By Peter Carnes
Here is the Second Part of our personal (and highly subjective) guide to some of the best restaurants in Provence.
You know, the more often I eat Provencal food, either at home or in the places described here, the more convinced I become that the cooking of Provence is the lightest, tastiest, most colorful, most elegant and above all <i>healthiest</i> food in the world. I’ve eaten in other parts of France – mostly in Paris, of course, and also in the Burgundy and Beaujolais regions – and in comparison with Provencal cooking the cuisine of those regions often seems too heavy, too rich, too complicated for my taste.
But, then again, maybe I’m just a little biased!
Please try one or more of these wonderful restaurants if you happen to be lucky enough to find yourself in Provence. I know that you won’t be disappointed. And I know that I’ll be there again very soon!
Auberge La Feniere
Route de Cadenet
Tel: 04 90 6811 79
Reine Sammut is recognized as one of the best women chefs in the whole of France. On a hill between the Durance and the Luberon she evokes all the color and sunshine of Provence in her wonderfully inventive cuisine, which could be described as a combination of local Provencal and modern international. One Michelin star, and a loyal local (and international) following. There’s also a cheaper and more informal Bistro just down the road.
Vallon des Auffes
Tel: 04 91 52 17 82
Jutting out into the Med, and looking more like a New England lobster shack than a French gourmet restaurant, Guillaume Sourrieu’s L’Epuisette is probably <i>the</i> place in Marseille these days to sample a good, genuine, well-prepared and truly tasty bouillabaisse. All the other great fish and seafood classics are featured too, of course. A lovely place in a lovely spot.
Une Table, au Sud
Quai du Port
Tel: 04 91 90 63 5
Marseille is full of restaurants – good, bad and indifferent – and this relative newcomer on a corner of the Vieux Port is definitely one of the better ones. Young chef Lionel Levy trained with Alain Ducasse – so what more can one say? Meat, fish and seafood are of exemplary quality, the desserts are out of this world, and prices for both food and wine are extremely reasonable. And that’s even without the incredible view! Highly recommended.
MAUSSANE LES ALPILLES
Ou Ravi Provençau
Avenue de la Vallée-des-Baux
Tel: 04 90 54 31 11
This is the place to come for Provençal specialities, and if the weather allows you to eat them in the lovely flowered courtyard, tant mieux! A lovely restaurant in a lovely little village. Charming welcome. Good local wines.
La Petite France
Avenue de la Vallée-des-Baux
Tel: 04 90 54 41 91
<p>Just outside Maussane on the road to Fontvielle, this converted bakery was once a very tasteful, rather formal restaurant with one Michelin star. Now it has completely changed its style (although still under the same owner-chef) and is now providing a much cheaper, bistro-style food concentrating on fresh, local ingredients.</p>
Le Louis XV
Place du Casino
98000 Monte Carlo
Tel: 377 92 16 29 76
;Is Monaco really part of Provence? Opinion differs. And who cares? This is one of the world’s great restaurants and we just couldn’t leave it out. Created by master chef Alain Ducasse, this temple of gastronomy has 3 Michelin stars and a score of 19/20 in GaultMillau. It is the epitome of elegance and luxury – and the food is truly unforgettable. Take out a second mortgage, and treat yourself! There is a (relatively) reasonably-priced lunch menu, including wine and coffee. (Note: Gentlemen are expected to wear a jacket and tie, even in the height of summer!)
Tel: 04 90 92 37 118
Alain Assaud has worked with some of the great names of modern French cuisine: Chapel, Troisgros, Vergé. He produces simple, unadorned, even austere, dishes based on good, fresh local produce. A lovely little place in a lovely little town!
La Maison Jaune
15 Rue Carnot
Tel: 04 90 92 56 14
For years Francois Perraud has been working diligently away in his charming little restaurant in an 18th century former merchant’s house tucked away in one of the little backstreets of St-Remy. His hard work has now been rewarded (not before time) with a Michelin star. Fresh, bright, unfussy cuisine with some nice contemporary touches. Grab a seat on the terrace and look out over the rooftops ….
Le Moulin à Huile
Quai du Mal-Foch
Tel: 04 90 36 20 67<br>
A converted olive mill on the banks of the river l’Ouvèze provides a suitably elegant setting for Robert Bardot’s inventive, imaginative Provencal cuisine, with just an added touch of Oriental spice here and there. Irreproachable food, wine and service.
About the Author
This article has been adapted from the author’s web site dedicated to the food, wine, restaurants and recipes of Provence. You can check it out here:http://www.cafe-de-provence.com