Tuesday 29 August 2023


I was really inspired by the gutsy and diverse flavour I got to experience in Marseille and it has definitely influenced my cooking since I have been back in not so hot or sunny London.

Mackerel appears to be a particularly popular fish over there, and to be quite honest it had really never been on my radar to cook with/ but that all changed while in Marseille where I had it at least twice for dinner and this rather unglamorous fish was transformed into something quite special when combined with the right ingredients!

In this dish the mackerel, pan fried for a maximum crispy skin, is paired with more Mediterranean ingredients - capers, fennel and olives and the most moorish anchovy breadcrumbs, to make the most flavourful, light and sophisticated pasta supper.

Perfect to keep summer alive on your plate just a little bit longer and a new favourite.



  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 heads fennel, tough outer layer removed, cut into 5mm slices, fronds reserved
  • 500g spaghetti
  • ½ tsp dried chilli
  • 20 black olives, stoned and halved
  • 1 ½ tbsp capers
  • 4 tbsp vermouth or white wine (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 sustainably sourced mackerel (or plaice) fillets 
  • 1 handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly bashed
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 60g breadcrumbs

  • First, make the breadcrumbs. 
  • In a frying pan, warm the oil and garlic over a medium-low heat for about three minutes, until the garlic begins to colour and turn wrinkly. 
  • Turn the heat up to medium and add the anchovies, squishing them into the pan. 
  • Add the breadcrumbs, tossing them in the anchovy oil until they’re nicely coated and beginning to colour – three to four minutes. 
  • Once they’re a nice toasty colour, take off the heat and leave to cool in the pan.
  • Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and add three tablespoons of oil. 
  • Add the garlic and fennel, and cook gently until they begin to soften – eight to 10 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, put a pan of salted water on to boil and cook the pasta.
  • Once the fennel is soft and the garlic fragrant, add the chilli, olives, capers and white wine. 
  • Let it bubble away for a minute or two and reduce to a sauce, season, then take off the heat until the pasta is ready.
  • Once the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving half a cup of the cooking liquid. 
  • Transfer the pasta to the pan with the fennel sauce, with a few splashes of its liquid, and put on a very low heat.
  • Put the frying pan on a high heat. After a few minutes, add a tablespoon of oil, season the mackerel fillets well and fry, skin side down first, for two to three minutes on each side, until just done.
  • Stir the parsley and any fennel fronds into the pasta, then transfer to plates. 
  • Top each plate with a mackerel fillet, sprinkle over the anchovy breadcrumbs and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Wednesday 23 August 2023


There are two very different foodie experiences one can have in Marseille.

There is the pretty basic, mildly overpriced, mainly seafood based tourist culinary experience - mostly consisting of eating €60 a head bouillabaisse in a packed restaurant with a view over the port… and then there is the much more local, young, experimental and dare I say very “hipster friendly” culinary scene (made possible by the relatively low rents) with an emphasis on small plates, natural wine and imaginative menus.

You can hazard a guess which experience I was aiming for, and my god was the food (with a little research and reservation making done beforehand) SO good and inspiring, I would go as far as saying that Marseille easily beats what Paris and London currently have to offer.

It is also very affordable to eat out in Marseille, particularly when considering the standard of wine and food you get, and even more so when compared to London, and overall everywhere we went was also extremely veggie / pescatarian friendly which I really did not expect having faced some rather questionable non meaty on previous visits to Paris.

We only had 7 days in Marseille, which of course meant I barely scratched the surface of the amazing foodie offering there, but I do hope you forgo the tourist experience and try any of the utterly fantastic places to eat featured below - I have been left both inspired and wanting to go back to try more.

One last tip before we get into the food - make sure you RESERVE ahead of your trip. The hippest restaurants in town do not have large covers and are popular with locals and in the know visitors alike…I reserved most dinners two weeks before our arrival and it really paid off.


Limmat was probably my foodie highlight of the entire trip which is quite funny as this was our chosen dinner spot for night 1 in Marseille.

Why was it my favourite? Somehow the combo of unique location, the restaurant is bang in the middle of the steep, graffitied steps running from Cours Julien towards Noailles, a few outside table nestled in the midst of it all from which you get the most wonderful view onto the city, creative, perfectly executed cooking inspired by Marseille’s melting pot of cultures and incredible good value for money just made Limmat feel really special. 

Add to that little touches like antique glassware and mismatching plates, wonderful service and possibly the best pavlova, served with fresh strawberries, of my life as fitting finish to the meal and you truly get an unforgettable dining experience.

Plates are seasonal, to be shared and veggie/fish focused (I adored the smoked mackerel with labne, lentil salad, fennel and coriander and the gorgeous ricotta cake with Parmesan, basil and almond pesto, courgettes and toasted almonds) and I could have honestly eaten my way through the entire menu. 

Make sure to call ahead to secure a table because Limmat is truly what a great dining out experience should be all about and Marseille is very lucky to have this proper gem of a restaurant.


Le Bec Du Coq's only downside (if you can even call it that) is the lack of outside dining space BUT it makes up for that in more than one way and was another favourite dinner spot on the trip. 

There is a fine selection of well priced small plates with a great emphasis on seasonal, veggie + pescatarian friendly options that are bursting with flavours, we had the most incredible homemade taramasalata dip and smoky babaganoush served with a moorish pizza dough crust, and there is also a fantastic natural wine list.

The dining room feels cosy yet understatedly chic, almost like you have had the luck to be invited to the coolest dinner party in town, and our host for the evening only added to this intimate atmosphere with wonderful yet not overbearing service.

I would love to call Le Bec Du Coq my local back in London and the Marseillais who packed the restaurant on a Tuesday night must agree, in fact I would highly recommend reserving (which can be done online) as at least 10 people were turned away when they chanced a walk in spot.

In fact Le Bec Du Coq is all you want from a restaurant, - amazing food, great atmosphere and not an annoying tourist in sight. 

Ciel came highly recommended by a couple of friends who had been in Marseille earlier this year. 

It is a bit more mainstream and “instagrammable” than my other favourites on this trip, but with a wonderful rooftop view over Marseille and a great pizza menu I was more than happy to give it a go and I was not disappointed.

Though it was actually too windy to sit in the outdoor rooftop space (we are talking gale force winds that evening), there is an equally gorgeous glass walled inside space on the roof that gives you amazing views no matter the weather and allowed us to see the most gorgeous sunset whilst we tucked into our pizza. 

And I got to say the food at Ciel was actually surprisingly good and authentic - in fact the truffle pizza I had, with freshly shaved truffle on top and the most stretchy and perfectly airy dough base, was quite possibly the best truffle pizza I have ever had, and I've had my fair share.

Starters were excellent, wine was cheap and service was efficient yet friendly, and despite initial reservations that Ciel could have been style and rooftop access over substance CIEL actually really won me over and I cannot at all fault the food and whole dining experience!

Highly recommended for a dressy Friday dinner as a first carby stop before hitting the town for more drinks, make sure to reserve a table online beforehand though, this place is popular with locals and clued up tourists alike.


Toïa was the only restaurant we sort of stumbled across by chance whilst in Marseille and I am so happy we did! I had originally booked another natural wine bar / restaurant but on a second look realised that their speciality was all things meaty. 

However, as I was scrolling through their tagged pictures on instagram (the best way to get a real sense of what a restaurant is dishing up) I came across a post that also had Toïa tagged in it and I very much liked what I saw!

So on a whim and on our last full day in Marseille I managed to book a table online and we headed to Toïa and I am really rather glad we took that risk because Toïa was undoubtedly the hidden culinary gem of the trip and served us some spectacular food.

It’s located right by the side of the port where the big cruise liners arrive and away from the tourist overrun main promenade. There’s plenty of outside seating as well as indoor space, and though not instantly full when we arrived by the end of our dinner the outside space was packed with big groups of locals celebrating and eating, plus a few fortunate tourists that had stumbled across Toïa on their search for dinner. 

Everything on the menu, more modern European cooking which beautifully managed to encapsulate the melting pot of cuisine in Marseille - A bit French, a bit Mediterranean, a little bit Arabic, sounded AMAZING and as it was our last night we went ALL out.

We shared freshly caught, tiny, deep fried fish with aioli and the most insane creamy burrata with tomato sauce that I have to recreate asap at home.

The mains, divided into a beef, fish and veggie options change seasonally and were simply outstanding on this occasion. I had the most juicy tuna steak, perfectly raw in the middle still, with grilled aubergine and spiced couscous while my mum had the bavette steak with chimchurri sauce and potatoes, which she basically inhaled and has spoken about ever since.

Even better starters were no more than 10 euros and mains all under 28 euros, and we washed it all down with the most stunning bottle of buttery Chardonnay. 

Maybe it felt even more special because it was our last night in Marseilles, but our dinner at Toïa was one that will stay with me fore a long time and showed me that being a little bit spontaneous from time to time does have its benefits.


La Passarelle gets a mention not because it served particularly outstanding food, I had a tasty fish dish that wasn’t exactly cheap, but because it is a decent dining option if you want a really lovely outside space near the port and right by down town central Marseille but away from the masses.

It has a gorgeous covered terrace with ferry lights dotted around and chequered table clothes, and a super calm and tranquil vibe even though it is literally 3 mins from the hustle and bustle of the touristy food mile of Marseille.



We mainly stuck to French style breakfasts of baguette or pastries while in Marseille, but on our last day we were after something a little more substantial, knowing we had our long return journeys ahead of us.

I had come across Deïa on some list of the best brunch spots in Marseille and as it was only 8 minutes walk from our AIRBNB and our suitcases weren’t exactly light off we went.

Deïa is quite reminiscent of the many Antipodean inspired cafes you can find in London, and had ample inside and outside seating but was pretty packed even on a Wednesday morning.

The menu is full of creative and perfectly executed brunch dishes. There is brioche French toast with poached peaches and vanilla cream, toasted croissants with pastrami and creme fraiche, fluffy pancakes with apricots, tonka bean mascarpone creme, and the rather outstanding savoury French toast with cream cheese, poached egg, fresh herb and hazelnut sauce, aubergine mousse, toasted hazelnuts and smoked salmon which is what I went for.

This was top level brunch fare that would hold its own even when compared with some of London’s most popular spots, and left us super full and super satisfied. 

Not exactly a typical French concept or restaurant but absolutely hitting the spot if you are after a delicious brunch that will fuel for a long day of Marseille activities.



Café de l'Abbaye was our absolute favourite spot for an after dinner drink with the most spectacular view of the sun setting over Marseille. 

It is absolutely not fancy - more a tiny hole in the wall sort of bar with locals congregating outside holding  their beverage, discussing their days and taking the last rays of sunshines of the day. 

Drinks are cheap and served in plastic cups  and really I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

A must visit whilst in Marseille to absorb the vibrant energy this city offers first hand.



Right by Corniche Malmousque, LOULOU MONSIEUR GLACE is a super chic and modern ice cream parlour and their gelato was INCRED! Cannot recommend enough and quite sad that I only tried here on my last day.

Thursday 17 August 2023


I really did not know what I would make of Marseille, after all I had never been to the South of France, in fact I had only ever been in Paris when it came to visiting France, and though I had heard many, many great things about Marseille from friends who had been recently, I had heard equally many not so great things about this “dangerous” city. 

As it turned out Marseille was one of the most wonderful places I have ever visited, and I instantly fell in love with this vibrant, loud, beautiful and unique city.

Yes, Marseille is a little rough around the edges in certain areas, but for god’s sake if you can deal with living, working or going out in Shoreditch or anywhere in East London - which can be dirty, full of graffiti and with a chance of having your phone snatched, you will be just fine in Marseille. 

This certain “grittiness” also means that the city is much more affordable than anywhere else on the Côte d'Azur, and has enabled Marseille to nurture a thriving culinary and natural wine scene, which of course was a MASSIVE draw for me, in fact there are so many young restauranteurs doing amazing things that I barely had time to scratch the surface in my 7 days of eating there.

And of course there are the beaches - the sandy ones, the rocky ones and the sunbathing spots by the sparkling blue water by the ports, so picture perfect that I had to pinch myself a few times after so many years without a proper beach holiday.

You could spend an entire week just exploring the different spots by the Mediterranean sea in and around Marseille that feel so quiet and calm, yet you are still in the second biggest city in France so have all the amenities that come with that (all your standard high street shops, a great transport network and big supermarkets), plus a whole lot of scenic day trips less than hour away to keep you busy if you wish to go further afield.

I could keep on going with reasons why I fell in love with Marseille and I am already planning a return trip to this sprawling, exciting, stunning, imperfect city by the sea and I hope you give it a chance too, you really won’t regret it.

Flights only take an hour and a half from London to Marseille which is an amazingly short amount of flight time considering how much of a holiday destination Marseille feels like. I paid about £150 for my return flight with easyJet from Gatwick.

Once you land into Marseille Provence airport the easiest and fastest way to get into the centre of Marseille is via bus. It will only cost you €10, take less than 30 mins and gets you to the main train station. Be warned - the train station is on a hill (Marseille as a whole will give your thighs a good work out with ample stairs and hills to climb) so it’s a bit of a workout arriving and departing with a heavy suitcase.

There is a super handy luggage storage inside the station which I used on my last day, as my flight was at 10pm, and which only cost €10 to store your luggage for the whole day.

Marseille is on Citymapper which makes using their public transport network and generally getting around SO easy and pleased the Googlemaps hater in me hugely.

I always try to keep my travel and restaurant guides truthful and to be honest our accommodation was the only real fail of the holiday. 

I did the AIRBNB booking and research and although our chosen apartment for the stay had over 20 4+ star reviews and was being looked after by “superhosts”, I probably should have paid more attention to the  ‘noise outside the apartment’ that was mentioned more than once in reviews.

Why? Well let’s just say we seemed to have ended up staying on the loudest street in Marseille. There was the bin truck which appeared to be cleaning the street mind numbingly loudly 3x times a night, every night, there was also the bar right by our window where loud altercation were the norm around 3am each night PLUS as final lucky straw our apartment was seemingly infested with the most hungry mosquitos I have ever encountered in my life which meant I was getting about 15 bites every night to the point where they were literally biting my fingers...

BUT despite all of this the holiday was not ruined. In fact we laughed it all off as everything else on the trip went so smooth and above our expectations... and indeed as with everything in life, holidays are never going to be perfect.

Next time I would definitely either stay at a hotel or another, better located AIRBNB so bear with me on accommodation recommendations in Marseille for now… that part you may have to figure out yourself!




Catalans beach is the closest beach to the city, a good 20-25 minute scenic walk from the city centre and via the port and it’s many gorgeous sailing boats, and was our go-to beach when we fancied an easy dip into the sea and sandy beach. 

It can get busy and I would suggest looking after your bags but it’s a gorgeous beach, conveniently located with showers and a friendly vibe so you really can’t go wrong!


This beach is a good hour’s walk (or a quick bus ride on the 83 bus line which has the most convenient route all the way down the Marseille sea promenade and its beaches) from downtown Marseille and is very quiet, shielded from the wind and more family orientated in its crowd. Definitely worth a visit but not our favourite beach on this trip.


More of a gravel than sand beach but we loved this stretch of beach which felt fairly quiet even during peak season. It’s a bit further from the city centre, on the way towards the Calanques national park but easily reached via bus. Even better, there is a huge supermarket 3 minutes from the beach which makes it the perfect spot for a beach picnic!


One of Marseilles' best features are the stunning cliffs and rocky inlets by the sea that frame its coastline, which can be excellently utilised as sunbathing spots and to dive into the sea in the most scenic of settings. 

I would highly recommend bringing some beach shoes / jellies if you are planning on swimming while at the cliffs as it can be quite painful to enter the sea barefoot, but I found these the most scenic, stunning and least overrun spots, so definitely worth a little climb and detour from the main beaches.

Malmousque Cove was our absolute favourite spot on the rocks of Marseille. Just a 15 minutes walk away from Catalans beach via lots of little bakeries, supermarkets and ice cream parlours, which comes in very handy for a beach picnic  and just below the the iconic Le Petit Nice hotel, Malmousque Cove is the most dreamy spot to sunbathe, enjoy the clear waters and admire a great view across the coast. 

There is plenty of space for everyone to find a rock to spread their towl own and we found it was full of locals stopping by to eat their lunch, have a quick dip in the sea and soak up the Marseille summer, and if I lived in Marseille I would be very much doing the same.


Literally a 5 minute walk from Malmousque Cove and en route to Catalans beach, you will find, tucked away down an assuming side street, a tiny fishing village within Marseille, the Vallon des Auffes. 

Here it is like time has stopped and like you have at once escaped the hustle and bustle of the big city.
There are fishing boats, colourful huts and at the end of the quay ample sunbathing spots on the cliffs that border the Vallon des Auffes. The most charming part of Marseille that adds yet another unexpected layer to the city one cannot miss!



A Calanque is a unique kind of geological formation made of limestone. They are big rocky coves forming a steep and narrow valley inland. The Calanques National Park on the far fringes of the city is a protected and highly regulated area, and you actually need to register for tickets to enter the park (this can be done online 3 days in advance of your planned visit but I failed to secure tickets). 

However you can still see some Calanques' natural beauty with a visit to Les Goudes, the most beautiful remote fishing village. My tip - book a table at La Baie Des Singes Goudes… possibly the most remote and adventorous to get to  restaurant I have been to in my life and not far from Les Goudes.

You literally have to climb across several cliffs with the most stunning views across the sea and rugged landscapes of the National Park to reach this restaurant (not for the faint hearted or those with a fear of heights as it can get PRETTY high up on those cliffs), but it is most definitely worth it all for the view that you get from the dining space once you reach the restaurant (and the food was actually also pretty decent). 

There are also some highly coveted sun loungers one can rent for the day for €25 right next the restaurant, though we went on a particularly windy day which meant the remained empty but I would come back for a day on one of those alone.

A demust-do day trip while in Marseilles and even though the area feels very remote easy enough to reach via a couple of buses that run regularly from the centre of town, just make sure you put your trainers on for the occasion!


Cassis has been called "the poor man’s St Tropez" and this quaint seaside town with its beautiful promenade of terraced restaurants definitely feels a little how I would imagine St Tropez and its air of glamour, though in the case of Cassis this comes without a hefty price tag and an overly pretentious crowd, and I loved our day trip there.

It takes less than half an hour to get to Cassis from Marseille's' main train station and the train tickets are only €6 each way. On arrival in Cassis you have to take a 5 minute bus ride into town but from there Cassi is very walkable on foot, in fact you can very much explore most of the town in one day. 

The beach is literally adjacent to the restaurant promenade and is gorgeous, sandy and clean, and we adored sitting down in one of the cafes, ordering a Niçoise salad and watching the world go by. The town also has a bunch of lovely artisanal shops if you fancy a non trashy souvenir to take home. 

Cassis felt like the perfect escape from the large scale of Marseille for the day yet was so easy to get to, highly recommended.


Visting Cite Radieuse is like visiting a piece of architectural history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ‘Cité Radieuse’ (radiant city) designed by Le Corbusier, was the main inspiration for the entire brutalist architecture movement -  a visionary housing unit (which also includes a hotel) that plays with lights, perspectives, and colours and left me in awe and very inspired.

You can even explore a few floors of the building (including the roof) which I did and which felt like travelling back in time, most original exterior and interior features have remained the same since completion of the building in 1952.

A piece of history that left a lasting impression on me and a detour from the beaches and cliffs of Marseille I would highly recommend.


I had a daily morning ritual in Marseille and that was a run from our AIRBNB in the centre of down town Marseille all the way down the Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as far as my legs would take me. 

It’s most amazing route - taking you past Catalans beach, the Malmousque Cove, all the way to the “longest bench in the world”, an art deco style curved concrete bench which stretches for 3km along the coast line with the most amazing views across the Mediterranean Sea. 

Even if you aren’t packing your running kit, I can’t recommend an extended walk across the Corniche enough to absorb the beauty of Marseille

Foodie guide to follow ASAP, this was enough of an essay before getting me started on food!