Monday, 13 July 2015

Places to eat in Arles

I had the good fortune to visit the south of France, spending time in Nice, Aix en Provence and Arles. Provence is beautiful, with lovely countryside, picture perfect villages, and historic medieval towns; a feast for the eyes. The countryside boasts many farms producing wonderful fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, so a feast for the belly, too! 

There are lots of places to eat in Arles, mainly very good, although some we sampled were only average or good rather than great. Service is generally good, although in one establishment, my French was mocked by the waiting staff in a rather mean spirited display of what supposedly passed for humour. Don't worry, they aren't on this list, not just for the unkind service, but because the food wasn't up to scratch (the level where I'd actually recommend it to other people). 

So here is my list of places to eat in Arles, with a recommendation for a day trip to Saint Remy.

La Gueule du Loup

This family run restaurant prides itself on its authentically Provencale food, made with regard to seasonal local produce. We were told by the nice woman in L'Office du Tourisme that the chef had won an award for the food being quintessentially of the region. Her recommendation was echoed by the owner of our accommodation and a number of local restaurant guides. It did not disappoint. 
The menu changes with the season, and includes the famous local beef (Taureau de Camargue is a beef product which enjoys DOC protected status), olives, seafood and Camargue rice, that other local famed ingredient. 

There is a dining room upstairs, but the real atmosphere is in tiny downstairs dining area, where you can see the cooking and preparation happen in the tiny kitchen at the back. Watching the dishes being made with dedication and love is impressive enough, but seeing the co-operation and care working in confined conditions is an extra surprise. 

This restaurant is popular with the people of Arles and for dinner you may want to book. We found that on the day bookings were possible, but in high season this may change.

La Gueule du Loup
39 Rue des Arenes
13200 Arles
04 90 96 96 69
Closed annually 15 January - 15 February
Closed in Winter Sundays and Mondays
In season closed Sunday and Monday lunchtime

Au Brin de Thym

The terrace is a riot of floral colour, making this Arles eatery a very appealing place to spend a balmy Summer evening. 
The typically Provencale food is perhaps more rustic than some of its finer dining rivals, but it makes up in robust flavour what it lacks in precise presentation. 
I appreciated the earthy colours of the handmade terracotta plates and simple presentation, feeling timeless and of the region. 
The Provencale fish soup is served with the traditional accompaniments of toasted baguette slices, rouille sauce, grated parmesan and cloves of raw peeled garlic. I relished rubbing the raw garlic over the cute little toasts, smearing the rouille, topping with parmesan and dunking in the slight, pleasantly smoky soup and munching!

Au Brin de Thym
22 Rue du Docteur Fanton
13200 Arles
33 4 90 97 85 18

Le Galoubet

Situated just next door to Au Brin de Thym, Le Galoubet is on Rue de Docteur Fanton, which also boasts a homemade ice cream shop and a cute little lunch place called Le 16. 
Le Galoubet runs both a restaurant and hotel. But don't let that persuade you this is a low quality tourist trap, because we found that the restaurant was popular with the locals. Their menu changes regularly and although not extensive, is select. 
The emphasis is on fresh local ingredients. Their three course menu was 29 Euros, which I felt was very good value, but sadly a large lunch that same day meant I could only manage starter and main! 

Le Galoubet
18 Rue du Docteur Fanton
13200 Arles 
04 90 10 11

Nearby, in Saint Remy de Provence:


Of all the places to visit close to Arles, visitors are most likely to go to Saint Remy. It is close by, and is a compact and lovely old town, easy to explore and walk around. Of course, the Cloitre de Saint Paul where Van Gogh spent a year painting and convalescing draws many curious about the inspirations and work of that great artist. 

I would recommend L'Estagnol as a place to have lunch on a visit to Saint Remy without hestitation. It has a gorgeous garden terrace at the back of the restaurant. The speciality is seafood and the chef, Fabrice Meynardier holds the title of Maitre restaurateur, given for quality cooking, done freshly and in-house. 

16 Boulevard Victor Hugo
13210 Saint Remy de Provence
04 90 92 05 95
Closed annually around the second 15 days of February and the second 15 days of November
Closed Sunday evenings and Mondays

Recommended to me but not tested:
5 Rue Dulau

I have not received any form of incentive or payment for this post. I paid for my food at these restaurants fair and square. The establishments featured have no clue they are being included in this blog post. 

1 comment:

  1. We enjoyed our day out in Arles, especially the amazing historical sites.

    I'd like to add Le Petit Arles to your foodspot list. We lunched there and it's basically just a tiny creperie, but with a very friendly and chatty owner and the food was good! Coffee Me was a pleasant coffe shop too.

    I've mentioned both in my blog post here: A Quartet of Roman Monuments in Arles