France has a long and proud culinary history, and Marseille is one of the oldest cities in France. Various cultures have left their mark on Marseille: The Greeks and Romans held sway over the city in their prime, and recent immigration from North Africa has influenced the local cuisine, resulting in a unique Mediterranean cuisine.
One of the hallmarks of Marseille’s food culture is the Bouillabaisse fish stew, a mixture of seafood ranging from mullet to mussels, delivered with a rich mixture of vegetables. It’s certainly an acquired taste, but any French foodie will be familiar with that. However, you should avoid cheap versions of Bouillabaisse: anything above 30 Euros should give you the required taste and texture that made this dish famous.
Other local dishes include Daube, a beef stew with wine and Le Grand Aioli: Cod with an assortment of vegetables and seafood, garnished with garlic mayonnaise. Any visitor to Marseille should give these local delicacies a try.
Le Café des Épices
One of the few bistros in Marseille when it was founded, Le Café des Épices adopts the Mediterranean stylings of local cuisine, mixed with head chef Arnaud Carton de Grammont’s work in Uruguay, the US and Lyon. Grilled turbot with a puree of escalivada (a Catalan dish of aubergines, peppers, garlic, onions, and olive oil) and slow-roasted free-range pork with girolles and butternut squash puree show off a cooking style that’s consistently precise, generous and inventive.
Located on the stylish rue de Paradis, this popular brasserie is where well-heeled locals take a break from shopping over beautifully prepared Mediterranean comfort food. The great looking setting comprises an open kitchen and dining room with a found-in-the-attic decor of factory lamps and flea-market chairs and tables overlooking a courtyard garden. The menu changes often but runs to dishes such as panisses (fried bars of chickpea-flour), caponata (a Sicilian compote of aubergines, onions and peppers garnished with capers and pine nuts), and grilled rougets with tapenade.
Pizzeria Chez Etienne
After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, the port of Marseille boomed and draw migrants from around the Mediterranean: especially Italy. In Le Panier, the city’s oldest neighbourhood, the Cassaro family’s simple but much-loved restaurant offers a delicious time capsule of how southern Italian cooking evolved in Marseille, with excellent wood-oven-baked pizzas, cuttlefish cooked with garlic and parsley, good steaks, and rosé de Provence to wash it all down. Service can be gruff, but don’t take it personally they treat everyone that way.
Built on a craggy stone point jutting out into the Mediterranean, this casually elegant sea shack of a restaurant offers views over the sea as well as some of the finest seafood cooking in the south of France. Chef Guillaume Sourrieu, who trained with Bernard Loiseau, among others, works exclusively with the local small-boat catch of the day to create signature dishes such as his shrimp terrine and slow-cooked sea bass, along with local seafood stews/soups like bouillabaisse and the lesser-known bourride.
Marseille, like many Mediterranean coastal cities, mixes up the standard cuisine in the region by importing flavours and textures from around the world, and its long history makes the city truly unique for its various interpretations of French cooking classics. Marseilles is a popular stopping point on a superyacht cruise, with You Charter Direct offering several cruises that pass by the area and other coastal attractions along the Mediterranean Sea.