julien, 13006 Marseille. Italian-style eats in a hyper-fashionable gathering place.

Le Goût des Choses, 4 place Notre Dame du Mont. 13006 Marseille. Also in the Cours Julien district, a bistro boasting international fusion cuisine.

L'Atelier de Georgiana, 19 rue Saint-Jacques, 13006 Marseille. Off the beaten tourist track but reportedly well worth the detour, a cooking school with mini-restaurant and super atmosphere.

Chez Fonfon, 140 Vallon des Auffes, 13007 Marseille. For a boat trip followed by bouillabaisse in the beautiful Vallon des Auffes.

Plus some insider tips for great fast eats...

Burgers: Burger's Banquet, 9, rue Molière, 13001 Marseille (new burger bar by the Opéra de Marseille).

Bagels: Dunk, 2 rue Saint-Thomé, 13002 Marseille (Canadian-run café, on the edge of the Panier near the MuCEM).

Pizza: Chez Etienne, 43 rue Lorette, 13002 Marseille, (quirky, old-established Marseille institution, also in the Panier).

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