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Copains Restaurant, Marseille | Our Review

By Harriet Smith

Copains is a restaurant and wine cellar in the Lodi area on Rue Tilsit, near the lively Cours Julien in Notre-Dame-Du-Mont. In a calm quiet street drenched with sunlight, the terrace at Copains is as inviting during its lunch hour as it is at nighttime in the warm mediterranean climate. Inside, the restaurant has a warm and intimate atmosphere with a natural woody decor, comfortable banquettes and an open kitchen from which to observe Lyon native Chef Jules Girandon and his team. The restaurant opened its doors at the end of the summer of 2021 and has since become a much loved restaurant on the Marseille food scene.

You can expect a warm welcome from the front of house team at Copains. Sommelier and Directeur Theo Le Brun is as knowledgeable as he is charming and brings to life both the gastronomic menu and its wines with his welcoming smile and passion for the produce on offer. 

This is the experience we received during our first dinner at Copains in March. In the evenings, Copains offer two blind-tasting menus full of surprises using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. As the evening unfolded, we were introduced to the menu dish by dish, and we were able to specify our preferences in terms of vegetables, meat or fish. The team were also flexible with likes and dislikes and were able to adapt a dish to suit our taste buds. From the amuse-bouche through to the dessert, we had the pleasure of tasting seven dishes (with two options for the main and the dessert) accompanied by exceptional wines sourced from small producers. 

All the wines on offer are organic or natural and carefully selected by sommelier Theo Le Brun according to the regularly changing menu and the pallet of each diner. 

It being the start of the asparagus season, they are firmly on the menu in a starter made of both the green and white varieties, a foam and a velouté. For the mains, we tasted both the fish and the meat dish; half-seared tuna steak and pulled lamb, both light dishes reminiscent of spring. 

There are no pretenses here, just like the name Copains suggests - you are made to feel among friends. The team is smooth and efficient just like the service and the atmosphere is both relaxed and professional. 

Several weeks later, we returned to Copains to enjoy the lunchtime menu and the sun drench terrace. Inspired by a speciality from Nice, we start with fried smelt fish accompanied by a pissalière foam, trout roe and a parmesan crumb. 

For the main, fish was the dish of the day with grilled mackerel and crunchy asparagus served on a smooth, silky pomme purée. The second main was a supreme of chicken with seasonal greens and a delicious and peppery morilles sauce. We couldn’t resist a cheese platter and we were not disappointed by the five or six well-known french cheeses (morbier, bleu d’Auvergne, camembert, munster…) served alongside fresh sourdough bread. The perfect way to go from savoury to sweet. 

Dessert consisted of two fruity dishes, the first showcasing the first strawberries of the season alongside pear and mango, garnished with chantilly cream and mini meringues and the second was a deconstructed moist chocolate cake with a verveine syrup and passion fruit coulis. 

To come back to the wine which is as important as the food at Copains, all along the meal we had the pleasure of tasting some standout wines. We started with a deliciously fresh champagne from Domaine Autréau, a premier cru no less with beautifully complex flavours on the palate, followed by an excellent biodynamic white from Leflaive in Burgundy. These are just two of the wines in a list of over 150 wines available to taste at Copains. So come quick for the restaurant promises sunshine, a high quality menu and a crisp, cold glass of the best French white wine. What more could you want?

Copains Restaurant | Cave à Vin

93 Rue de Tilsit

13006 Marseille

Open Tuesday - Saturday du Mardi - Samedi

12 - 13.30pm | 7.30 - 9.45pm



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