As we live in Tours (Loire Valley, France) for more than 5 years, we decided to try one of our nearby restaurant as a week-end excursion. Our intuition drove us to "Le 36" , the gourmet restaurant in the Hôtel Choiseul on the Loire river quay in Amboise, only 15 minutes from Tours by train. The Trip-Advisor comments were puzzling: either very enthusiastic or very disappointed! We will try to understand this contradiction at the end of this review.
Reception, setting of the dining room, beautiful view on the river, attention and service, were High class! We choose champagne for apéritif and we ordered a three courses lunch all made of items in the second page: "Variations on the basic menu - with cost supplements". Sauté Foie Gras gently salted by tender fingers of local river eel, Young pigeons from Rakan and, for dessert, a biscuit Breton with chocolate & segments of mandarine. Everything was of a excellent level of French Cuisine: both traditional and creative. Nothing was too salted, all items were very well purchased and perfectly cooked. Both sauces were divine. If we do not give the five stars of "top level" it is just to encourage the Chef to keep aiming higher and higher. And, also, to reflect our only very small remark: to our personal taste, the jelly between the chocolate and the peeled (bravo!) segments of mandarine, was not necessary and rater tasteless. Why not some Touraine safran to give it some spicy perfume? Or nothing at all, often less is better...
The local red wine, sold by the glass, was a 2010 Côt (the local name of the Malbec that has been grown "for ever" in the Loire Valley), perfectly raised and taken care of by Isabelle & Xavier Frissant, a brilliant example of the qualities of this wine.
We still do not understand the harsh critics. We made the hypothesis that some clients might have been troubled by the presentation of the menu, with its "low price basic formule" and its "variations with supplements". The restaurant Web-Site put some emphasis on the low-price basic formule. Maybe some clients have been attracted by this "calling price" and, later, shocked by the bill? This hypothesis is probably wrong: How could someone not realize that such comfort, stylish service and high quality cuisine could be available with more than a simple version for this basic price?
Nevertheless, maybe could we advise the restaurant management to use the accepted formula: "Prices start from ..." . Anyhow, cheap formula or more expensive menu, do not hesitate to try the "Restaurant Le 36" in Amboise !
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