Skip to main content

See also:

Corsican seafood, from boat to plate at La Gaffe, Saint Florent

“All the seafood we serve here comes in on that boat,” says owner Christophe Chiorboli, extremely proud.
“All the seafood we serve here comes in on that boat,” says owner Christophe Chiorboli, extremely proud.
Columbia Hillen



‘Poseidon’ pulled hard on her mooring ropes a mere ten yards from the open terrace of La Gaffe – clear evidence that fish served at the restaurant in the picturesque Corsican coastal town of Saint Florent couldn’t be much fresher.
It’s something owner, Christophe Chiorboli, 38, is extremely proud of.
“All the seafood we serve here comes in on that boat,” he said, smiling. “That way we know the quality of what we get and exactly where it’s from.”
La Gaffe (meaning ‘boat hook’), located in the Port du Plaisance harbor of Saint Florent, is one of a series of restaurants lining the walkway beside which leisure yachts and fishing boats bob gently in the water. It has an outside wooden deck with woven cane-backed chairs, curved standing lamps and an overhanging chocolate brown canvas awning with floor-to-ceiling glass frontage separating it from the restaurant’s chic interior.
Christophe, who opened La Gaffe six months ago and a sushi and wine lounge next door to it, acknowledges being a restaurateur is in his blood. “I guess it’s my DNA inheritance. My parents, Nanou and Virgile, ran a restaurant, called ‘La Tabla Oletta,’ for many years in a nearby village so I gained a lot of experience there.”
The interior of La Gaffe reflects a simple nautical theme with porthole-style mirrors on varnished wood walls, framed posters and a beige tiled floor. Interestingly, an old plain tree right in the middle of the restaurant, its trunk encased in glass, its foliage sheltering the roof, divides the restaurant into quadrants.
With an obvious emphasis on fish and seafood, the menu is well balanced. These are some of the selections: a starter of botargo (salted, cured fish roe) served on freshly baked bread; house salad featuring six different types of tomatoes, with an accompaniment of tomato pesto, hazelnuts and pimento –culinary genius cradled in the arms of simplicity; Corsican style bouillabaisse, a meal onto itself with generous portions of langoustine, tuna, shrimps, mussels and cockles in a thick, smooth, flavorsome soup; a main dish consisting of three Denti fish (a family of sea bream), slightly pan-fried and served with young turnips cooked in a French pot and dressed with a vinaigrette of cep mushrooms; risotto of wild mushrooms and pumpkin, with a buttery Parmesan flavor for vegetarians; Isigny oysters from Normandy, foie gras as well as main dishes such as pigeon, beef, langoustine and piglet.
A cold bottle of local Vermontino, a 2011 Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Pastoreccie Patrimonio makes for an excellent accompaniment.
Dessert is not to be avoided, especially as it includes Corsican Le Fiadone, a sort of pudding made with Brocciu cheese and served hot with myrtle-flavored ice-cream; or a ‘pain perdu’ with citrus peel, a crisp crust and a moist, soft interior, decorated with poached figs and accompanied by fig sorbet. Double yummy.
It should also be noted, especially for the less sweet-toothed, La Gaffe is a cheese lovers’ heaven with a selection of ten different ones on offer.
Full credit goes to the Polish twosome - chef, Marcin Wisla and pastry chef, Marcin Kucinski for their skill and creativity.