Five Star Fooding | Ancora Restaurant In Normandy
Honfleur sits in the Normandy region of France, snugly nestled between the lush green hills where grass-fed cattle roam and the sea-bucking surfer-friendly waves and fishing boats thrive. And all along its piers dotted with carousels, ancient ruins, and numerous artisanal shops lies a crush of various seafood restaurants boasting the locally fished catch of the day. There, along Quai Sainte Catherine, amidst that throng of oyster bars and mussels and fry menus waits one particular oddity: Ancora. Perhaps the sole trattoria on the pier, Ancora contends for elbow room in the crowd of restaurants, offering the one thing the others don’t: Italian fare.
On this occasion, we open up the palette as Europeans do, with hearty ristretto and a carafe of still water.
Their version of fritto misto doesn’t involve the fried vegetables many come to expect. Instead, Ancora transforms calamari, scampi, prawn and other sea dwellers into the fried, breaded appetizer. The menu also boasts popular dishes like lasagna, spaghetti con carne, and various antipasti and pizza.
Then there is a finely grilled salmon steak served with a dollop of garden vegetables (squash, cucumber, carrots, radishes, broccoli). The salmon comes adorned with crisp vegetable noodles and sits on a simply rendered drizzle of sweet and tangy sauce the color of chocolate.
For those hoping to straddle the line between hearty meal and simple feasting, Ancora offers burgers that come with a disclaimer: double fisting required in order to stuff these monsters into your mouth. Pizza somehow seems inappropriate while nestled before the sea. And burgers seem simple enough to not draw attention. And yet in the more than capable hands of the chefs at Ancora, the burgers are ample slabs of beef wedged between Italian buns, thick melting slices of provolone, bacon cuts, onions and spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables added for garnish. Each bite whether cooked well done or rare is succulent and juicy.
Ancora wins hands down as the sole restaurant in the quarter not thrusting mussels and fries in your direction. And they’ve garnered the lion’s share of the fooding market here expressly for that fact. 4 stars for taste. 4 stars for price.