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Secrets of St-Rémy #2: Favorite Places to Eat

My wife Val and I live part of the year in St-Rèmy-de-Provence, a charming town between Marseille and Avignon. I’ve written a guidebook about the area, An Insider’s Guide to Provence, where I share some of our favorite things to see and do. This series of articles is based on that book.

St-Rémy is full of excellent restaurants and cafés, and Val and I love enjoying their meals, lingering over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The list below is far from exhaustive, but these are our 7 top favorites, places we’ve been to many times, in no particular order.

Restaurants

1. À la Table de Nicolas

À la Table de Nicolas
8 boulevard Marceau
Tel: +33 (0)4 32 62 03 82

Diners at À la Table de Nicolas can take comfort in knowing that Chef Nicolas understands
food allergies. His daughter is gluten-intolerant and he’s happy to adapt dishes to make
them safe for his customers to eat. All his fruits and vegetables are organic and he offers a
nice selection of vegetarian dishes. And he does all this while earning the title of Master
Restauranteur! À La Table de Nicolas also offers a wide variety of takeout dishes.

2. Le Marilyn

Le Marilyn
13 boulevard Marceau
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 37 11

Le Marilyn is across the street from À la Table de Nicolas. It has a small menu that changes
frequently, ensuring that everything is fresh and seasonal. It’s a comfortable place with
friendly staff and is usually one of the first places I check when eating out. And yes, the
owner is very blond and looks a bit like you know who.


3. L’Aile ou la Cuisse

L’Aile ou la Cuisse
34 Boulevard Mirabeau
Tel: +33 (0)6 12 13 40 40

Want to pick out your own dessert? Try L’Aile ou la Cuisse! The menu is traditional but not
stuffy, and there are plenty of good things to eat. The best part is dessert—your server will
lead you up to a big display case and let you choose your favorite. I like to watch people
pick out their dessert and then walk back to their table with gleeful smiles on their faces. It
makes them look like kids who just got the best Christmas presents ever.

4. Ô Caprices de Mathias

Ô Caprices de Mathias
Domaine de Métifiot
Chemin la Croix des Vertus
Tel: +33 (0)4 32 62 00 00

Only a short walk from the center of town, Ô Caprices de Mathias is a local secret. When
you get there, it’s like you are suddenly out in the countryside. Its terrace offers a beautiful
view of the Alpilles Mountains and there are horses grazing in the field next door. Chef
Mathias has earned the distinction of Master Restauranteur, and his modestly priced 3-course lunch menu, with wine and coffee included, is one of the best deals anywhere. His
dinners are excellent as well.

5. Le Bistro Découverte

Le Bistro Découverte
19 Boulevard Victor Hugo
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 34 49
Le Bistrot Découverte is a restaurant where everything is good. Located near the tourist
office, you can eat indoors or out. Be sure to ask about the wine cellar downstairs if you’d
like to buy a bottle to drink or take with you—you can enter via the restaurant or through a
separate entrance on Rue de la Commune. Don’t miss the daily lunch special, written on a
chalkboard outside, which is always good and reasonably priced.

6. Le Château des Alpilles

Le Château des Alpilles
1392 Route de Rougadou
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 92 03 33

Le Château des Alpilles is the place to go for a special meal. It’s a 5-star hotel and restaurant
that you enter via a majestic avenue lined with plane trees. The hotel is an elegant old Provençal estate and the food is excellent, but the best part of dining there is sitting outside, surrounded by the park-like grounds. The restaurant gives the first choice to hotel guests, who can decide the night before whether they want a table, so it is hard to reserve ahead. The secret is to call early in the morning on the day you’d like to dine, at which point you can snag one of the few free tables. It is generally easier to get a reservation for lunch than for dinner.

7. L’Oustalet Maianen

L’Oustalet Maianen
16 Avenue Lamartine, Maillane
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 95 74 60

If you’d like a quiet spot not far from St-Rémy, head north three miles to L’Oustalet Maianen. It’s in the town of Maillaine, where the famous poet Frédéric Mistral lived (there’s a small museum about him near the restaurant.) The food is always excellent, as is the service, which is no surprise because the chef is a Master Restauranteur. He learned to cook from his father, who ran the restaurant before him and grew up in the apartment upstairs. This is definitely worth the short drive.

Cafés

If you want to have a coffee and a croissant to start your day, a good spot is the

  • Grand Café Riche at 27 Boulevard Marceau is right next to the church.

Another good place for a coffee is

  • Bar-Tabac des Alpilles at 21 Boulevard Victor Hugo. It’s also nice for lunch or dinner and it’s my favorite spot for an afternoon drink
  • Café de la Place, at 17 Place de la République (in the
    back of the parking lot across from the church), is a good coffee spot with excellent food.

Pro tip: cafés and restaurants fill up quickly during tourist season, especially on
Wednesday (market day), so be sure to make a reservation or get there early.



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