Paradou, France (Provence) / July 15, 2009 / dinner
Winederlust Rating (details below): 8.75 out of 10 / Winederlust Worthy: Yes
We needed a break day from all the huge, multi-course menus that take hours to eat. So today we had lunch in a bistro in Chateauneuf de Pape – an unmemorable meal, but with amazing views of this really cute and well-preserved medieval town. (Jay will write more on our wine adventures there soon.)
We also wanted a “lighter” (quote/unquote because I think very few meals in France can really be classified as “light”) meal for dinner, so we chose Le Bistrot du Paradou, a totally charming little place about a five-minute drive from our mas (farmhouse hotel) outside of Les Baux des Provence. It’s the type of place where regulars return week after week (and season after season), and the owners (the husband presides over the front of house while the wife cooks) greet them with kisses. Then there are also a smattering of foreigners – including Americans, some of the first we’d dined with on the trip – who have read about Le Bistrot’s charms and have come to taste for themselves.
Paradou has been widely rated as one of the best and most authentic bistros in France. It’s totally adorable, with tiled floors, stone walls, and beamed ceilings, and the meal itself was very good, albeit simple, as more traditional bistro fare tends to be. The bistro offered a set meal for 49 euros each, including a bottle of wine in your choice of rose, red, or white. Although, the waiter told us later that we can drink all three. We opted for the rose, a local wine from Domaine du Vallon des Glauges, about 15 minutes from the restaurant in Eyguieres. It was very pale and light and slightly floral.
The bread was actually some of the best we’ve had so far in France, with a hint of sourdough flavor. I chose the moix St. Jacques (scallops in butter sauce) to start – the scallops were juicy and tender. Jay had the aubergine with ratatouille, thin slices of Parmesan, and olive oil, another light and well-prepared dish.
Aubergine with thin slices of Parmesan.
Scallops in butter sauce.
Our main course was lamb medallions, nicely seasoned, cooked medium and served with ratatouille, zucchini, and lumpy mashed potatoes with lots of butter. (It was a million times better than the fatty lamb that Jay was served at lunch.)
Lamb medallions with ratatouille and potatoes gratin.
We finished up with tarts – I had the fig, and Jay had the apricot. Both were yummy, with fresh fruit and not too sweet.
Fresh apricot tart.
Overall, this was a very good meal in a cute place with a lot of atmosphere. We watched the tables of regulars with some envy, as we’d also like to return more often if we could. Someday… – by Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief
Winderlust Rating Details (out of 10):
Food: 9.0 (preparation, presentation & taste)
Wine: 8.5 (selection, recommendations, pairings & taste)
Service: 9.0 (helpfulness, attentiveness, knowledge & pacing)
Place: 9.0 (location, view, decor & vibe)
Price Range: $$ (Moderate)
Bistro du Paradou / 57 Ave. de la Vallée des Baux, Paradou, France [map]
Direct Line: (33) 4 90 54 32 70
Open 5pm-11pm; Closed Sunday and Monday; Reservations Suggested.