Perhaps it is the history of the restaurant that draws people there. It is one of the oldest establishments in Collioure, opened in 1895 by Madame Pous originally as a watering hole for fisherman called Café des Sports. As Collioure became popular with artists of the time, famous names such as Matisse, Dali, Picasso and Duffy frequented this restaurant and bar. It is suggested that the artists would spend much of their summer evenings there and enjoy the area’s renowned Banyuls with classical Catalan dishes of bouillabaisse or capon, many times paying for their drinks with works of art.
The inside of the restaurant tops many art galleries. The original owner’s son, Rene Pous, was an avid art collector (amassing more than 2000 pieces) of both contemporary and modern styles. He passed on this collection to his son Jojo and the family’s passion has been kept very much alive. Every wall and surface is covered with pieces of art, many of their more famous originals are now in storage, but it is quite the sight to see. The bar is curved like the hull of a boat and ends with a wooden sculpture of a mermaid. Unique doesn’t even begin to describe this spot!
We have dined here twice and each time the meals have been very good. Don’t expect to have an English-speaking waiter since this is a traditional place. However they do have English versions of the menu so if you don’t speak French you can still get by with pointing and gestures. My favourite dish is the carpaccio served drizzled with olive oil and fresh parmesan cheese shavings. Denis has enjoyed an overflowing plate of lightly fried, tiny fish and the other time a tasty, seasoned white fish. Local wine is reasonably priced and the ambiance on the patio is fun no matter the season.
Whether you enjoy great food or love inspiring art, or perhaps both, Les Templiers is a wonderful, authentic place to visit. See their website at: