France’s oldest city may be best known for it’s vibrant Vieux Port, sandy beaches, fabulous museums and intoxicating mix of African and French culture, however, many visitors to Marseille would argue that food is arguably the city’s biggest drawcard.

Here are six dishes you cannot leave Marseille without eating. 

Aïoli Marseille


Get ready to say hello to aïoli, a Mediterranean sauce made of garlic and olive oil that tastes so good you’ll want to lap it up like a kitten.

The recipe for aïoli, which is synonymous with Marseille, involves crushing garlic in a mortar and pestle before adding salt and olive oil and serving, ideally on poultry and fish. Bon appetit! Traditional restaurants serve this dish on Fridays so head to Bistrot Petit Saint Louis at the end of the workweek.

Bouillabaisse marseille


If you try just one dish when in Marseille, make it bouillabaisse. Marseille’s signature dish is a garlicky seafood stew that’s packed with mussels, sea bass and prawns. 

According to legend, Bouillabaisse was first created by the goddess Aphrodite to lull her husband Hephaestus to sleep so that she could secretly rendezvous and romp with the God of War, Ares. It was then adopted by the Ancient Greeks several hundred years BC and today calls the French port city home. 

Virtually every restaurant offers bouillabaisse on its menu (tip: steer clear of anywhere offering bouillabaisse for under €30 as the fish will have been frozen) but if you ask a local where to bite into bouillabaisse, chances are they’ll answer: in someone’s home.” 

When you don’t have the time to make friends, head to the intimate Chez Madie les Galinettes on the north side of Vieux Port. The establishment has long been a favourite of locals and cooks a traditional bouillabaisse with only locally caught fish and Provençal herbs and spices.

Beef stew marseille


In search of a comforting stew? Look no further than daube, a wine and meat stew – comfort food heaven AND a great French classic, served to perfection at Le Bouchon Provencal.

This Marseille staple is made by slowly braising feather blade of beef in a red wine sauce, together with onions, tomatoes and carrots, to produce a rich, flavoursome meal.

Traditionally, daube should be prepared the night before it is to be consumed, and then served with noodles or mashed potatoes. 

Pastis marseille


Fancy a tipple? It’s time to try pastis, France’s favourite drink. The popular alcoholic drink is typically enjoyed during the summer but don’t let that stop you from sampling the anise and liquorice flavoured spirit all year round.

Part of pastis’ appeal lies in the presentation: the beverage is brought to the drinker in three parts – pastis, water and ice. Pastis is generally served in a glass over ice and diluted with water according to the drinker’s preference: watch the pastis turn cloudy (or louche as they say in Marseilles) when it interacts with water. Remember, sip slowly so as not to become louche yourself.

If you’re looking for a place to try Pastis, look no further than Bar à Pastis.



You can’t visit Marseille, France’s multicultural port city, without sampling a Navette de Marseille, the city’s traditional sweetmeat.

These sweet, crunchy biscuits, whose name and shape resembles a boat in memory of the small boats that used to run along the Provençal coasts, are made with olive oil and orange blossom aroma and are simply irresistible. 

Head to Les navettes des Accoules to try traditional Navettes.

Tapenade marseille


Invented back in Marseille in 1880, this French favourite is akin to a black olive pâté that also includes capers, olive oil and different herbs. Tapenade’s name derives from tápeno, a Provençal term given to capers.

The dip works well as a delicious appetiser that​is customarily spread on a baguette, but it can be eaten on everything from artichokes to roast chicken and grilled fish. Dip in at Café Populaire.

Planning a trip to France’s oldest city? Make sure your nights are exciting with our recommendations on Marseille’s best bars.

Choice Hotels in Marseille