If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, you’re in for a culinary treat (among many other treats, of course!). The French sure know how to cook and you can almost guarantee that they’ll be using fresh, local produce in their wonderful creations. Even the very name of a French dish can get your mouth watering before you’ve even tasted a morsel! You’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in this region; we’re going to take a look at just five of the top ones.

Les Calicots Restaurant in Fabrezan. Hidden away in one of the many twisty-turny streets in the beautiful medieval village of Fabrezan, this restaurant has a fairly inauspicious entrance. However, its beauty soon becomes apparent once you’re inside the door. Fashioned from an old haberdashery shop, the restaurant is light and bright with some fabulous stone walls. An open-top area has been added on so you can dine al fresco on those lovely warm, balmy summer evenings. The food options are quite extensive and, in keeping with most restaurants in this area of France, you can choose from a few table d’hôte menus or from the more expensive à la carte menu. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed. There are so many lovely and varied items and the portions are a good size too. Don’t miss out on dessert; the omnipresent crème brûlée comes highly recommended, as does the tiramisu. Select a wine from the local region to accompany your meal and be surprised by the reasonable price!

La Luciole Restaurant in the quaint little village of Luc-Sur-Orbieu is definitely one not to be missed. It’s slightly off the beaten track but well worth the journey. Family-run, in keeping with a lot of restaurants in France, it’s open for lunch and dinner most days. Their website boasts that everything is made ‘on the spot from raw products’. The proof of the pudding, as the saying goes, is in the eating… And the eating certainly bears this out as your taste buds are assaulted with many a delicious flavor. When it comes to dessert, the ‘dessert du moment’ is definitely worth asking about. If you’re lucky enough to visit this restaurant during fine weather, then definitely ask for a table outside on their terrace. The terrace is actually part of the village square so you will be entertained by all sorts of comings and goings from the local villagers and, if it’s evening time, the lizards scurrying up and down the walls of nearby houses! The host lady is very congenial and friendly; be sure to strike up a conversation with her.

Le Clos de Mauzac can be found in another hidden away little village called Camplong-d’Aude, close to Lagrasse. It’s run by a young couple and offers fine Mediterranean cuisine in a pleasing à la mode setting. The interior features some interesting abstract paintings and there’s a lovely outdoor terrace with fabulous views for fine weather dining. The menu is not very extensive, but you can tell that preparing the dishes is a labor of love as the taste of everything is exquisite and the presentation superb. Open for lunch and dinner most days, this restaurant offers good value for money and of course boasts several of the locally produced wines.

Les Trois Grâces is located in the center of the beautiful medieval village of Lagrasse – one of ‘les plus beaux villages de France’. Close to the village’s ancient abbey, this restaurant is part of an inn so you can opt to stay the night too. The restaurant itself is quite small, but it has great character, featuring some old brick walls and a lovely flagstone floor, combined with modern, comfortable furniture and colorful paintings adorning the walls. There’s an attractive courtyard off the restaurant, beautifully decked out with plants and flowers. Select from one of the table d’hôte menus or the à la carte – but be careful with the latter, as this can rack the price up a fair bit. There are many dishes to choose from and the ones sampled have all been superb. Be sure to leave room for dessert! After your meal, take a stroll along the little river that runs close by the abbey.

Last but by no means least, let’s take a look at the superb Café Milo in the wonderful little village of Termes. Not strictly a restaurant – more of a café (as indeed the name implies!) – but one that cannot be left out of this review. Termes, first of all, is a must-see place if you’re in the region. It’s a small, picturesque village dominated by the ruins of the Château de Termes, which overlooks the village from its domineering position. It’s worth the climb up to this château, which offers breathtaking panoramic views. The village itself appears a little sleepy, but this myth is dispelled once you encounter the delightful owner of the Café Milo – Nathalie. Her laughter and friendly banter brings the whole village to life! She offers a very limited menu, but it is all prepared and cooked from scratch by Nathalie herself and you will not be disappointed by the unusual combinations she uses, which result in the tastiest of meals. The cafe is re-locating in 2018 – remaining in the village but moving a little further up the road to allow for more seating inside and out. Don’t miss out on this little-hidden gem!

To whet your appetite, these are just five of the many wonderful restaurants that can be found in the lush region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Try them out and, if you’re planning a visit to this area, make sure you visit these five breathtaking castles or take a ride on the famous Red Train in Old Cathar Country!