Oustau de Baumanière, Les Baux-de-Provence
Tel: 33 4 90 54 33 07
Concierge.com's insider take:
There's nothing trendy, deconstructed, or reconstructed about this classic of the region, chef Jean-André Charial's domain for the past three decades—it's just right as it is. The stone-walled restaurant with its arched windows, wood-beamed ceiling, and iron carriage lamps plus its shaded garden tables is neither too dressy nor too louche, and likewise the menus, rigorously simple and based firmly in the cuisine of the Baussenque region. Pride of place goes to what's just been picked from the extensive gardens, and any arlequinade de legumes printaniers or ballade dans notre jardin or petits farcis (a Niçois dish of stuffed vegetables) on the menu should be seized upon—few chefs dare to give a nice young vegetable its head like Charial does. Fillets of red mullet with basil—a signature dish—are similarly deceptively simple; suckling pig roasted at low temperature with fennel confit and a leg of lamb en croûte are showier, but still sublime. Afterwards, try to save room for the impressive cheese board—all are from this region—and for another Baumianière signature, the crêpes soufflés au Grand Marnier. The 30 bedrooms, by the way, are wonderful, with a mix of modern and traditional furniture. Some even have outdoor terraces.