Bites

From Folkestone to Dieppe: where to eat the best French food on both sides of the Channel

Folkestone Sandgate Hotel, Wellington Terrace, The Esplanade, Sandgate (01303 220444). Tue-Sun lunch, Tue-Sat dinner. Between Folkestone and Hythe, this Victorian hotel overlooking the beach saves a journey to France, or breaks it. There's nothing to match it between Margate and Weymouth. The restaurant, La Terrasse, has stunning cooking from Samuel Gicqueau (ex Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons), who runs the hotel with his English wife. He uses locally caught seafood in inspired, skilful modern classics. Weekday lunch is three courses for pounds 19.50; From Friday night to Sunday lunch there is a five-course menu for pounds 28.50. A la carte is around pounds 45 without the wine. Cheeses are from Philippe Olivier, just across the Channel. Why cross it?

Boulogne La Matelote, 80 Blvd Ste-Beuve (00 33 3 21 30 17 97). Mon-Sat lunch, dinner daily. Boulogne's most expensive restaurant is grand, well-established after 19 years, and just over the river from the ferry terminal. Not, of course, for cutting-edge cooking, and with menus at Fr175 (pounds 18), Fr235 (pounds 24.50) and Fr355 (pounds 37), or a la carte at around Fr300 (pounds 31), it's not cheap, but guarantees against disappointment. Turbot is a speciality.

Dieppe Le Marmite Dieppoise, 8 Rue St-Jean (00 33 2 35 84 24 26). Tue- Sun lunch, Tue-Sat dinner. Down a side street, this typically homely restaurant has for more than 30 years specialised in the dish that gives the restaurant its name, a selection of seafood: sole, mussels, langoustines, brill, monkfish and scallops poached and served in sauce with potatoes. Most people have this and the warm tarte aux pommes for Fr175 (pounds 18), but you can eat less for from Fr100 (pounds 10.50).

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