Popular for its take on traditional French cooking and the freshest seafood, Le Petit Port overlooks the ocean, where the coast meets Calanques National Park.
We met 15 years ago in Tahiti, of all places. French Fanny was working at a resort and I was passing through, enjoying a tropical stopover between LA and Sydney. It was the start of a globetrotting friendship, ignited by a shared love of food, fun and sunsets.
In July, when I was in Marseille to embark on a Mediterranean cruise, Fanny travelled almost 900 kilometres by TGV rail from Paris to join me for the weekend. I left the advance restaurant reservations to her.
"Let's go to Le Petit Port," she said. "It's a bit far, but it's worth it."
Popular for its take on traditional French cooking and the freshest seafood, Le Petit Port overlooks the ocean, where the coast meets Calanques National Park. It's about a 45-minute drive from the centre of Marseille to the restaurant, an Uber tour that winds us past packed beaches, summer carnivals and grand mansions where the old money of the city still lives.
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When we arrive at the restaurant for the early dinner seating, sun-worshippers are still laying out on the rocks below. The refreshing scent of sea spray dances with the appetising aromas wafting from the kitchen.
A chalkboard advertises the day's catch, a fisherman's bounty of mussels, octopus, sea bream, lobster and more. We tear into excellent French bread smeared with salty butter and order shared starters of fried calamari and chickpea panisse with truffle mayonnaise. A juicy fillet of sea bass lands on Fanny's plate for main course, while I savour a lemony tuna piccata with creamy risotto and fresh green salad. And, who can resist French dessert? Not me. I order a molten chocolate cake, with two spoons.
We toast to friendship with an excellent local rosé, to knowing a person for many years, through the many seasons of their life.
French Fanny was right. It was a bit far, but it was worth it.