Provence

Restaurants in Provence

Provence restaurants have made their mark on the world of cuisine by combining traditional French ingredients with Mediterranean flavors. Its culinary all-stars get creative with fresh seafood, olive oils and a little extra spice, and the result is regional specialties such as ratatouille, pesto soup and the pizza-like pissaladier. Our guide highlights the best places to eat in Provence, including Le Clos de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence, which serves expertly prepared versions of the region’s signature dishes. Other outstanding Provence restaurants, like the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel in Arles, take a more avant-garde approach to cooking. Here, guests can settle in for multi-course tasting menus that get creative with seasonal, organic ingredients.

During the warm summer months, take the opportunity to dine al fresco many of the best restaurants in Provence. Les Deux Garcons offers outstanding outdoor dining from its location overlooking Aix’s iconic tree-lined boulevard, the Cours Mirabeau. Or, take in rural Provence at country bistros like L’Auberge in quaint Saint-Pantaléon-Les-Vignes. Housed on a 146-year-old property, the restaurant serves first-class prix-fixe meals.

This Michelin one-star property sits on a bucolic farm with olive groves and fig trees in the village of Les Paluds-de-Noves. Lunch, prepared by La Maison's chef, Christian Peyre, begins with St.-Pierre poêlée—sautéed John Dory capped with bacon and serve

The mayor of St.-Jurs believed so strongly in a bistro/café/grocery/bread drop-off that he built this one with municipal funds.

Find this small country inn and restaurant owned by Alain Ducasse, for a long afternoon lunch.

AOC

With its resident DJ and even a bouncer, the Opéra Café is an oasis très design, as the French say, in the Papal City's principal square. At about $17, the lunch formule is a good value (appetizer and main course or main course and dessert).

New owners Jean-Louis and Mireille Pons, from nearby Arles, took over Chez Quénin, changing the name to the trendier-sounding Bistrot du Paradou and improving the cuisine, while maintaining the character—vintage-tiled floors, stone walls, timbered ceilings—of the old place.

The modest 35-seat restaurant in Arles has no written menu and a $67 lunchtime prix fixe. Rival Gault Millau had named Rabanel, the restaurant’s previously obscure fortysomething chef, its toque of the year in 2008.

The unlikely people behind Pierrerue's only storefront are Maryvonne and Mark Marinelli, Americans in their forties who formerly owned a corporate catering company in North Carolina.

In the tourist-clogged hill town of Gordes, it's not easy finding a place to eat—a pleasant, authentic, and reasonably priced place, that is, among the tourist canteens and the high-priced restaurants. Le Bouquet de Basilic, tucked behind a souvenir shop, is an adorable discovery.