Chez Mattin, still great!

The last time I had the good fortune to dine at Chez Mattin in Ciboure was pre-covid.  This family-run Basque restaurants has been consistently one of my favorites for years, see my recommendation from 2013! But a lot changed during covid, and many wonderful restaurants have either not opened or never re-found their pre-covid form, in terms of hours, services or quality. Thankfully that is not the case with Chez Mattin…if a recent lunch is any indication, they have thrived and are maybe better than ever.

Our recent lunch included a creamy shellfish bisque as an amuse bouche, then a plate of the excellent 2 year old jambon Ibaiana from Maison Ospital, followed by starters of house-made boquerones (anchovies  preserved with vinegar and olive oil) served on Japanese rice (an inspired, if not traditional, pairing) and  tiny Bay of Biscay clams simmered with purple artichokes.  Main courses included veal sweetbreads roasted whole with puree of sweet peas and baby goat cooked two ways, as a roulade stuffed with green chard, and its meaty bones slow simmered with piment d’Espelette.  For dessert, a simple but perfect profiterole with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Yum!

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