France’s reputation as a top destination for delicious seafood meals is well-deserved. The seafood caught off the French coast includes both fish and shellfish. In the northern areas of France, like Brittany, and the southern towns, like Nice and Marseilles, seafood is a delicacy.
Learning about the famous and popular French seafood can come in handy whether you’re ordering in a French restaurant or preparing a seafood feast at home. We’ve made a pocket list of the most popular French seafood meals for those of you who are planning on visiting France and want to taste some of the best French seafood dishes while you are in the country.
8 Most Popular French Seafood Dishes to try in France
Here are 8 examples of seafood meals you must try if you have never done so in France.
- Moules farcies
- Moules à la marinière
- Lobster Thermidor
- Moules Frites
- Plateau de fruits de mer
Stuffed mussels are baked or grilled to make the French delicacy called Moules farcies which is one of the most popular French seafood dishes. Mussels, butter, parsley, garlic, shallots, black pepper, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs are all used to make this recipe. Butter is mixed with aromatics like garlic and shallots, as well as spices like nutmeg and pepper.
After steaming, the mussels open, and the shells are broken in half to remove the meat. Mussels are stuffed with the butter mixture and baked or grilled until bubbling, after which they are topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Moules à la marinière
Another popular and beloved French seafood is, without a doubt, Moules à la marinière. Mussels cooked in a cider or wine-based sauce are the foundation of the traditional French meal called Moules à la marinière. Shallots, garlic, and herbs like parsley, thyme, and bay leaves are usually the base of the meal, and they are sweated in butter before being blended with white wine or cider.
The liquid is then poured over fresh mussels, which are cooked until they open. Freshly minced parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and (optionally) mayonnaise or crème Fraiche are common additions to the meal. This mussel recipe is simple and delicious, and it is best served warm with slices of crusty bread and a glass of French wine.
Bourride is another popular and top French seafood dish that some say is very lookalike to Bouillabaisse. Unlike Bouillabaisse, which was developed in the city of Marseilles, the famous fish stew bourride comes from the French area of Languedoc-Roussillon. Even while white fish like mullet, mackerel, and sea bass are included in most modern recipes, monkfish was the primary fish used in the original, most traditional recipes.
However, today’s versions of this dish often include seafood like scallops, mussels, or clams. Vegetables, including leeks, onions, celery, and carrots, are often included to improve the flavor of the stew. Aioli, a sauce consisting of garlic, olive oil, and, often, egg yolks, is what sets bourride apart from the more well-known Bouillabaisse.
The origins of Bouillabaisse may be traced back to the coastal area of Provençal. A few different fish species are stewed together in this dish. Because of these regional differences, no two bowls of Bouillabaisse will ever taste exactly the same, but we can assure you that this dish is one of the best French seafood meals you get to try in your life.
It may appear fancy, but the original recipe is really rather simple. A fisherman was the first to come up with it. Due to a lack of alternatives, he made do with leftover fish scraps. However, as time passes, it is now considered a rare and costly delicacy.
This French dish has a savory, sugary, and tangy flavor. Nothing beats a nice bowl of Bouillabaisse at night at a beachside eatery.
Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish soup that was first created in the Mediterranean city of Marseille in the south of France. At least five varieties of native fish, including rascasse, are often included (scorpionfish). Stew it with some onions, garlic, tomatoes, and orange peel, and you have a tasty meal.
lobster Fish Thermidor is a traditional French meal, and it is considered one of the most popular French seafood dishes. Using lobster flesh that has been sautéed in wine or cognac, together with a creamy egg-based sauce and cheese, this dish is built with entire lobster tails and baked.
There are several traditions and myths surrounding the origin of the dish, but the most likely is that it was called after the play Thermidor, which was performed in Paris during the month of January.
The meal, it is said, was created during the debut of Thermidor at the renowned restaurant of the time, Marie’s. However, the dish was a hit with the audience, despite the play’s lack of success. A combination of lobster and classic French ingredients, such as butter and cream, results in a lavish meal.
Freshwater fish like an eel, salmon, and carp are combined with fish stock broth and the finest red or white wines to create the classic French dish matelote. Matelote is a fisherman’s Coq au vin, and the word means “sailor” in French. Matelote is one of the most popular French seafood dishes that you must try on your trip to the beautiful country of France.
Although not as well-known as Bouillabaisse, a meal with identical ingredients made from saltwater fish, matelote has various regional variants, such as matelote Normande, which substitutes hard cider for wine. To strengthen the hearty flavor of matelote, try serving it with cooked potatoes, a green salad, and a crusty baguette.
Moules Frites, or “mussels with fries,” is a popular French seafood meal. It’s not hard to understand why this dish is a favorite in French restaurants. The flavor and texture of Moules Frites are both fantastic, and it’s also a great way to become full quickly. If you’re in the mood to try something new, you should definitely order some Moules Frites.
Belgians created the delicacy Moules Frites, often known as Moules et Frites, which consists of steamed mussels and French fries. The French name for the meal, Moules, refers to the combination of mussels and fries, while the Dutch name for the dish, Moules Frites, is a translation of the French. It’s so popular in Belgium that many consider it the country’s official national dish.
Plateau de fruits de mer
Last but not least option on the list of most popular French seafood dishes is Plateau de fruits de mer. The classic French dish known as “plateau de fruits de mer” consists of a variety of seafood served on a platter, often over crushed ice. Shrimp, mussels, lobster, crab, clams, and oysters are just a few of the shellfish that are often included in this meal.
Seafood is traditionally served cold, therefore it is best served on a wide plate that has been filled with crushed ice and (optionally) seaweed. The seafood platter is often served with lemon wedges and a selection of sauces such as mignonette, mustard, and cocktail.