One of the most popular wine-related tours in France that we perform is our Classic Paris Luxury Tour of Champagne, https://www.parisluxurytours.com/champagne-tours-france/. Because of it, we pass whole days in Reims and Epernay quite regularly, and for our clients we routinely recommend dining establishments that provide excellent French cuisine. Fine wine in Champagne and refined French cuisine are inseparables.
In Reims, for those who want a grand experience, we often book our clients at Michelin multi-starred restaurants such as the Relais & Chateau L’Assiette Champenoise (***), or Le Parc (**) at the Domaine Les Crayeres. For those looking for a less exalted but still memorable experience, we suggest Le Jardin, the upscale brasserie also at the Domaine Les Crayeres. It is located in the former winter garden of the Domaine’s park and in fair weather meals are served outdoors under large parasols.
In Epernay, we strongly recommend the Michelin single-starred Les Berceaux, which is a five-minute walk from the town’s illustrious Avenue de Champagne. It serves impeccable classic French cuisine. We also are very fond of the simple but excellent brasserie Le Kobus, which is a short walk from the railway station, behind the Cathedral.
To this wide range of quality dining experiences, we are delighted to add one that is more-modest-still, but which offers a wonderful and savoury experience in Italian cuisine in an establishment that is more of a trattoria than a restaurant: Il Gusto, which is quite close to both to the St. Remi Basilica and also the Veuve Clicquot and Taittinger wine estates, near the eastern edge of Reims.
Established five years ago, in the last year it has been run by Christian in the kitchen and Annaig providing service in the single, relatively small, dining room (Bookings are advisable.) Christian is a native of Calabria, and he is a wizard at providing truly authentic flavours of Italian cuisine, which are so hard to find in France. That is no-doubt the result of the incompatible French and Italian approaches to cuisine.
While both put a premium on the use of top-quality natural ingredients, in France those become the starting point for talented chefs to show their mastery in combining and transforming them with other ingredients drawn from the worlds of dairy and spirits. The Italian chef does as little of that as possible to let the flavours and aromas of the ingredients speak for themselves and shine.
Finding great Italian fare in France is even more of a challenge than it is in other countries because most of the chefs who prepare it succumb to the pressure of the French market to adapt Italian dishes to turn them into Gallic interpretations of them. The result is fare that is neither French nor Italian, and often impossibly heavy. Il Gusto shines in that respect, providing the real thing, and at very modest prices.
L’Assiette Champenoise: 03 26 84 64 64, closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Le Parc: 03 26 24 90 00, closed Monday and Tuesday
Le Jardin: 03 26 24 90 00, open every day
Les Berceaux: 03 26 55 28 84, closed Monday and Tuesday
Table Kobus, 03 26 51 53 53, closed Monday plus Thurs. & Sun. nights
Il Gusto: 03 26 36 00 50, closed Sunday plus Monday & Tuesday nights