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Aug 18, 2011 10:44 AM

Favorite, Memorable Lunch Spot in Dordogne and Provence?

What is your best, most memorable lunch in Dordogne and Provence? We'll be eating wonderful (hopefully) dinners every night at our inns: Manoir de Malagorse outside of Souillac in the Lot and Riboto de Taven in Les Baux-De-Provence.

We're planning lots of day trips from both locations so distance is not an issue. Recommendations for the Luberon also appreciated.

In addition to a special lunch recommendation, can anyone suggest some simple, Chowish cafes serving anything BUT French e.g., Asian/Vietnamese, Italian, African etc.?

Thank you Chowhounds!

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  1. A few lunch recommendations in Provence:
    le Bistrot du Paradou (in le Paradou)
    la Flambée in Bonnieux - for excellent pizzas ; be sure to sit upstairs on the terrace, weather permitting
    le Castelas in Sivèrgues on a Saturday or Sunday (to be sure to have their roast pig, which is not served at weekday lunches)
    Babouchka in Coustellet - North African cuisine. Lamb & prune tajine is fantastic

    Enjoy Riboto. The setting is fabulous. Troglodyte rooms are cool.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boredough

      I second all the recommendations by boredough. They are all in Provence.
      Near Souillac I like very much the ferme-auberge in Bougayrou, Lacave. It has a very limited menu, serving only ingredients from its farm or nearby farms. It has great pommes salardaises, duck, lamb and cèpe mushroom. Very inexpensive lunch menu for around 16 euro.
      I don't know if you are familiar with the ferme-auberge genre. They farms that run a restaurant as a side-business, often only on the weekend. Except for Olhabidea in Sare and Ferme de la Ruchotte in Burgundy, don't expect sophisticated cooking. The dishes are usually the freshest ingredients cooked simply. There is no freshness like it.

      1. re: ChefJune

        Thanks so much boredough, Parigi and ChefJune for your replies.

        Parigi- if you've been to both the walnut farm in Martel (Le Moulin a Hulle de Noix) and the one in Bougayrou, Lacave- which did you prefer? They are roughly equal distance from our inn.

        Boredough- thanks for the Provencal recommendations - will report back.

        ChefJune- glad to get your endorsement about Riboto de Taven.

        I'm in the process of looking back at old postings and taking notes. Thanks again everyone!

        Any more recommendations- especially for non French food -would be greatly appreciated!

        1. re: anonj

          "f you've been to both the walnut farm in Martel (Le Moulin a Hulle de Noix) and the one in Bougayrou, Lacave- which did you prefer? They are roughly equal distance from our inn."

          I may very slgihtly prefer the Lacave ferme-auberge. Its pomme salardaises were great even for pommes salardaises country. When it is good weather, you can sit in the very nice terrace. But the Martel ferme-auberge made a great walnut cake last time that is still one of the best cakes I have had. And it makes a very good nestle soup - a local specialty. The village of Martel also gives you a very nice pre-lunch walk.
          Their menus even look similar but the dishes are actually prepared quite differently.
          Some visitors complain about finding English-speaking diners in the restaurants where they go. You are not likely to find any English-speakers in these ferme-auberges. They are known only to locals.
          Lastly, forgive me for repeating myself: Their cooking is not Lyonnaise-sophisticated. The menu is very short, offering only ingredients from the farm or nearby associated farms. Those places are all about an incomparable freshness. I love them because they are a unique offering of rural France.
          And better reserve.

          1. re: Parigi

            Just a quick report on our Oct trip: Martel was an attractive little town and we succeeded in getting a tour of the Martel walnut factory but the restaurant wasn't serving at the day/time we were there. The elderly owners (90ish?) were darling but didn't speak a word of English- fortunately, another couple arrived who helped interpret. The grinding area was dimly lit but worthwhile since we picked up a fab bottle of oil to bring home. I peeked at the dining area- school cafeteria-like but many windows. Our innkeeper kept phoning the farm to check on hours- difficult to reach them. A fun side trip but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to arrange again.

            All of our meals and wines in France were delicious! Manoir de Malagorse employed a local young woman- graduate of the culinary school in Souillac- her meals were outstanding and they were so kind to cater to my fish/veg preferences. Breakfasts were astonishing- although skimpy on protein but we requested cheese a few mornings and they would probably make eggs on request.

            Riboto de Taven- also divine meals here but I would not recommend the troglodyte (cave) suites- very damp and dark. The main house was wonderful though.

            We adored our one meal at Bistro du Paradou- wow! the cheese plate and walnut pie were amazing. Best cheese plate of our trip- usually I don't get very excited about cheese plates but the Paradou's was very special- room temperature- help yourself concept.

            The only really memorable lunch I can recall was the outdoor cafe at Glanum (Roman ruins outside of St Remy). We split a vegetarian ancient Rome themed lunch entree- delicious and unusual- sort of Middle Easternish.

            Loved the atmosphere and service at Chez Emile in Toulouse but some of the dishes were hit and miss.

            I regretted not picking up more walnut candy at the convenience store in Rocamadour. Lovely outdoor setting for lunch at Hotel Beau Site (?) in Rocamadour- food quite tasty.

            1. re: anonj

              "I peeked at the dining area- school cafeteria-like but many windows."
              The dining room is upstairs above that cafeteria-style room reserved for groups. The dining room has a 14th century fireplace. Not many cafeterias have those. :-)

              Like all fermes-auberges, the walnut farm is first and foremost a farm, with a restaurant as side business. As I recommend upthread, "better reserve". but of course, better reserve always.

              1. re: Parigi

                I wish we'd seen the real dining room- sounds very cool. Martel was very charming- we actually preferred it over Sarlat which was overrun with tourists but I'm sure Sarlat is kind of like Venice or Montepulciano- fabulous late at night or early in the morning.

                Forgot to mention some more memorable lunches: St Cirque Lapopie- Le Gourmet Quercynois. Delicious salad and incredible atmosphere. Should've splurged on the truffle omelet that some French couples were eating. Never pass up truffles is my new motto.

                Bonnieux in Provence was exceptionally charming and the pizza at La Flambee (as recommended by Boredough) was delicious. Also had perfect weather and loved sitting outside on the top floor/roof.
                Farmers market in Lourmarin also wonderful- grazed on delicious items while looking/shopping.
                Thanks to Chow Hounds for all your help- all our meals ranged from tasty to fantastic!
                I'd be tempted to think all food in France is good but some friends rented a gite in Dordogne and were disappointed with their restaurant choices. Research and cross reference! Thanks again.

                1. re: anonj

                  Too late for this trip, but one of our most memorable lunches in the Dordogne was at the Pont de l'Ouysse just outside of Lacave. It was so memorable that we used it as a base for another trip.