My little village in the Charente has literally nothing other than a church and a Marie (the local mayor’s office where all the admin is done). We haven’t even got a boulangerie for a quick croissant fix. The nearest town to us is Mansle, about 10kms away, which has all the usual things you’d expect for a small town.
So when we go to eat out we always need to drive as there is nothing in walking distance. And if we’re looking for something close, which we can cycle to in the summer, we often end up in Verteuil.
There’s a great fish and chip van there most Friday nights and you can read all about that here >>>>
But if you’re looking for a restaurant rather than take away then we have three firm favourites for a variety of occasions.
La Sénéchalerie - the bar with a view in Verteuil
First on the list is a relative newcomer called La Sénéchalerie. During lockdown the owners of Le Bistrot des Douves, the bar in the square at Verteuil, decided to buy and renovate an old 14th century building. And they turned it into another bar and eatery. The result is nothing short of stunning.
It has the best setting in the village with the Château as its backdrop, making it incredibly popular during the summer. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a carafe of rose or indulge in the local food the amazing views draw you in. it’s a wonderful place to sit outside as everywhere you look you can see the Château.
But it’s not just the outside that draws you in. The renovation to the building inside is beautiful too and is quintessentially French. It’s retained many original features, such as its period fireplaces, spiral staircase, and mullioned windows. There is also mezzanine area for extra dining.
They often have events such as quizzes, live music and even artist competitions such as the one we saw in the summer. I had quite a chat with the artist in the picture below. It turned out he was a lawyer by day and an artist by night and weekend. I don’t think he could look more French if he tried.
If you’re looking to eat there I can recommend the tasty Charcuterie Boards piled high with cured meats, cheeses, bread and accompaniments. They also do a full menu of hot food too. So all in all it’s a great spot to drink in the rural French countryside.
Café Portebleue - in the square in Verteuil
Next on the list is Café Portebleue. It’s a more traditional style brasserie with both French and English options on the menu. Located just off the main square before you walk up the hill towards La Sénéchalerie there is plenty of parking. The chef and owner is English, but has been in France a long time and speaks fluent French.
In the summer, all the windows are flung open and you can enjoy that lovely feeling of bringing the outside i. The setting is lovely with a fresh light blue décor and wooden tables spaced out to give you plenty of room.
They do a great fish & chips but my favourite is probably the Duck breast dauphinoise. Try following this with Café Gourmand, where you get 3 miniature desserts and a coffee to accompany it. Perfect if you can’t make up your mind which dessert you want.
The service is always really good and I have never had a bad meal there.
Jeux de Pots - a wonderful restaurant in Verteuil
Our final pick of restaurants in Verteuil is a quaint little French restaurant called Jeux de Pots. And this one is definitely more for special occasions. The food is out of this world and is French cuisine at its best.
Combine this with the location and you have the perfect combination. Sat on the edge of the Charente river, it’s the ideal spot for a bit of relaxed people watching accompanied by great food.
Inside, if you’re looking for a restaurant with character then look no further. Everything is mismatched but in the best possible way. None of the chairs are the same and the chinaware is all different too, which all adds to the charm.
But there is nothing mismatched about the menu. Florence and her chef have put together a selection of courses that can only be described as culinary art. All paired with a selection of great French wine you really can’t go far wrong.
Add to this the French music playing softly in the background the ambience is complete. I’ve only ever eaten there for dinner so I’m not sure about the lunch menu, but if it’s as good as the evening then you won’t be disappointed.