The markets, food, and drinks, all reflect the diversity that abounds in Marseille's melting pot of cultures. My local host said the African market at Noailles was THE place to go shopping for food, so of course I went. The market is huge, but since I have almost no sense of direction, and the metro had five exits on different streets, I wandered around the neighborhood a bit before finding it.
I saw this in a small square, but this was not the main market.
This was the main aisle and that building at the end was the metro exit I should have taken!
Nearly every fruit and vegetable was available and unusually for France, you picked your own!
Prices were incredibly low, about a third of Parisien prices:)
They had passionfruit from Benin, just as delicious as the Asian variety.
Plenty of fish,
shellfish, octopus, and oysters.
Some stands along the intersecting street sold cooked food, like this bakery with Moroccan bread
and snacks baked in the ovens behind the shop shelves.
This is the front display of Saladin Les Èpices du Monde, aka what I call Spice Heaven. That small dark entry to the left leads the way to the biggest and best spice store I've ever seen.
As you enter you see jams, nuts, and seeds,
that stretch on for rows and rows, with everything from almonds to sesame seeds.
As you go deeper into the store, you find the dried and candied fruits and marzipan blocks,
and then you see this! Bags and bags of every spice in every form you could imagine,
as far as you can see, and as you wander deeper into the spices, you find more!
The other side of the store has bins of teas and herbs ranging from rooibos to verveine. The most wonderful thing was their prices, which were so low I bought 50 grams of pink Himalayan salt for only 2 Euros or about $2.50 USD which I've seen in Paris and the US for $20 for the same amount! Everything is sold by weight so you can buy as much or little as you wish with the minimums posted in each bag of spice.
After a morning at the market, I wanted something simple for dinner, and La Table Ronde served Brittany food a few blocks from my rental and reservations made online enjoyed a nice 40% discount off the food. There were charming photos around the tables showing life in Brittany.
Since I was early, I was one of only two tables, and luckily it was a slow night because the waitress was gone and the chef was acting as both waitress and cook!
Brittany is known for its cider, butter, and crepes, so of course I ordered cider with my meal.
After looking at the menu and seeing the poor chef/waitress alone, I ordered a large dinner salad with langoutines and herring on a bed of sea beans and lettuce dressed in a lemon dressing that was a perfect light meal.
I went back on another night to try the crepes and there was a waitress, a manager, and the chef, so I asked for a recommendation from the waitress. She suggested the scallops with leeks in a butter cream sauce and it was delicious, if a bit too much for me to finish,
since I wanted a dessert crepe :) One of the nice things about this place is they use organic flour and source ingredients locally, and the waitress and chef were both wonderfully warm. Dinner on both nights was less than 20 Euros or $24 USD including drinks when reserved online.
Marseille is close to Corsica and many people who live in the city come from the nearby island, so it's no wonder that they serve beer from Corsica. I'm not usually a beer drinker, but after a hot day I sat in a cafe in the shade and could not think of what to order, so the waiter recommended this. I liked it, but the American girls next to me wanted Budweiser (which they did not have). Hint to tourists, order something local rather than what you regularly have at home...
After eating some big meals, I thought I would get some tapas at Cafe Populaire, around the corner from where I was staying. I learned that I should have asked my host about the place first, but hindsight is always 20/20. The atmosphere, service, and drinks were great, but the tapas were disappointing. The fried calamari at 8 Euros or about $9 USD, were completely uninspired, with no crunch or seasoning, even dipping them in the sauce didn't help.
The mixed seafood at 8 Euros or about $9 USD, had some fried shrimp with shells, supions, and calamari. The batter was crunchy, but even though I squeezed both lemon wedges hoping to add some flavor, it didn't help. I heard from my host after telling him where I ate that they were looking for a new chef, and apparently still had not found one yet.
I was so full from my lunch that I really didn't mind, so I had a lovely wine from nearby Cassis for at 8 Euros or about $9 USD, and just enjoyed the beautiful setting:)