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Is Avignon Chowworthy

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  • erly Jun 21, 2008 11:21 AM

We are thinking about spending four or five days in Avignon.
Would love some suggestions, for small family run restaurants to Star quality.
Just great eating.
Thanks

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  1. will you be traveling outside of Avignon as well? I take it you know about Christian Etienne. And there are other good places too, but I think 4-5 days will be too many if you're looking for fantastic food every meal

    2 Replies
    1. re: sarapeater

      I agree with Sara, 4/5 days in Avignon is too long, you will run out of things to do. Best to hire a car and explore some of the countryside.

      You will probably be OK for food (just). Christian Etienne is good, but we had a better meal at La Mirande, here we sat in the garden and had a very long relaxing lunch. We didn't try D'Europe which is the other one star in town.

      Quite a few other restaurants in town but not the best city to wander around after dark - not obviously unsafe but odd.

      1. re: PhilD

        One of the most memorable meals of my life was in Avignon. After a long day of wine tasting followed by Champagne in the bar of our hotel two friends and I, (craving french fries) spilled out onto the nearly empty streets of Avignon at nearly 1am...everthing was closed near our hotel, (Hotel D'Europe) so we kept wandering the streets until we saw a crowd of young kids standing in front of a brightly lit stand. "Gotta be something good" we assumed and got in line behind the teens. It ended up being a kabob stand, (gyros here) and we were handed a thick piece of pita that was wrapped around thinly sliced pieces of lamb, slathered with a minty creamy sauce and topped with a heaping mound of crispy hot french fries! So fantastic...simple but no doubt chow worthy!

    2. With or without stars, we have always loved Hiely (on the rue de la Republique, on the way into town from the Main Gate).

      Also L'Isle Sonnante -- a charming little bistro with delicious food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Though it was some years ago, I still remember fondly the wonderful lunch I had at Hiely, and the friendly hospitality of the owners. Another place I recommend is the Auberge de Noves, just a few miles from Avignon, where I have stayed and dined twice. It has a Michelin star, and the dinner can end up being a 3 hour extravaganza. The food is great and it is very charming.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Second L'Isle Sonnante. We were there maybe two weeks ago, and had a wonderful meal. It's family run, and they couldn't have been nicer, or warmer.

          1. re: ChefJune

            Couldn't get a table at L'Isle Sonnante, but the owner suggested we try Le CInq Sens, which turned out to be fantastic. Beautiful presentation,and the food was absolutely delicious. Found the flavours to be fresh and the combinations were innovative. I started with a crispy artichoke chevre first course, and tried the vegetarian platter, a sampler of 8 different vegetable or grain dishes. I'd definitely return if I was in Avignon. The dinner was somewhere around 40 Euros each, not including wine.

            Also tried Tangier, a Moroccan restaurant. I was happy with the couscous, and the lamb skewers were surprisingly good, but found the chicken tagine kind of boring. Really enjoyed the Moroccan salad starter. Found Tangier to be reasonably priced, nice garden atmosphere.

          2. Just got back from our honeymoon and we stayed in Avignon for 3 nights - I agree, 4-5 days would be too long but if you have a car it would be fine. Our best meal was at Numero 75 - beautiful garden and delicious food! I'd say Avignon in general is Chowworthy, but only if you stay for a few days, then you'd run out of options...

            3 Replies
            1. re: emilie01

              but the area around is stellar! Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Isle sur la Sorgue, Les Baux, St.Remy-de-Provence, Paradou... lots of excellent places todine, imho.

              Oh, and don't forget Cavaillon, and their wonderful melons!

              1. re: ChefJune

                I completely agree - day trips in every direction. and, in town, there's a small restaurant near the place de la mirande (by the hotel) called the something cow. la Vache... def worth checking out

                1. re: sarapeater

                  la vache a carreaux. 14 rue de la peyrolerie, which is the windy road cut through the rock on a side of the palais.
                  wine, cheese, meats, etc. it's quite good

            2. we spent 3 days not far from avignon (near Apt). to be honest, we didn't eat as well as we thought we would.
              that said, it was a great part of the country, i'd go back in a second.

              oh, and a book worth checking out: Walking and Eating in Provence.
              More focused on villages than cities.

              1. We spent 6 days in Provence this past April. We actually prefered Avignon to the small town where we stayed. We went to Christian Etienne one night - it was very good. Not great in that nothing stood out as being truly stellar, but we enjoyed everything and the setting is really lovely. I'd go back.
                We also dined at La Fourchette one night and we really enjoyed our meal there - nice staff and a good value. I could easily spend several days in Avignon (and the surrounding area of Chateauneuf-du-Papes. We had a nice lunch there at Vergeres des Papes.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: sistereurope

                  We are staying at the Hotel D'Europe, but were told that the restaurant is not up to the 1* status.
                  Any comments?
                  You certainly have given us a good start, and we would welcome specifics for "wow" restaurants, star or not, within a 1 hour drive of Avignon as well.
                  We don't usually rent a car, but considering all of the villages we want to revisit (It has been over 20 years) we are now considering it.

                  1. re: erly

                    rent a car.

                2. Rent a car and drive the 30 minutes down to Arles for lunch (or dinner) at L'atelier Jean-Luc Rabanel. He won the best chef for 2008 award in the Gault Millau guide. My wife and I ate there two weeks ago and had the meal of a lifetime. 13 courses of fun, delicious, stimulating cuisine made mostly with produce from the local "potager." And at 75 euros, it has one of the best price/quality ratios of any restaurant in France. Super service, and a minimalist, unpretentious feel (no dressing up required!).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ablatt

                    The dinner is a much more rewarding experience than the lunch.

                    1. re: ablatt

                      I second ablatt's suggestion of Jean-Luc Rabanel at Arles: very inventive and fun. If you've got a car, I can also recommend Alexandre which is near the airport at Nimes - try the ile flotante of truffles in cep veloute.

                      I've eaten at Christian Etienne on a number of occasions and always greatly enjoyed it.

                    2. It has been 3 years, but had an excellent meal at la Mirande.we were there in October, so too cold to eat in the garden but repaired there for cognac after dinner inside by the fireplace. we had the tasting menu and were well pleased with it. I'd have to go to my journal for the details, but have a very pleasant memory of the dinner.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chazzerking

                        Thanks all.
                        Great list to choose from.
                        I will report back in Sept.
                        Now... if I could find a recommendation for Arles, I would appreciate it.

                      2. I know this thread is very old but I am revitalizing it- I will be in Avignon for one dinner (traveling from Toronto) and would like it to be good- price doesn't matter too much, but I think I would prefer something more traditional in that I would like to enjoy the specialties of the Avignon region.
                        I believe we will be staying at Chateau des fines roches (http://www.chateaufinesroches.com/uk/...

                        )

                        Thank you kindly!

                        1. I recently had a nice meal at L'Essential