In mid-February I returned to Toulouse, France, on another work trip. Much of that trip I was quite busy, and given the early winter sunsets, I didn’t manage much sightseeing. However, several dinners with colleagues were quite enjoyable.
After a long day traveling our group arrived at our hotel, the Novotel Toulouse Centre Wilson. I had a slightly upgraded room that was quite nice with a very comfortable bed and plenty of outlets for charging electronics. The wall between the bathroom and bedroom was a window that could be made opaque with a switch on the wall. I had a courtyard facing room that was quiet.
Overall, my biggest complaint was the general brightness of the room in the morning, but that was fairly minor. I definitely preferred this hotel to the Hotel Mercure Toulouse Compans Caffarelli where I stayed in my first visit due to the more modern decor and better location to the city center.
Since it was our first night, our group was hungry and not interested in an involved dinner so we headed to La Grand Pizzeria. As the name implies, they offer pizzas as well as some other Italian dishes. I ordered the Prosciutto topping and the table rose wine.
The crust was light and nicely charred, quite nice as a pick-me-up after our travels.
Following dinner I took a quick walk around the center of Toulouse and captured a few night shots.
Fontaine de Wilson; Sant-Aubin
After a day of meetings we needed to find a place for dinner and during the deliberations I suggested Winter Garden. Thankfully, the hotel concierge was able to get us a reservation since the restaurant was packed by the time we arrived at 8:30! We had a good waiter who helped several folks through the menu and made many suggestions. I started with a goat cheese cracker, which had a tasty, fairly light goat cheese that wasn’t overpowering. For my entree I ordered the beef steak and their signature gratin dauphinois. It was hands-down the best potato dish of the trip, light and buttery, it could not have been good for me! Though a little nerve-wracking to suggest a place I hadn’t visited before Winter Garden was the favorite meal of several colleagues on the trip.
After an all-day conference a colleague and I tried Le Bar de la Lune – nice little beer bar with lots (~90) of Belgian beers by the bottle, usually between 6 and 8 euros. The bartender was friendly and insisted on bringing our beer to our table, plus a small bowl of nuts. They open a little later than normal, from 7p- 2am. In all we made three trips so we definitely liked it! I enjoyed several Belgian faves including: Westmalle tripel, Omer, and a Jacobins Gueuze.
Later that evening most of the group went to Le Bon Vivre for dinner. Conveniently located next to our hotel, this restaurant was already busy at 8:15p. They have a large table set up in a completely separate room (only accessed by going outside) that we had to ourselves that evening. Appetizers were ordered for the table – I focused on the prosciutto, naturally. For my entree I choose the beef stew. Unfortunately, it was a bit dry, and the two boiled potatoes didn’t have much flavor either. The chocolate canelé were quite nice and a good ending.
Les Caves de la Marechale is, unsurprisingly, in a basement cave with a beautiful curved brick ceiling. Given our party size the waiters brought out two of each appetizer, so I tried an awesome Roquefort tarte and the Gateau de volaille au caramel de porto (poultry gateu with port caramel). For my entree I ordered the Pave de biche sauce aux morilles (deer w/ mushroom sauce) which was excellent, though a bit underdone in the center for my taste. For dessert I went with the the Coupe melissa – coconut ice cream, hot chocolate, and coconut flakes – really tasty, best dessert of trip. For dinner we choose a Bourgogne pinot noir and a post dinner Armagnac. Les Caves was a nice experience overall.