Bouillabaisse marseille

Finding the Best Bouillabaisse in Marseille

The ancient port town of Marseille is home to one of France’s most iconic soups, Bouillabaisse. Walking around Marseille you’ll find 1000’s of versions on offer from tourist traps to Michelin starred restaurants.

So where exactly can you eat the best, most authentic Bouillabaisse in Marseille? Read on and discover where we think you’ll find the best versions in Marseille.

What is Bouillabaisse?

Bouillabaisse is a Provençal fish soup found in the South of France and is said to be invented by the fishermen of Marseille. The word Bouillabaisse comes from the old Occitan language from Provence meaning boil and simmer conjoined together. The soup base is starts with vegetables, saffron, aniseed, fish stock and fish bones. The fish used is classically Rascasse, Sea Robin, Conger Eel, Monk Fish and John Dory.

The dish, like many famous French dishes, started life as a humble peasant dish. Many believe that it was the fishermen of Marseille who invented the dish. After landing their catch of the day they were left with unwanted, spiny, rock fish from the local calanques. They added the unsold fish bones to a pot along with vegetables, water and of course a small dash of pastis. The broth was simmered to extract as much flavour as possible then the fish was added at the end. Et voilà, that’s a very basic bouillabaisse.

Nowadays Bouillabaisse in Marseille is fancier – you’ll typically see saffron and fish stock (instead of water) added along with white wine which was typically too expensive for a fisherman in Marseille hundreds of years ago.

How is it served?

Typically a real Bouillabaisse comes in in two steps; firstly, you’ll receive with a bowl of the fish soup without any fish. You’ll also get a rouille – a kind of saffron garlic aioli. You put this on some bread to make a crouton and then soak the the mayo heavy crouton in the soup to soak up the delicious broth.

After the the first bowl it’s then when the mix of fish is cooked to order (à la minute). This is when you can can dip the freshly cooked fish in the soup. Normally most high end bistros will then offer you a refill of the soup.

Where to eat the best Bouillabaisse soup in Marseille

There’s a myriad of restaurants serving up the famed soup in Marseille – some better than the rest. Strolling around the Vieux Port you’ll see plenty of touristic bistros (with menus in English) offering petite bouillabaisse or bouillabaisse Royale with the former seemingly served with frozen fish and mussels. It’s certainly not how it should be done – the real soup takes a whole lot of time and love. The fish should be local – you shouldn’t see lobster or mussels in a true bouillabaisse. Our list includes the best restaurants in Marseille serving up authentic (and sometimes modern) bouillabaisse.

Le Petit Nice Passedat

One of the most high end (and modern) Bouillabaisse that you’ll find in Marseille will be from the 3 Michelin star Le Petit Nice Passedat. Chef Gérald Passedat is a native Marsaillais and he knows a thing or two about this city’s local dish. His interpretation is very modern and the 6 course Bouillabaisse menu at his restaurant costs a €390. The two courses that relate to the bouillabaisse include various local rockfish (that are fresh from that morning) with a clear saffron infused broth. The second has more meatier portions of fish with a more traditional thicker sauce/soup. The depth of flavour is unreal and the cuisson on the fish is perfect. Well worth a visit if you have the budget!

What to know before you visit

  • Free valet parking is available in the hotel

Address: 7 Rue des Braves Anse de Maldormé, 156 Cor Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 13007 Marseille
Tel: 04 91 59 25 92
Website: https://www.passedat.fr/fr/le-petit-nice/restaurant-3-etoiles-marseille-bord-de-mer

L’Epuisette

L’Epuisette is another Michelin starred restaurant with a Bouillabaisse menu. The one starred restaurant is located at the mouth of the entrance to the Port du Vallon des Auffes and the dining room has a stunning view out to the sea. Their 5 step Bouillabaisse menu comes in at a reasonable €125 without drinks and it’s very good. One step of note is Red mullet fillets cooked to perfection and served with feta and mint in a very modern way. The soup courses are equally as stunning and as you would expect, the broths are deep, rich and complex in flavour.

What to know before you visit

  • Closed on Sundays and Mondays

Address: 158 Rue du Vallon des Auffes, 13007 Marseille Tel: 04 91 52 17 82
Website: https://www.l-epuisette.fr

Chez Fonfon

Chez Fonfon is one the more affordable spectrum with a hefty servicing of Bouillabaisse soup and lots of local fish coming in at around the €50 mark. The restaurant where I first tasted the hallowed dish, it’s a superb spot with an incredible view out to the quaint Port du Vallon des Auffes. The bouillabaisse comes out as it should be. First you’ll receive a bowl full of their excellent soup and then the fish is presented and explained to you. It’s then cooked to order and brought out with another bowl of soup for you to taste with.

What to know before you visit

  • You can reserve online
  • Come hungry!

Address: 140 Rue du Vallon des Auffes, 13007 Marseille
Tel: 04 91 52 14 38
Website: https://www.chez-fonfon.com

Le Péron

Le Péron’s bouillabaisse is worth a mention although it’s not cheap with it currently coming in at €72 for moderate portion. It’s perhaps not the most traditional either but it’s very good. Probably the highlight of the restaurant (beyond the food) is the incredible panoramic view across the sea – a perfect spot to have an unobstructed view at sunset. The bouillabaisse comes with a deep, rich soup and whole fillets of fish which are cooked to perfection.

What to know before you visit

  • You can reserve online

Address: 56 Cor Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 13007 Marseille
Tel: 04 91 52 15 22
Website: https://www.restaurant-peron.com

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