carry le rouet la brise stepsWith its wide-angle views across a pretty harbour, its classic, quality French cuisine and very friendly welcome, La Brise is the best restaurant in the seaside resort of Carry le Rouet, just outside Marseille.

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It's also a bit of a well kept secret. The restaurant is not at all impressive from the outside and you could easily walk right past and wander instead into one of the numerous bars and bistros in Carry with tables on the waterfront.

La Brise is tucked away in an unlovely 1960s concrete residential apartment block. The back door, at the end of a yard off the main road into Carry, looks like a service entrance that will lead you straight into the kitchen (it doesn't).

The front door is at the top of an unassuming block of steps, pictured top left, leading up from the harbour.

Once inside the restaurant, though, it's a different story. The indoor room is decorated with quality fittings and table settings. The cosy décor is a little old school – but there's nothing wrong with that at all. We especially liked the elaborate model ships arrayed around the bar.

carry le rouet la brise terraceThe main glory, though is the two attractive outdoor terraces with splendid views across the port and out to sea. "Brise" means "breeze", but tables here are well sheltered from both wind and sun.

Over in the kitchen, Jean-François Andrieu has received a "Maitre-Restaurateur" award, which guarantees that the food will be prepared in-house using fresh local produce. No frozen meals!

On the other hand, this is by no stretch fancy gastronomic fare: La Brise describes itself modestly as a restaurant traditionnel. Broadly Mediterranean, the menu also features classic French cuisine from further afield, with some neat additional touches.

It's perhaps a little pricey for this level of cooking – but here on the coast of Provence you always pay a hefty premium for the sea view.

As usual in France, the prix fixe set menus represent much the best value: dining à la carte could very quickly push up the bill.

We sampled the more expensive of the two set menus (these are seasonal and change regularly). The four-course meal came with two extra complimentary appetisers - tiny, savoury olive cakes and a little cup of home-made pumpkin soup.

Starters were foie gras or ravioli of minced scallops in a creamy sauce. The mains were both grills: barbue (brill, a flatfish) or filet of goose breast. They came accompanied by several simply prepared vegetables, the same for both dishes.

carry harbour from la briseThe cheese course offered a choice of two local varieties, faisselle (a curd cheese) and an excellent locally produced goat's cheese, while a decent range of desserts included home-made chocolate mousse and a delicate moelleux (light sponge pudding) speckled with pistachios.

Portions throughout were generous, as was a glass of rosé de Provence. A well chosen wine list featured plenty of regional goodies, including our favourite Bodin wine from Cassis.

La Brise is family run and has a warm, informal atmosphere: it's certainly an upscale restaurant but not in any way a pretentious or stuffy one.

Service was a shade slow on the day of our visit, but there was no pressure to up and leave at the end of the meal and, with this view, pictured from our table, you’re more than happy to linger.

Visited October 2018

Where: La Brise, quai du Professeur Émile Vayssière, 13620 Carry le Rouet. Tel: (+33) 4 42 45 30 55. Carry le Rouet is about 30 minutes by rail from Marseille on the Blue Coast train line.

Photo credits: all images © SJ for Marvellous Provence.

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