A recent family trip uncovered a few little gems amongst the very average in France and Italy. Also see other recommendations in my posting below for "Cinqueterre - Santa Margherita and Rapollo".
DINARD - Eastern part of Brittany and close to St Malo, Mont St Michel and Dinan, all fascinating places to visit. Try...Dinard Golf! (The second oldest golf club in France after GC de Pau.) Yes, terrific food and open to the public for lunch, and a substantial lunch was offered for 17 E comprising main and dessert with very reasonably priced wine. Our group sampled steak bearnaise, duck and fish (on separate plates!)and the only disappointment was a stringy old duck - the steak was wonderful and even now my 11yo still asks me if I remember the bearnaise and steak at Dinard.
Sea views along with the mandatory links views from the top floor of the golf club. Finish off with a fine walk around the coast back to the carpark.
DINARD GOLF, Bd de la Houle, 35800 St Briac Sur Mer
Restaurant: 02 99 88 30 55.
BIDART - now almost a suburb of Biarritz and close to the Spanish border. Lovely surf views are had at La Tantina de la Playa on the beach at Bidart. Food from the Basque region and inexpensive with mains costing 12-15 E. Top location if the sun shines and I would imagine very busy in the height of summer.
LA TANTINA DE LA PLAYA, Plage du Centre, 64210 Bidart.
05 59 26 53 56.
POMPEI - Now surely a tourist magnet like Pompei would offer dodgy eating. Well, be prepared for a big surprise. Nowhere in Italy did we eat poorly (and we did not splurge) - but that statement, sad to say, does not hold for France!
Directly opposite the front door of Pompei lies Camping Pompei and what a pleasant lunch our family of 4 had for not many euros. Wood-fired oven pizzas of variety and quality, fine pastas and inexpensive wines. From memory,like most restaurants in the smaller cities pizzas around 6-8 E, pastas 5-7 E and mains 10-12 E. Another big recommendation, plus you can park inexpensively there before entering the ruins.
CAMPING POMPEI, Via Plinio 113, Pompei Scavi (and do not bother heading to Pompei (the modern city) when you arrive by car - look for Pompei Scavi)
081 862 6910.
OSTIA - the old Roman seaport 20 minutes drive west of Rome. For those unprepared to risk 1.Driving in Rome 2. Finding (and paying) for a 48 or 72 hour park and 3.Mortgaging property to fund a hotel in Rome, look to Ostia. An easy (and regular) train trip to Rome in under 30 minutes, hotels at half the price, and many fine, inexpensive restaurants.
Two that we enjoyed in Ostia were Al Pontile and Gruppo. Both offered the usual, and enjoyable, fare of the casual Italian restaurant with the almost regulatory 5-7 E for pastas, and 10-15E for mains.
GRUPPO, Via della Stazione Vecchia 9a, 06 5601 949.
AL PONTILE, Viale della Marina 43, 06 5624 192.
Please email me for any further information as I am only too pleased to help after the good advice I received here myself.