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Provence restaurants

Provence's culinary soul is torn between purists and pioneers. The newest wave of innovation has bridged a gap between the two by revitalizing dormant traditions and concentrating on ingredients harvested from the countryside. The Italian-influenced cuisine of eastern Provence and the southern coast—a savory repertoire of salade Niçoise, rosemary-infused lamb, olive oil, and fresh fish—has little of the heavy sauces and butter that characterize classic French cooking. Toward the west and farther inland, the food gets richer, but no less delectable, with an emphasis on fresh truffles, farm pork, lamb, and many a roasted goose. Visitors looking for a picture-book Provençal experience are in luck, for there are hundreds, if not thousands, of decent roadside restaurants done up with the iconic floral prints, tile floors, and stone walls. No matter what, you can generally leave your formal clothes at home for all but the fanciest three-star restaurants. That said, calling ahead is essential for the restaurants listed below: Opening days and hours are maddeningly unpredictable.

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Jacquou le Croquant, Aix-en-Provence

Southwestern French cuisine is the raison d'être of this refreshingly casual, energetic restaurant. The entire staff seems to be of college age, including...more

Editors' Pick
Jardins du Ranquet, Tornac

In spite of a backcountry location that requires serious map-reading skills and a strong stomach for switchback mountain roads, the Demeures du Ranquet won a...more

Editors' Pick
L'Enclos des Lauriers Roses, Cabrières

As Provence grows in culinary stature, travelers have to try a little harder to get to the truly simple pleasures. You're more likely to find them at the...more

Editors' Pick
L'Estellan, Gordes

Though it has its own gift shop, L'Estellan is anything but a tourist trap. Located in the Lubéron valley east of Avignon near Gordes, the clientele here...more

Editors' Pick
Le Bistrot d'Eygalières, Eygalières

This is the home of Provence's most relaxed culinary thrills. Rare is the two-Michelin-starred restaurant that is as open and friendly as Wout and Suzy Bru's...more

Editors' Pick
Le Café de Bouzigues, Aigues-Mortes

A crimson-red, low-slung dining room just off Aigues-Mortes' main street, the Café de Bouzigues is a ramshackle, homespun affair that's miles away from...more

Editors' Pick
Le Mas de Peint, Arles

Deep in the Camargue is that rare bird, a hotel-restaurant that's more like someone's home...because it is. Owner-patron Jacques Bon was born here, and loves to...more

Editors' Pick
Le Passage, Aix-en-Provence

In a former candy factory is a mini village (there's also a cooking school, a wine shop, and an épicerie) offering Aix some overdue modern cuisine. Reine...more

Editors' Pick
Oustau de Baumanière, Les Baux-de-Provence

There's nothing trendy, deconstructed, or reconstructed about this classic of the region, chef Jean-André Charial's domain for the past three...more

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



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