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Jacquou le Croquant, Aix-en-Provence

2 Rue de l'Aumône Vieille
France 13100
Tel: 33 4 42 27 37 19's insider take:

Southwestern French cuisine is the raison d'être of this refreshingly casual, energetic restaurant. The entire staff seems to be of college age, including the chefs, who cook out of a semipublic kitchen, and the casual, friendly wait staff, some of whom still have braces on their teeth. The interior decor is negligible; go for the sun-filled narrow garden at the back, where you'll share the space with in-the-know locals. Duck and goose are everywhere on the menu, including the Starlette salad, a rich mix of marinated sautéed rabbit livers, duck rillettes, and foie gras atop some token greens. The house specialty is a tourtou of duck, a stuffed warm crêpe that is creamy, warm, satisfying, and pleasantly unlike the regime of olive oil and shellfish that reigns everywhere else in Aix. Wines are cheap, local, and cheerful. Jacquou may not be straight out of a Peter Mayle book, but it's a refreshing jolt of youth and energy in this sometimes sleepy-feeling region.

Opens daily at noon for lunch and 7 pm for dinner, April through September, and Tuesdays through Saturdays, October through March.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.