We found Amboise France to be a perfect base for visiting the chateaux of the Loire Valley. This is an area that is quintessentially French. There are gorgeous landscapes peppered with castles and vineyards strung along meandering rivers. There is unexpected grandeur in the midst of small villages and bustling cities. Best of all there is amazing food and wine being served in amazing restaurants in Amboise France!
You won’t have any trouble finding great places to eat in Amboise.
Restaurants in Amboise France
Our favorite dining experience during our entire time in France was at the restaurant L’ilot in Amboise. The host at our bed and breakfast asked if we would like to take a dinner reservation at L’ilot and we agreed not knowing anything about the place or what to expect.
We were SO pleasantly surprised!
L’ilot is a charming, small restaurant with the kitchen located right in the middle of the dining area. A counter with seating surrounds the kitchen on three sides and there are tables around that. We were happily seated on barstools at the counter where we could see everything going on in the kitchen. The menu is limited to two choices of appetizer, entree, and dessert. The menu changes daily based upon the whim of the chef and which products look good to him at the market that day. The wine list is small, local, and excellent. My husband and I each choose a different item from each category which meant we got to have a taste of everything!
Yes, we are a bit greedy that way!
The staff consisted of the chef, Olivier, who worked closely with his hostess/sommelier/sous-chef/right hand woman, and there was also a young woman who ran dishes out to customers and cleared them away. Everyone was engaging and the hostess was a gem who was excellent at helping you to pair just the right wine with your dish.
It was fascinating to watch Olivier juggle all the different dishes coming and going in the kitchen and to see his methods. He is very organized and serious about his work, but was also humorous with a great sense of showmanship. You felt that he loved what he was doing.
The food was excellent and that combined with the atmosphere made for a very special and memorable evening. After dessert there was applause and bravos and thank yous and hand shakes all around.
If you plan to visit Amboise L’ilot should definitely be on your list of restaurants to try! They are open for lunch and dinner and the price is moderate.
Patisserie Bigot sits in the shadow of the walls of the Chateau d’Amboise with outdoor seating on a beautiful and bustling street.
Patisserie Bigot has been run by the same family for more than 100 years. It is a beautiful little shop which started as a bakery back in 1913. As you might imagine the pastries are amazing. They also have chocolates made with 100% pure cocoa butter, ice cream, and a tea room. Everything is handcrafted and beautiful and delicious.
It is a perfect place for a mid morning snack or an afternoon pick-me-up. Of course you should go to Patisserie Bigot to enjoy the food, but also go in order to get a feel for the history of the place. As you sit and taste and watch the world pass by you get a sense that many good memories have been made in this place…then you realize that you are also making your own.
This is a wonderful place to eat in Amboise!
L’Ecluse is one of the newer restaurants in town but it has certainly made a splash! It began to receive glowing reviews and recommendations from the moment it opened in 2017. It is situated on the banks of the La Masse river just near an ecluse or river lock. It is only a short walk from the town center.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating but if the weather is nice the alfresco seating is wonderful. There are willow trees around and you will have your feet in the grass.
The menu is small with only three options in each of the categories of starters, mains, and desserts. Everything is lovingly prepared and changes often because of their commitment to sourcing as much as possible from local producers. The staff was so kind and knowledgeable and a great help with wine pairings.
I highly recommend that when you are looking for a place to eat in Amboise that you try L’Ecluse!
I think that Les Arpents might be one of the best restaurants in Amboise as far as the quality to price ratio. The food is excellent and surprisingly less expensive than other Amboise restaurants of the same caliber.
We very much enjoyed our meal here. The service was warm and friendly and helpful! The atmosphere was comfortable, happy and a little bit hip. The food was amazing. It was presented as beautifully as a Michelin starred restaurant and after the first bite we knew we were in for a treat. Every course was wonderful. The menu, like many of the restaurants in the Loire Valley, was small and based on locally sourced meats and produce.
This was one of our favorite places to eat in Amboise!
Chateau De Pray
If you want to go gourmet then this is the restaurant for you. It is located just outside of Amboise in a luxurious chateau where you also might want to stay during your visit to the area. The Chateau De Pray has a Michelin star and it is truly a treat to dine there. The chef, Arnaud Philippon, has trained and worked at other Michelin starred restaurants. His cuisine is described as “subtle, punchy and original.”
The chateau and its grounds are something to see, so beautiful! I would describe the restaurant decor as rustic elegance. However, there is nothing rustic about the food it is refined and beautiful and every bite is delicious.
Le Lion D’Or:
Le Lion D’Or has a Michelin mention and the chef, a native of Amboise, seems to be fairly inventive. He serves what I might call nouveau French cuisine. We were really looking forward to eating here, but the food was a bit erratic. I had a tuna starter that was melt in my mouth, stunningly delicious, followed by a very average entree.
The wine list was a plus as it was full of local wines. Sadly, the staff was not well-educated about the list.In fact, the most disappointing part of the meal was the service and atmosphere. The service was slow. No, not French-slow. I understand and appreciate French-slow. This felt more like, “I don’t care” slow. It was indifferent and occasionally inept.
The dining room was very quiet which sounds nice, but wasn’t. There was no music playing softly in the background. Nothing at all. It was quiet to the point of discomfort, quiet that made you feel uncomfortable to have a conversation. Unfortunately I can’t recommend Le Lion D’Or as a great place to eat in Amboise.
Overall the food in Amboise was some of the best we had in France. There were so many restaurants in Amboise from which to use and many of them were highly recommended.
However, no matter where you eat in Amboise I suggest that you take some time after dinner to walk the pretty and well lit streets. Amboise is a beautiful town especially in the evening when the crowds have dispersed and the streets are quiet.
Read more here about our two weeks in France.
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