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A man sits on a railing over Marseilles, France
Marseilles, France
Meghan McCarron

The 21 Essential Marseille Restaurants

Bountiful seafood and a booming food scene await in France’s second-largest city

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Marseilles, France
| Meghan McCarron

France’s second-largest city grew around one of the great natural harbors of the Mediterranean. During the 19th century, Marseille shared the title of the world’s fastest-growing city with Chicago as immigrants from Italy, Spain, Greece, and elsewhere came to work its docks, mills, and factories. This diversity explains the city’s spectacularly cosmopolitan food scene, which became even richer with the arrival of repatriating French and North Africans from France’s colonies following their independence in the 1950s and ’60s.

Marseille’s gastronomic reputation was long summed up for the French by bouillabaisse, the famous fish stew that’s the city’s signature dish. Now that’s changing fast. When Marseille became one of Europe’s two cultural capitals in 2013, the city smartened up with impressive urban-renewal projects, including Richard Rogers’s beautiful renovation of Le Vieux Port and a sleek new tram system. Tourism boomed.

With these new mouths to feed, talented young chefs from all over France suddenly saw Marseille through fresh eyes. Cheap rents and outstanding produce clinched the deal, and they moved south and started opening small restaurants serving a cuisine that never existed here before — moderately priced contemporary southern French bistro cooking, which spins on a cosmopolitan axis of global flavors, freshness, and creativity. Marseille’s restaurant scene has never been so good, and it just gets better every day. What follows is a list of the essential restaurants of this historic gem on the Provence coast.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 20 euros (Less than $22 USD)
$$ = 20 - 50 euros ($22 - $55 USD)
$$$ = 50 - 100 euros ($55 - $109 USD)
$$$$ = 100 euros and up ($109 USD and up)

Alexander Lobrano is a Paris-based food writer and the author of Hungry for Paris and Hungry for France.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Le Petit Nice Passedat

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17 Rue des Braves
13007 Marseille, France
04 91 59 25 92
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Chef Gérald Passedat’s family founded this hotel-restaurant on a craggy stone point sticking out into the Mediterranean in 1917, and since he took over in 1985, he’s made it into one of the world’s best seafood restaurants. The dining room with white tablecloths has sweeping views over the sea, and the menu changes according to what the fishermen bring in every day. Passedat’s minimalist cooking style showcases the fresh fish and shellfish in dishes like carpaccio of sea bream with caviar and bottarga, sea anemone beignets with seaweed sauce, and sea bass in an herb bouillon with chopped tomatoes. [$$$$]

A hunk of vibrant lobster tail sits in a deep dark blue sauce in a white soup bowl that’s nearly invisible against a neutral background
Lobster in mauve
Richard Haughton

2. Les Bords De Mer

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1 Rue des Catalans
13007 Marseille, France
04 13 94 34 00
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The menu at this stylish restaurant with spectacular views over the Mediterranean in a renovated art deco hotel is the work of chefs Tatiana and Katia Levha, the sisters behind Le Servan, one of the best modern bistros in Paris. They prioritize local seasonal produce to create inventive southern French dishes like ravioli filled with sauteed Cevennes onions with saffron butter, lemon, and sage; grilled duck breast with carrots in a sweet-and-sour sauce; and a financier with citrus, clementine sorbet, and pepper. [$$ - $$$]

Three oysters sit on a bed of salt on a plate next to table settings
Oysters with celery and chiles
Benjamin Béchet

3. Chez Michel

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6 Rue des Catalans
13007 Marseille, France
04 91 52 30 63
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Bouillabaisse, the fish stew made with locally caught rockfish, potatoes, tomatoes, saffron, and other ingredients, is arguably the dish that Marseille is most famous for. You’ll find it on menus all over town, but this family-run restaurant in business since 1946 is where the locals come. Here it’s served as a two-course meal — first the rich brick-colored fish soup with croutons and garnishes of aioli and rouille, and then a platter of the fish and shellfish that have been cooked in the soup. Service can be a bit stiff, but the bouillabaisse always delivers. [$$$]

A soup dish filled with bouillabaisse sits in the middle of a table between a dish of cooked fish and shellfish, and a serving dish with two bowls of condiments, as well as wine glasses in front of a window with the blinds down letting in peaks of light
Bouillabaisse with fish platter and condiments
Chez Michel [Official Photo]

4. Douceur Piquante

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17 Rue de l'Évêché
13002 Marseille, France
06 35 21 73 69
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In her tiny restaurant with midcentury furniture in Le Panier, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Marseille, chef Nadjat Bacar cooks dishes from her native Comoros Islands, a French overseas territory in the Mozambique Channel between Mozambique and Madagascar. The chalkboard menu changes daily according to the fresh catch and whatever local, mostly organic produce is in season. Dishes like paella de Zanzibar, fish with spiced rice; spelt risotto with cep mushrooms, lentils, and carrots; and chocolate cake with Espelette pepper show off her style. There are a variety of original vegetarian and Vegan recipes as well, but repeat customers go for the veal meatballs in spicy tomato sauce with coconut shavings. [$ - $$]

5. Schilling

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37 Rue Caisserie
13002 Marseille, France
04 91 01 81 39
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Tucked away in Le Panier not far from Marseille’s striking Mucem, or museum of Mediterranean cultures, Scottish chef Malcolm Gardner serves up a daily chalkboard menu from the open kitchen overlooking his easygoing restaurant. Gardner, who grew up in a Scottish fishing village and followed a girlfriend to Marseille, is a shrewdly creative chef whose inventive cooking never overpowers the natural flavors of the impeccably fresh fish and shellfish he cooks with. Expect dishes like sea bream carpaccio with mango, avocado, and ginger; monkfish-filled cappelletti with pork sauce, Chinese cabbage, and chanterelles; and grilled turbot with smoked celeriac and veal stock. [$$]

A tube of mango is filled with sea bream tartare, resting on a fan of avocado slices on a glossy plate on a neutral background
Sea bream tartare with mango and avocado
Schilling / Facebook

6. Sépia

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2 Rue Vauvenargues
13007 Marseille, France
09 83 82 67 27
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After cooking at several Alain Ducasse restaurants in Paris, chef Paul Langlère moved to Marseille and set up shop in a charming bungalow surrounded by a garden with great views over the city. His brief lunch menu changes daily, and his dinner menu every three weeks, so that he can follow the seasons and cook with the best local produce. Dishes from a recent menu include oysters from the nearby Camargue with apple, mint, and ginger; gravlax with passionfruit and citrus; duck with Jerusalem artichoke puree, roasted salsify, hazelnuts, and dates; and roasted lamb shoulder with oyster mushrooms en persillade.  [$$ - $$$]

Trees and a cityscape outside the windows of an empty dining room, lit softly with pendants, featuring wooden tables of various shapes and low brick walls beneath the windows
The stunning view from Sépia
Julie Tinetti

7. Le Café des Epices

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4 Rue du Lacydon
13002 Marseille, France
04 91 91 22 69
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Arnaud Carton de Grammont was one of the first Marseille chefs to launch the southern French bistro movement that’s changed the dining scene in this brawny port town. After a year-and-a-half timeout, he’s recently reopened his intimate little restaurant with a huge sunny terrace bordered by potted olive trees. The inventive modern French menu changes regularly, but often includes seasonal dishes like beet carpaccio with anchovies, butternut squash soup with caramelized lamb sweetbreads and sauteed oyster mushrooms, boned rabbit with pickled lemon, and octopus and apples roasted with honey and yuzu. His risotto with Gorgonzola and quince and chocolate tart with lemon are favorites with the regulars. [$$]

From above, two large broiled oysters sit on a glossy green ceramic plate with a dark red spread between them
Oysters from Bouzigues
Le Café des Epices [Official Photo]

8. Chez Etienne

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43 Rue Lorette
13002 Marseille, France
04 91 54 76 33

Marseille fell in love with pizza when a wave of Italian immigrants arrived in toward the end of the 19th century. Locals all have their own favorite pizzeria, but the one almost everyone agrees on is this simple Panier district place plastered with photographs of famous customers who’ve long flocked for pizzas from the wood-burning oven. There are other dishes to order, too, like  steaks and succulent fried baby squid with a lot of garlic, but the main draw is the pizza. Come early or late to avoid a long wait for a table. [$$]

9. CopperBay Marseille

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36 Boulevard Notre Dame
13006 Marseille, France

After creating one of the best cocktail bars in Paris, the same talented team opened a branch in Marseille just a few minutes from Le Vieux Port, the city’s historic harbor. In a nod to the city’s favorite spirit, they pour a variety of pastises as well as a number of inventive craft cocktails. Try a Tahini Sour, which is made with tahini and pisco, a perfect reflection of the diversity of this city. There are bar snacks, too, including pickled mussels, duck rillettes, and burrata. [$]

Empty stools sit at a gilded, lit bar against a deep blue painted wall, with menus written out on butcher paper rollers hung on the back wall, bottles on the illuminated back bar, and gold fixtures set on a wooden bar top
The bar at CopperBay
CopperBay [Official Photo]

10. Ourea

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72 Rue de la Paix Marcel Paul
13006 Marseille, France
04 91 73 21 53
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After cooking at Semilla, a popular modern bistro in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, chef Matthieu Roche moved to Marseille and opened this intimate bistro with co-owner Camille Fromont near Le Vieux Port in the heart of the city. A native of Aix-en-Provence, Roche says he returned to the south because he missed the high quality of the produce available there and also the energy of Provence’s largest city. A low-key dining room with cement floors is the backdrop for dishes like carpaccio of black mullet smoked over fennel stalks with a salad of cucumbers marinated in turmeric and horseradish; gnocchi with a sauce of ramps and baby broccoli; and a passionfruit tart with a lime-meringue topping and lemon sorbet. [$$]

Cooked fish sits in a soup dish with a pool of juices with eggplant, peppers, and raspberries, among other veggiews
Burbot with caponata, roasted peppers, and raspberries
Ourea [Official Photo]

11. Jasmin De Tunis

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3 Rue Breteuil
13001 Marseille, France
06 03 66 47 27
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Not far from Le Vieux Port, Marseille’s old harbor, this simple dining room was opened by a pair of Tunisian sisters a year and a half ago and has quickly become a favorite of the city’s many fans of North African cooking. Start with a brick — a crispy folded pastry filled with eggs, goat cheese, honey, and shrimp or chopped meat — or one of the fresh and well-seasoned salads, maybe a salade Tunisienne made with chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, mint, and olive oil. Then tuck into a couscous. The sisters make their own — tiny hand-rolled grains of semolina flour — and serve it with garnishes of bouillon and lamb, chicken, meatballs, or vegetables. Regulars love the couscous with stewed octopus, a Tunisian specialty, offered on Thursdays only; the fish couscous is available on Fridays. Finish up with some of the best North African pastries in the city. [$$]

From above, a decorative serving dish filled with spinach topped with sardines arrayed around the center, cherry tomatoes, slices of red onion, and other vegetables, with a lemon wheel twisted in the center
Grilled sardine salad
Jasmin De Tunis [Official Photo]

12. Deep

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15 Rue Glandeves
13001 Marseille, France
09 72 65 80 24
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This excellent new coffee shop was opened by former Brooklyn and Venice Beach resident Tony Collins, who had the idea of bringing great coffee to Marseilles. The shop roasts its own beans in a big black Probat roaster that dominates the small space. You can also come by for pastries in the morning, and a hot dish or two — maybe fusilli with leeks and Gorgonzola, or fresh pea soup — every day at lunchtime. [$]

13. Cédrat

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81 Rue Breteuil
13006 Marseille, France
04 91 42 94 41

Before opening his snug bistro with a back garden terrace, chef Éric Maillet was sous-chef to Gérald Passedat, the dean of Marseille cooking, at his excellent seafood restaurant Le Petit Nice. The pedigree shows up in the precise creative bistro dishes on Maillet’s regularly changing chalkboard menu. Seafood and vegetables are the stars, including a recent starter salad of string beans, peas, snow peas, cherries, and pine nuts in an earthy vinaigrette; and sea bream and grilled baby potatoes with a sauce vierge (chopped tomatoes and basil in olive oil). [$$]

Cuts of cooked fish surround a shark-fin like piece of fish skin sticking straight up from the center of the plate, with a bright red sauce and garnishes sprinkled around the white plate
A seafood dish starring at Cédrat
Cédrat [Official Photo]

14. La Mercerie

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9 Cours Saint-Louis
13001 Marseille, France
04 91 06 18 44
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British chef Harry Cummins and Quebecois sommelier Laura Vidal met while working together at Frenchie in Paris, and opened this market-menu bistro with an open kitchen in an old sewing shop in the Noailles district last spring. It’s been playing to a full house ever since. Book a seat at the long repurposed wood bar to watch the chefs at work, or grab a table and dig into dishes like a saute of razor clams with shallots and ham; gnocchi with lamb and black olive ragout; grilled line-caught turbot with artichokes, spinach, and young garlic; and rice pudding flavored with fig leaves and strawberries. The menu evolves constantly, and the wine list includes great selection by the glass. In nice weather, the small terrace outside is the place to be. [$$]

15. Chez Yassine

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8 Rue d'Aubagne
13001 Marseille, France
09 80 83 39 13
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No city in France has a more intimate relationship with the cooking of North Africa. An excellent example is this simple Tunisian restaurant in one of the busiest market streets in town where they serve nonstop to diners in metal chairs at fluorescent green placemats. Try the lablabi, a cumin-spiced chickpea soup with garlic and homemade harissa; spicy egg kafteji in tomato sauce; and juicy grilled merguez sausages served with an assortment of salads. The lamb couscous on Fridays and the grouper couscous on Sundays are excellent. [$$]

From above, a multicolored dish filled with eggy stew of vegetables, olives, shredded meat, and peppers
Spicy kafteji
Chez Yassine / Facebook

16. Epicerie l'Idéal

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11 Rue d'Aubagne
13001 Marseille, France
09 80 39 99 41
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Former food writer Julia Sammut — whose mother and sister run the respected La Fenière restaurant in the tiny nearby village of Cadenet — opened her “ideal grocery store” (as the name translates) in the Noailles quarter. Here she sells a personally curated selection of the foods she loves best, including cheese, charcuterie, condiments, olives, pasta, and other high-quality goods. At noon, these foodstuffs star in a short, regularly changing menu that’s served at a wooden tables in the shop and on the sidewalk outside. Recent preparations included lamb shoulder baked with pomegranate molasses, chickpeas with braised octopus, a zucchini tart with smoked Sardinian ricotta, and almond and orange blossom ice cream. [$ - $$]

Sidewalk tables outside L’Epicerie Ideal
L’Epicerie Ideal
Meghan McCarron

17. Restaurant Bubo

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34 Rue du Dr Fiolle
13006 Marseille, France
09 50 13 58 28
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In the language of Provence, bubo means “to remember,” and this is what chef Fabien Torrente does with his contemporary tasting menus that recall the traditional flavors of this sunny stretch of France but reinterpret them in a modern way. For lunch, he serves bento boxes that include a starter, a main course, and a dessert, and then offers a more elaborate menu at dinner. The dishes change often but tend toward umami, like a deconstructed vitello tonnato (chopped veal with capers and creamy tuna sauce) or roast lamb with zucchini stuffed with braised beef cheeks. For dessert, there’s a creamy chocolate mousse with orange and rhubarb ice cream. [$$]

A long rectangular cut of fish topped with medallions of bright vegetables sitting in a bright saffron cream dotted with fixings
Pain de brochet with saffron
Bubo [Official Photo]

18. Restaurant Saisons

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8 Rue Sainte-Victoire
13006 Marseille, France
09 51 89 18 38
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Chef Julien Diaz’s approach in the kitchen is as clean and contemporary as the decor of his restaurant. Here he prizes seasonal Mediterranean produce on a menu that evolves regularly, but tends toward dishes like oven-roasted Corsican brocciu cheese with thinly sliced radishes, fresh peas, cucumbers, and pickled radish; saffron risotto with cypress oil, Corsican honey, and grated pine cone; and John Dory roasted in seaweed butter with peas and an earthy-green crab broth. The well-dressed crowd receives suave service and a great selection of local wines poured by the glass. [$$ - $$$]

An unseen cook delicately plates a final ingredient on one of several plates lined up on a bar with the kitchen prep stations blurred in the background
Putting on the finishing touch
Saisons [Official Photo]

19. La Boîte à Sardine

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2 Boulevard de la Libération
13001 Marseille, France
04 91 50 95 95
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Before you head into this very popular fish house for a meal, do what the regulars do and eyeball the catch of the day at the adjacent fish market that’s owned by the restaurant. Owner Fabien Rugi’s nautically themed decor of ropes, fishnets, and buoys is amusingly tongue-in-cheek but the cooking here is seriously good, including a regularly changing roster of dishes like fresh sea urchins in season, razor clams from Sète with fresh cilantro and lemon, grilled rouget (red mullet), and fried baby squid. Finish up with a slice of fiadone, a Corsican cheesecake. Reservations are essential. [$$]

20. AM par Alexandre Mazzia

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9 Rue François Rocca
13008 Marseille, France
04 91 24 83 63
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Alexandre Mazzia might be the most innovative chef working in Marseille today. The former professional basketball player opened this simply decorated, modern tasting-menu bistro in a residential district in 2014. Mazzia works in the open kitchen, where his cooking is informed by his childhood in Pointe-Noire in the Congo, where his father was a merchant dealing in exotic wood, and also the flavors of Provence. Cameos of Mazzia’s increasingly acclaimed cooking include a tiny cocoa-cream-filled tartlet topped with smoked eel, beet juice, and fresh black pepper; semolina with orange blossom water, horseradish, and shellfish jus; and grilled red mullet with a duck jus, green satay sauce, and a condiment of raspberries and harissa. [$$$ - $$$$]

Two small dishes are plated on round stone-like pedestals sitting on a steel prep station with a cook’s hands resting on the surface nearby
One of Mazzia’s innovative tasting menu courses
JPGARABEDIAN

21. La Cantine de Nour d'Égypte

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10 Rue Bernex
13001 Marseille, France
09 80 63 06 56
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Tucked away in Marseille’s Egyptian Cultural Center, this casual restaurant with brightly colored cushions and painted wood furniture serves dishes like kochari, a traditional street food made from rice, pasta, lentils, and chickpeas, garnished with tomato sauce and fried onions. There’s also ful, falafel sandwiches, and Egyptian flan, in addition to two different daily main-course specials. The non-alcoholic drinks list includes helba, an infusion of fenugreek, and mint tea. [$ - $$]

From above, a plate with three hunks of halva shaped into hamsas (hands) dusted with rose petals and bits of pistachio
Halva hands of Fatima
Nour d’Egypte / Facebook

1. Le Petit Nice Passedat

17 Rue des Braves, 13007 Marseille, France
A hunk of vibrant lobster tail sits in a deep dark blue sauce in a white soup bowl that’s nearly invisible against a neutral background
Lobster in mauve
Richard Haughton

Chef Gérald Passedat’s family founded this hotel-restaurant on a craggy stone point sticking out into the Mediterranean in 1917, and since he took over in 1985, he’s made it into one of the world’s best seafood restaurants. The dining room with white tablecloths has sweeping views over the sea, and the menu changes according to what the fishermen bring in every day. Passedat’s minimalist cooking style showcases the fresh fish and shellfish in dishes like carpaccio of sea bream with caviar and bottarga, sea anemone beignets with seaweed sauce, and sea bass in an herb bouillon with chopped tomatoes. [$$$$]

17 Rue des Braves
13007 Marseille, France

2. Les Bords De Mer

1 Rue des Catalans, 13007 Marseille, France
Three oysters sit on a bed of salt on a plate next to table settings
Oysters with celery and chiles
Benjamin Béchet

The menu at this stylish restaurant with spectacular views over the Mediterranean in a renovated art deco hotel is the work of chefs Tatiana and Katia Levha, the sisters behind Le Servan, one of the best modern bistros in Paris. They prioritize local seasonal produce to create inventive southern French dishes like ravioli filled with sauteed Cevennes onions with saffron butter, lemon, and sage; grilled duck breast with carrots in a sweet-and-sour sauce; and a financier with citrus, clementine sorbet, and pepper. [$$ - $$$]

1 Rue des Catalans
13007 Marseille, France

3. Chez Michel

6 Rue des Catalans, 13007 Marseille, France
A soup dish filled with bouillabaisse sits in the middle of a table between a dish of cooked fish and shellfish, and a serving dish with two bowls of condiments, as well as wine glasses in front of a window with the blinds down letting in peaks of light
Bouillabaisse with fish platter and condiments
Chez Michel [Official Photo]

Bouillabaisse, the fish stew made with locally caught rockfish, potatoes, tomatoes, saffron, and other ingredients, is arguably the dish that Marseille is most famous for. You’ll find it on menus all over town, but this family-run restaurant in business since 1946 is where the locals come. Here it’s served as a two-course meal — first the rich brick-colored fish soup with croutons and garnishes of aioli and rouille, and then a platter of the fish and shellfish that have been cooked in the soup. Service can be a bit stiff, but the bouillabaisse always delivers. [$$$]

6 Rue des Catalans
13007 Marseille, France

4. Douceur Piquante

17 Rue de l'Évêché, 13002 Marseille, France

In her tiny restaurant with midcentury furniture in Le Panier, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Marseille, chef Nadjat Bacar cooks dishes from her native Comoros Islands, a French overseas territory in the Mozambique Channel between Mozambique and Madagascar. The chalkboard menu changes daily according to the fresh catch and whatever local, mostly organic produce is in season. Dishes like paella de Zanzibar, fish with spiced rice; spelt risotto with cep mushrooms, lentils, and carrots; and chocolate cake with Espelette pepper show off her style. There are a variety of original vegetarian and Vegan recipes as well, but repeat customers go for the veal meatballs in spicy tomato sauce with coconut shavings. [$ - $$]

17 Rue de l'Évêché
13002 Marseille, France

5. Schilling

37 Rue Caisserie, 13002 Marseille, France
A tube of mango is filled with sea bream tartare, resting on a fan of avocado slices on a glossy plate on a neutral background
Sea bream tartare with mango and avocado
Schilling / Facebook

Tucked away in Le Panier not far from Marseille’s striking Mucem, or museum of Mediterranean cultures, Scottish chef Malcolm Gardner serves up a daily chalkboard menu from the open kitchen overlooking his easygoing restaurant. Gardner, who grew up in a Scottish fishing village and followed a girlfriend to Marseille, is a shrewdly creative chef whose inventive cooking never overpowers the natural flavors of the impeccably fresh fish and shellfish he cooks with. Expect dishes like sea bream carpaccio with mango, avocado, and ginger; monkfish-filled cappelletti with pork sauce, Chinese cabbage, and chanterelles; and grilled turbot with smoked celeriac and veal stock. [$$]

37 Rue Caisserie
13002 Marseille, France

6. Sépia

2 Rue Vauvenargues, 13007 Marseille, France
Trees and a cityscape outside the windows of an empty dining room, lit softly with pendants, featuring wooden tables of various shapes and low brick walls beneath the windows
The stunning view from Sépia
Julie Tinetti

After cooking at several Alain Ducasse restaurants in Paris, chef Paul Langlère moved to Marseille and set up shop in a charming bungalow surrounded by a garden with great views over the city. His brief lunch menu changes daily, and his dinner menu every three weeks, so that he can follow the seasons and cook with the best local produce. Dishes from a recent menu include oysters from the nearby Camargue with apple, mint, and ginger; gravlax with passionfruit and citrus; duck with Jerusalem artichoke puree, roasted salsify, hazelnuts, and dates; and roasted lamb shoulder with oyster mushrooms en persillade.  [$$ - $$$]

2 Rue Vauvenargues
13007 Marseille, France

7. Le Café des Epices

4 Rue du Lacydon, 13002 Marseille, France
From above, two large broiled oysters sit on a glossy green ceramic plate with a dark red spread between them
Oysters from Bouzigues
Le Café des Epices [Official Photo]

Arnaud Carton de Grammont was one of the first Marseille chefs to launch the southern French bistro movement that’s changed the dining scene in this brawny port town. After a year-and-a-half timeout, he’s recently reopened his intimate little restaurant with a huge sunny terrace bordered by potted olive trees. The inventive modern French menu changes regularly, but often includes seasonal dishes like beet carpaccio with anchovies, butternut squash soup with caramelized lamb sweetbreads and sauteed oyster mushrooms, boned rabbit with pickled lemon, and octopus and apples roasted with honey and yuzu. His risotto with Gorgonzola and quince and chocolate tart with lemon are favorites with the regulars. [$$]

4 Rue du Lacydon
13002 Marseille, France

8. Chez Etienne

43 Rue Lorette, 13002 Marseille, France

Marseille fell in love with pizza when a wave of Italian immigrants arrived in toward the end of the 19th century. Locals all have their own favorite pizzeria, but the one almost everyone agrees on is this simple Panier district place plastered with photographs of famous customers who’ve long flocked for pizzas from the wood-burning oven. There are other dishes to order, too, like  steaks and succulent fried baby squid with a lot of garlic, but the main draw is the pizza. Come early or late to avoid a long wait for a table. [$$]

43 Rue Lorette
13002 Marseille, France

9. CopperBay Marseille

36 Boulevard Notre Dame, 13006 Marseille, France
Empty stools sit at a gilded, lit bar against a deep blue painted wall, with menus written out on butcher paper rollers hung on the back wall, bottles on the illuminated back bar, and gold fixtures set on a wooden bar top
The bar at CopperBay
CopperBay [Official Photo]

After creating one of the best cocktail bars in Paris, the same talented team opened a branch in Marseille just a few minutes from Le Vieux Port, the city’s historic harbor. In a nod to the city’s favorite spirit, they pour a variety of pastises as well as a number of inventive craft cocktails. Try a Tahini Sour, which is made with tahini and pisco, a perfect reflection of the diversity of this city. There are bar snacks, too, including pickled mussels, duck rillettes, and burrata. [$]

36 Boulevard Notre Dame
13006 Marseille, France

10. Ourea

72 Rue de la Paix Marcel Paul, 13006 Marseille, France
Cooked fish sits in a soup dish with a pool of juices with eggplant, peppers, and raspberries, among other veggiews
Burbot with caponata, roasted peppers, and raspberries
Ourea [Official Photo]

After cooking at Semilla, a popular modern bistro in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, chef Matthieu Roche moved to Marseille and opened this intimate bistro with co-owner Camille Fromont near Le Vieux Port in the heart of the city. A native of Aix-en-Provence, Roche says he returned to the south because he missed the high quality of the produce available there and also the energy of Provence’s largest city. A low-key dining room with cement floors is the backdrop for dishes like carpaccio of black mullet smoked over fennel stalks with a salad of cucumbers marinated in turmeric and horseradish; gnocchi with a sauce of ramps and baby broccoli; and a passionfruit tart with a lime-meringue topping and lemon sorbet. [$$]

72 Rue de la Paix Marcel Paul
13006 Marseille, France

11. Jasmin De Tunis

3 Rue Breteuil, 13001 Marseille, France
From above, a decorative serving dish filled with spinach topped with sardines arrayed around the center, cherry tomatoes, slices of red onion, and other vegetables, with a lemon wheel twisted in the center
Grilled sardine salad
Jasmin De Tunis [Official Photo]

Not far from Le Vieux Port, Marseille’s old harbor, this simple dining room was opened by a pair of Tunisian sisters a year and a half ago and has quickly become a favorite of the city’s many fans of North African cooking. Start with a brick — a crispy folded pastry filled with eggs, goat cheese, honey, and shrimp or chopped meat — or one of the fresh and well-seasoned salads, maybe a salade Tunisienne made with chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, mint, and olive oil. Then tuck into a couscous. The sisters make their own — tiny hand-rolled grains of semolina flour — and serve it with garnishes of bouillon and lamb, chicken, meatballs, or vegetables. Regulars love the couscous with stewed octopus, a Tunisian specialty, offered on Thursdays only; the fish couscous is available on Fridays. Finish up with some of the best North African pastries in the city. [$$]

3 Rue Breteuil
13001 Marseille, France

12. Deep

15 Rue Glandeves, 13001 Marseille, France

This excellent new coffee shop was opened by former Brooklyn and Venice Beach resident Tony Collins, who had the idea of bringing great coffee to Marseilles. The shop roasts its own beans in a big black Probat roaster that dominates the small space. You can also come by for pastries in the morning, and a hot dish or two — maybe fusilli with leeks and Gorgonzola, or fresh pea soup — every day at lunchtime. [$]

15 Rue Glandeves
13001 Marseille, France

13. Cédrat

81 Rue Breteuil, 13006 Marseille, France
Cuts of cooked fish surround a shark-fin like piece of fish skin sticking straight up from the center of the plate, with a bright red sauce and garnishes sprinkled around the white plate
A seafood dish starring at Cédrat
Cédrat [Official Photo]

Before opening his snug bistro with a back garden terrace, chef Éric Maillet was sous-chef to Gérald Passedat, the dean of Marseille cooking, at his excellent seafood restaurant Le Petit Nice. The pedigree shows up in the precise creative bistro dishes on Maillet’s regularly changing chalkboard menu. Seafood and vegetables are the stars, including a recent starter salad of string beans, peas, snow peas, cherries, and pine nuts in an earthy vinaigrette; and sea bream and grilled baby potatoes with a sauce vierge (chopped tomatoes and basil in olive oil). [$$]

81 Rue Breteuil
13006 Marseille, France

14. La Mercerie

9 Cours Saint-Louis, 13001 Marseille, France
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British chef Harry Cummins and Quebecois sommelier Laura Vidal met while working together at Frenchie in Paris, and opened this market-menu bistro with an open kitchen in an old sewing shop in the Noailles district last spring. It’s been playing to a full house ever since. Book a seat at the long repurposed wood bar to watch the chefs at work, or grab a table and dig into dishes like a saute of razor clams with shallots and ham; gnocchi with lamb and black olive ragout; grilled line-caught turbot with artichokes, spinach, and young garlic; and rice pudding flavored with fig leaves and strawberries. The menu evolves constantly, and the wine list includes great selection by the glass. In nice weather, the small terrace outside is the place to be. [$$]

9 Cours Saint-Louis
13001 Marseille, France

15. Chez Yassine

8 Rue d'Aubagne, 13001 Marseille, France
From above, a multicolored dish filled with eggy stew of vegetables, olives, shredded meat, and peppers
Spicy kafteji
Chez Yassine / Facebook

No city in France has a more intimate relationship with the cooking of North Africa. An excellent example is this simple Tunisian restaurant in one of the busiest market streets in town where they serve nonstop to diners in metal chairs at fluorescent green placemats. Try the lablabi, a cumin-spiced chickpea soup with garlic and homemade harissa; spicy egg kafteji in tomato sauce; and juicy grilled merguez sausages served with an assortment of salads. The lamb couscous on Fridays and the grouper couscous on Sundays are excellent. [$$]

8 Rue d'Aubagne
13001 Marseille, France

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16. Epicerie l'Idéal

11 Rue d'Aubagne, 13001 Marseille, France
Sidewalk tables outside L’Epicerie Ideal
L’Epicerie Ideal
Meghan McCarron

Former food writer Julia Sammut — whose mother and sister run the respected La Fenière restaurant in the tiny nearby village of Cadenet — opened her “ideal grocery store” (as the name translates) in the Noailles quarter. Here she sells a personally curated selection of the foods she loves best, including cheese, charcuterie, condiments, olives, pasta, and other high-quality goods. At noon, these foodstuffs star in a short, regularly changing menu that’s served at a wooden tables in the shop and on the sidewalk outside. Recent preparations included lamb shoulder baked with pomegranate molasses, chickpeas with braised octopus, a zucchini tart with smoked Sardinian ricotta, and almond and orange blossom ice cream. [$ - $$]

11 Rue d'Aubagne
13001 Marseille, France

17. Restaurant Bubo

34 Rue du Dr Fiolle, 13006 Marseille, France
A long rectangular cut of fish topped with medallions of bright vegetables sitting in a bright saffron cream dotted with fixings
Pain de brochet with saffron
Bubo [Official Photo]

In the language of Provence, bubo means “to remember,” and this is what chef Fabien Torrente does with his contemporary tasting menus that recall the traditional flavors of this sunny stretch of France but reinterpret them in a modern way. For lunch, he serves bento boxes that include a starter, a main course, and a dessert, and then offers a more elaborate menu at dinner. The dishes change often but tend toward umami, like a deconstructed vitello tonnato (chopped veal with capers and creamy tuna sauce) or roast lamb with zucchini stuffed with braised beef cheeks. For dessert, there’s a creamy chocolate mousse with orange and rhubarb ice cream. [$$]

34 Rue du Dr Fiolle
13006 Marseille, France

18. Restaurant Saisons

8 Rue Sainte-Victoire, 13006 Marseille, France
An unseen cook delicately plates a final ingredient on one of several plates lined up on a bar with the kitchen prep stations blurred in the background
Putting on the finishing touch
Saisons [Official Photo]

Chef Julien Diaz’s approach in the kitchen is as clean and contemporary as the decor of his restaurant. Here he prizes seasonal Mediterranean produce on a menu that evolves regularly, but tends toward dishes like oven-roasted Corsican brocciu cheese with thinly sliced radishes, fresh peas, cucumbers, and pickled radish; saffron risotto with cypress oil, Corsican honey, and grated pine cone; and John Dory roasted in seaweed butter with peas and an earthy-green crab broth. The well-dressed crowd receives suave service and a great selection of local wines poured by the glass. [$$ - $$$]

8 Rue Sainte-Victoire
13006 Marseille, France

19. La Boîte à Sardine

2 Boulevard de la Libération, 13001 Marseille, France

Before you head into this very popular fish house for a meal, do what the regulars do and eyeball the catch of the day at the adjacent fish market that’s owned by the restaurant. Owner Fabien Rugi’s nautically themed decor of ropes, fishnets, and buoys is amusingly tongue-in-cheek but the cooking here is seriously good, including a regularly changing roster of dishes like fresh sea urchins in season, razor clams from Sète with fresh cilantro and lemon, grilled rouget (red mullet), and fried baby squid. Finish up with a slice of fiadone, a Corsican cheesecake. Reservations are essential. [$$]

2 Boulevard de la Libération
13001 Marseille, France

20. AM par Alexandre Mazzia

9 Rue François Rocca, 13008 Marseille, France
Two small dishes are plated on round stone-like pedestals sitting on a steel prep station with a cook’s hands resting on the surface nearby
One of Mazzia’s innovative tasting menu courses
JPGARABEDIAN

Alexandre Mazzia might be the most innovative chef working in Marseille today. The former professional basketball player opened this simply decorated, modern tasting-menu bistro in a residential district in 2014. Mazzia works in the open kitchen, where his cooking is informed by his childhood in Pointe-Noire in the Congo, where his father was a merchant dealing in exotic wood, and also the flavors of Provence. Cameos of Mazzia’s increasingly acclaimed cooking include a tiny cocoa-cream-filled tartlet topped with smoked eel, beet juice, and fresh black pepper; semolina with orange blossom water, horseradish, and shellfish jus; and grilled red mullet with a duck jus, green satay sauce, and a condiment of raspberries and harissa. [$$$ - $$$$]

9 Rue François Rocca
13008 Marseille, France

21. La Cantine de Nour d'Égypte

10 Rue Bernex, 13001 Marseille, France
From above, a plate with three hunks of halva shaped into hamsas (hands) dusted with rose petals and bits of pistachio
Halva hands of Fatima
Nour d’Egypte / Facebook

Tucked away in Marseille’s Egyptian Cultural Center, this casual restaurant with brightly colored cushions and painted wood furniture serves dishes like kochari, a traditional street food made from rice, pasta, lentils, and chickpeas, garnished with tomato sauce and fried onions. There’s also ful, falafel sandwiches, and Egyptian flan, in addition to two different daily main-course specials. The non-alcoholic drinks list includes helba, an infusion of fenugreek, and mint tea. [$ - $$]

10 Rue Bernex
13001 Marseille, France

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