Heading to the south of France this holiday season? Find out where the winemakers of Provence go out to eat. At the Decanter Mediterranean & Balkan Fine Wine Encounter, we caught up with the Provence producers to find out where they go for dinner — when they’re not hard at work in the winery...
Top Provence restaurants
Franck Breau from Château Romanin
Franck Breau is the oenologist and operations manager at Château Romanin, situated in the Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles, just south of Avignon. Its owners Anne-Marie and Jean-Louis Charmolüe previously owned Château Montrose in Bordeaux, but they sold it to buy this historic Provence estate.
Breau recommends his favourite restaurants in the nearby village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It may be small, but the centre has a rich gastronomic scene. And it was famously where Vincent van Gogh painted his masterpiece The Starry Night.
La Café de la Place St-Rémy-de-Provence
Much more than a café, here they serve refined dishes to a gourmet standard. Using locally sourced ingredients, as it was founded by a local farmer and his wife. It has a large sunny terrace and is by the village square. With a good wine list that changes monthly.
Auberge la Reine Jeanne St-Rémy de Provence
Centrally located, this auberge has a typical old Provençal feel. Its restaurant, run by finalist of the TV show Top Chef Fanny Rey, is all exposed stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings, with a terrace for summertime dining. It has been given a Michelin star, with inspectors complimenting its flavoursome market ingredients.
Hôtel de Tourrel St-Rémy de Provence
This elegant designer hotel was formerly a private mansion and dates back to the 17th century. Its restaurant has a 1920s high-end feel, and it comes highly recommended by the Michelin and the Figaro Cityguide. Why not pick out a bottle in the accompanying wine shop, which can be served to you at your table.
Jonathan Sack Zafiropoulos from Clos Ste-Magdeleine
Jonathan Sack Zafiropoulos is the proprietor and winemaker at Clos Sainte-Magdeleine, and he’s also president of the Cassis winemakers syndicate. Naturally, his recommendations are for the Cassis area, a mediterranean port known for its exquisite fresh fish and seafront dining.
La Villa Madie Cassis
Two-Michelin star splendour facing out over the azure Mediterranean sea at the foot of Cap Canaille, La Villa Madie is a restaurant of minimalist design and fine-dining. It’s run by culinary power couple Marielle and Dmitri Droisneau, who seek to promote the seasonal local cuisine, with slick service in a stylish setting.
Restaurant Angelina Cassis
Five metres from the fishing port, Restaurant Angelina serves up local market produce in its contemporary dining room, with a summer terrace. Its focus on mediterranean cooking is symbolised by the olive tree stationed in the centre of the restaurant. Expect the freshest of fish dishes and well-chosen wines.
Guillaume Tari from Domaine de la Bégude
Guillaume Tari is the winemaker and owner of Domaine de la Bégude, situated between Toulon and Marseille in the commune of Bandol. The domaine produces red, white and rosé wines, which are aged in a 7th century Merovingian chapel. Tari is also president of the Bandol winemakers syndicate.
The town of Bandol is on the Côte d’Azur, a tranquil seaside setting with plenty of top drawer eateries. Here are Tari’s recommendations…
Hôtel du Castellet Bandol
A five-star boutique hotel and spa that also boasts a beautiful restaurant, which has earned itself two Michelin stars under Corsican Chef Christophe Bacquié. Apparently he was offered position as head chef at the Paris Ritz, but turned it down to create the Restaurant Christophe Bacquié. It’s slightly out of the way, but is near to the Castellet racetrack.
Hostellerie Bérard Bandol
A family run Michelin-starred restaurant in the medieval village, La Cadière-d’Azur. Chef Jean-François Bérard took over from his father René, and has created a modern menu using traditional styles and ingredients. With fresh herbs and vegetables from his own kitchen garden.
La Table de Nans Bandol
It’s named after its owner and chef, Nans Gaillard — a local man who has realised his long-held dream of opening a restaurant in La Ciotat in 2013. Since then his efforts have been rewarded with a Michelin star. The restaurant has stunning views across the bay, with its clustered coves and the wooded L’Ile Vert in the distance.