Virtuoso Life - September/October 2017 - 94
On the Table
Left to right: Farmers' market finds in Cours Julien; grilled mackerel with pickled radish, onion, and cauliflower at Sépia; and Gaspard's
Pisco Flower, a twist on the pisco sour, with elderflower, rhubarb, and lemongrass.
the restaurant's petite garden - and cod
perched atop a celery root-and-zucchini "risotto." Even Sépia's name is local: It means
"squid ink" in French, Italian, and Arabic -
an homage to Marseille's multiculturalism and to the cuttlefish and calamari that
swim in the Mediterranean. Pick a table in
the minimalist-chic dining room, where
wraparound windows dish up views of the
city and sea, or on the straw-shaded terrace.
Or settle in on the patio for parkside apéros -
the French predinner drink ritual. 2 rue Vauvenargues, Saint-Victor.
pizza, topped with fresh anchois (elsewhere,
this Marseille classic typically comes with
tinned anchovies) and drizzled with garlicand basil-infused olive oil. Like "la Bonne
Mère," the statue of a golden woman who
watches over Marseille from the hilltop
Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica nearby,
Angelmann oversees the room, filling glasses with earthy nero d'Avola and handing
out bonbons to kids. "All the wallets are the
same here," she says, praising pizza's appeal
across economic strata. Reservations are
a must. 16 rue Fort du Sanctuaire, Vauban;
"I like to wake around 7:30 am,
grab croissants at a nice boulangerie, have breakfast on a
small beach in or near Marseille,
then go snorkeling. Pointe Rouge
is an amazing beach, especially
before the crowds arrive (around
11 am in summer). Your travel advisor can arrange a small boat to
take you to beaches that aren't
accessible by car or on foot."
- Edwige Chevallier, owner,
W Travel France
LA BONNE MÈRE
With its strong Italian ties, Marseille may
rival New York for number of pizza parlors.
Everyone is treated like a friend at this 25seat joint run by childhood sweethearts
Jérémy Piazza and Mahéva Angelmann.
Sporting a "La Bonne Mère" trucker hat and
chile-pepper-printed clogs, Piazza, the pizzaiolo with a last name to match, explains
that his Naples-meets-Rome-style pies are
all about simple, quality ingredients. Eat his
words by ordering the delectable anchovy
V I RT U O S O L I F E
Hunting-themed wallpaper, vintage photos,
antique plates, and graffiti art create a hip,
homey ambience here. The modern grandpa
style (pépé means "granddad" in French) is
an apt setting for chef-owner Jérôme Benoît's electric, convivial cuisine. He crafts
tasty, inventive combos, such as grilled
artichokes with mint, olives, and lardo di
Colonnata, or steak tartare with green peas
and bottarga. Known for his "amphibian"
food, where the land (meat) meets the sea
(fish), Benoît has such a knack with sauces
that local fans call him the "homme de jus,"
the juice man. His picturesque plates -
sprinkled with flowers and swooshed with
sauces - reflect his past as an art dealer. On
warm nights, dine on the sidewalk terrace
while watching Marseillais stroll by. Benoît
wants diners to eat, drink, linger, and laugh,
just like at home. (Sister restaurant Mémé is
slated to reopen in Longchamp this fall as
well.) 15 cours Julien, Cours Julien.