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Please help me dine exceptionally well in SE France

Please help me dine exceptionally well in SE France

Old Apr 6th, 2019, 05:54 PM
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kja
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Please help me dine exceptionally well in SE France

I am looking forward to my upcoming month in SE France -- the Cote d'Azur, Provence, and bits of nearby regions. I fully expect to savor some delicious meals! Iíve taken copious notes from guidebooks, prior trip reports, and planning threads (including mine) and welcome any additional suggestions any of you care to offer about local specialties and restaurants.

For restaurants, Iím looking for:
  • Sit-down meals (not street food) that I can enjoy with some wine, generally in the evening -- as a rule, the later the better! (I donít usually eat a mid-day meal and, in constrast, I truly enjoy dining late.)
  • I strongly prefer traditional offerings and/ or locally sourced foods.
  • Iím open to anything from simple local fare to an occasional splurge for haute cuisine, and will try to ensure a range of experiences across my time in the area.
Please donít limit yourselves to restaurant recommendations: I'd appreciate comments about any specific regional dishes or ingredients or anything else that I should be sure to consider, including local wines and other beverages that I would do well to sample -- or that I would do well to avoid!

With many thanks in advance, here are the places where I expect to dine:

Aigues-Mortes
Aix-en-Provence
Annecy
Antibes
Arles
Avignon
Juan des Pines
La Ciotat
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Lyon
Marseille
Maussane-les-Alpilles
Menton
Nice
Orange
Port Grimaud
Tende
Uzes
Vence

P.S. For my prior planning threads for this trip, see:
Seeking diverse experiences in SE France
Please help me plan a month in SE France
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 08:43 AM
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topping
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 09:25 AM
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There is a growing body of evidence that skipping meals during the day and eating a big dinner late evening is not a healthy choice:
https://www.livestrong.com/article/4...uring-the-day/
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 09:56 AM
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Actually, I often skip lunch and I am generally not a fine diner (as many of my posts attest).

On the CŰte d'Azur, I would not expect fine dining unless going to come of the five-star hotels of the region and paying the price for it. Many visitors prefer more casual dining along the coast (salade niÁoise or pizza with a chilled rosť -- nothing fancy). However, Provence is full of very nice and often outstanding restaurants away from the coast -- you will just need to do a bit of research.

Lyon is of course the fine dining capital of France -- not for me.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 10:42 AM
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Whitehall, you can’t be serious. Did you not read the title of the thread? Livestrong.com.. LOL.

I think kja knows herself when it comes to how to eat and when.

kja, all I can say is... ravioli in Nice
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rialtogrl View Post
Whitehall, you canít be serious. Did you not read the title of the thread? Livestrong.com.. LOL.

I think kja knows herself when it comes to how to eat and when.

kja, all I can say is... ravioli in Nice
Lighten up. That was a play on @kja's regular lectures on driving after international flying. I was simply trying to help move up her post since no one was replying.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 11:05 AM
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Aha.. I did not get the humor. Thank you for clarifying! She probably got it.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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actually, I rarely eat breakfast. When I do, it's usually a brunch type thing and then I don't eat lunch of course. So I almost always only eat two meals a day. I've read recent articles in more academic journals (not places like livestrong) that the old adage about how you had to eat breakfast to rev your metabolism was, in fact, just made up, it didn't have any scientific evidence and from studies, they could find nothing to support that idea. I can understand being hungry first thing after doing nothing but sleeping for 8 hours IF you eat a very early dinner and nothing after it. Most people don't fall into that camp, I am always amazed at how much most people eat, eating a big dinner, plus dessert, and then needing hundreds of calories just because they've slept overnight.

That article gave no evidence whatsoever that I could see, no citations from peer-reviewed journals and repeating stuff I've read isn't true. But in any case, kja never said she didn't eat all day, which is what that's article about and she didn't say she was going to eat a huge meal late at night, either. Livestrong is not a scientific journal.

okay, I don't generally take notes on restaurants nor eat in special ones nor spend a lot of time on that quest. It isn't Isle sur la Sorgue, but one restaurant I really like in that area is this one
https://www.dameloie.fr/

It is a few miles up the road, though.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 11:37 AM
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Please leave the foie gras to others and don't contribute to torture of animals!
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 11:50 AM
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I agree with Christina about skipping meals (or not) -- it is your body that knows what is best, and we are all different. Some people need a big breakfast, others need a big dinner, or of course some need even three full meals. As we have all read, many Chinese eat at least six times a day and nobody tells them that it is wrong. A lot of it is cultural, but it is your own body that is in charge.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 12:40 PM
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I hate breakfast, have to force myself to eat it, and I especially don't want anything sweet at that time of day. My big meal, if I have one, is mid-day, and even though we usually cook a nice dinner here in the evenings, I will have only a few bites. I'm happy when we find a nice restaurant where we like the food and the ambiance, but I'm not one to chase down an elaborate meal anywhere - half the time I can't finish it and feel as though I've been wasteful. Sometimes I read these food odysses on Fodors and am just nonplussed at how people can eat so much and so often. OTOH, our best DC friends come to Europe every year and focus on Micheln restaurants all over and are happy to schedule dinner after dinner in such places. I don't know how they do it, but they enjoy it and that's what counts!
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 01:50 PM
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I know it's a bit far out, but Likokť in Les Vans is fantastic. 1* Michelin and 17 pts Gault-Millau. It's a Belgian chef.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 01:54 PM
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We ate very well in most of the places you list. Unfortunately, the memory is not cooperating with exactly where. I know that we would just pull up to many local cafes and restaurants and typically had a nice meal. Like you I scoured guidebooks and TRs and used those too. I have a TR from our time in Lyon quite a few years ago. Live from Lyon Maybe my memory will suddenly cooperate. Have a great trip!

Ah, I see you already check out the TR. Hope you found it helpful.

Last edited by yestravel; Apr 9th, 2019 at 02:01 PM.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 04:08 PM
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Hi kja,
Not a lot of overlap with our trip, just 2 or 3 places, but I'll follow up closely to get some ideas of exceptional dining places. Sorry I can't help with the restaurants quest, I'm still in the research phase.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 04:33 PM
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How delightful to come home from work and find so many helpful comments!

I'm always fascinated by the differences between people, including when and what we want to eat. And I'm a great believer in the wisdom of one's own body. Thanks to all who join me in saying "Vive la differťnce!"

@ whitehall: Hahaha.

@ kerouac: I'm definitely looking forward to some salad niÁoise with chilled rosť while along the coast! I'm not looking exclusively for fine dining -- just really good food. I know that's pretty much a given in France -- which is why I referred to eating exceptionally well in my thread title.

@ rialtogrl: Thank you very much! I will be sure to look for ravioli in Nice.

@ Christina: Dame Loie looks lovely -- thanks! And the scientific literature on diets is intriguing, isn't it? While a lot is unclear, the more recent and more rigorous studies seem to suggest that time of consumption is irrelevant -- it's just that most people who eat large meals late in the day don't eat a well-balanced diet.

@ PalenQ: I appreciate the reminder and will do my best to avoid contributing to the torture of animals.

@ StCirq: I'm with you on sweets for breakfast -- not for me! Oddly, I normally want just some yogurt or some fruit for breakfast, but when I travel, I love sitting down to a savory spread to start my day.

@ MyriamC: Likokť looks great! Les Vans is a bit further west than I plan to go on this trip, but I hope to explore more of that part of France on a future trip, and hope to remember your suggestion (or remember to consult this thread) when I do.

@ yestravel: I have, indeed, found your trip report to be very helpful -- thanks to both you and gottravel! L'Ange di Vin caught my eye, as did Au Petit Bouchon Georges, Restaurant les Retrouvailles, and Le Potager des Halles. Oooh, and St Marcellin -- I do love cheese!

@ xyz99: thanks! Again, I'm not looking for fancy restaurants in particular -- just really good food.

Thanks one and all!
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 07:24 PM
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We had an excellent meal at Mirazur in Menton but it is a splurge; my wife claimed it was the most expensive restaurant we ate in, which means that it beat French Laundry, the original 11 Madison, the Herb Farm near Seattle and others; but she does not take into account the intervening inflation. Here's the view from our table:


In Marseille, Chez Fonfon for bouillabaisse, and in the Provence, Cucuron has a nice restaurant, which I think I mentioned in my trip report.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 08:45 PM
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@ Michael: Thanks! That view from Mirazur is stunning, but to pay its prices, I'd have to have good reason -- VERY good reason! --- to expect the absolute best meal of my life. Would you describe it that way? Otherwise, I'll consider taking your picture with me and propping it up in front of me somewhere. I booked Chez Fonfon some time ago and am looking forward to that!
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 10:34 PM
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It's impossible to guarantee that any meal would be the best in your life. This is the menu we had:


It looks more ordinary than it was.





Last edited by Michael; Apr 9th, 2019 at 10:39 PM.
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 05:07 AM
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In Nice, we had excellent dinners at Lou Pistou as well as Bistrot Chaud Vin.
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Old Apr 10th, 2019, 07:39 AM
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I'd supplement the knowledge here with the Michelin Bib Gourmand entries, and I'd read LeFooding.com. I often check Andy Hayler, although he focuses mostly on the Michelin starred places at the high end. I'm sure there are tons of sites and blogs especially if you speak French.

I'm not sure you put a price range in your query.

If you are a fish lover and do not speak good restaurant French, I would acquaint yourself with the local names of the fish, and shellfish, you are likely to encounter. I'd also look at a list of the AOP products (or whatever the designation is in France; in Italy it is DOP) in the area; I love to try the best regional products.

And I would absolutely immerse myself in Patricia Wells' writing about food in the area; her restaurant recommendations may or not be dated but for an outsider, I think she has great sensibility about the regions you will visit.


Anyway that is a start. I'm one of those people who goes on what someone above called "food odysseys," but I try the very low end and sometimes the (not very) high end.


So that's the way I'd go about preparing, for a start. I've not been around those destinations in 15 years or so, so have no recommendations for restaurants. But I do know it matters almost as much WHAT you order as WHERE you eat. LIke maybe you ought to skip the salmon when you are in Menton!
And consult the wait staff.....ask questions about the food items...ask what they like. There is no better way to break down barriers in any country than to inquire about what people eat.

If you are truly interested in local fare, and not just looking for a good meal, there are a ton of articles and books out there that can give you a basic understanding of the seasonal cycle and the food of those parts of France.

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Apr 10th, 2019 at 07:47 AM.
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