Jump to content

St. Paul de Vence, France


Recommended Posts

Restaurant Alain Llorca

Having stayed in the Hostellerie de Messugues in St. Paul de Vence (do note the tourist attractions in that thread), with it being end-of-season and the hotel's restaurant shut down, we were able to snag a half-pension at Restaurant Alain Llorca, having a pre-fixe, three-course menu for the ridiculous price of 30€ each.

Technically, the restaurant is in the neighboring village of La Colle-sur-Loup, but it was literally a three-minute drive from our hotel on the outskirts of St. Paul de Vence.

The catch is that, while Restaurant Alain Llorca is a Michelin one-star, our meal was a set three-course, with no choice as to what we ordered (certainly we could have gotten something else, but not for 30€, and I blew the bill to Kingdom Come by ordering a 50€ bottle of white wine from their large, not particularly well-priced wine list, driving the total bill up to something more like $125 total - such is life.

Our wine was a humble Vin de Pays, and not a particularly good one - oh, it was a pleasant table wine I suppose, but it was something you could walk into Nicolas and purchase for 10€, I suspect. It was a wine I didn't recognize, and although I was thinking it would be a Sauvignon Blanc, it turned out to be a blend, mostly of Chardonnay, and was really not what I had hoped; nevertheless, it carried us through the meal, and I could have *always* turned to the sommelier for help, and I chose not to.

Our first course was a Terrine de Rouget - a terrine of red snapper, and was bountiful to excess. Served in a sauce reminiscent of a classic ratatouille, there were probably three medium-sized filets in each terrine, and we could have eaten just this. 

The breads were made in-house, and were excellent - we had our choice of a mini-baguette, olive bread, and pain de campagne, all three of which were first-rate.

The second, main course was Ombrine Cuite au Naturel en Croûte d'Herbes, Pappardelles Liées au Pistou de Basilic, an *extremely* fancy way of saying "Drumfish over Pappardelle in Pesto," and it was the one dish cooked to order - it was fabulous, although at this point in the trip, we were craving red meat.

At this point, we were positively stuffed, but out came the dessert tray, filled with over a dozen pre-made selections. I ordered Baba au Rhum, which shocked the daylights out of my dining companion because of the straight rum poured on top of the butter biscuit, and my friend ordered a Chocolat Nougatine - a decadently rich heap of dark chocolate.

For the price, the meal and atmosphere could not be beat (bear in mind this price *included tax and tip*, and also included amuse-gueule and mignardises - one of which had the "deepest" Pop Rocks I've ever had: It felt as if they were inside our brains going off) - this was a groundling's meal at a legitimate Michelin one-star restaurant, but there was nothing to complain about. We rolled back to the car, packed to the gills, and swearing never to eat again.

On the way out the next day, we ran in and took a picture of the patio on which we sat, overlooking the ramparts of St Paul de Vence, which I'll include as soon as I dig it up. There were a lot of really interesting cars outside (it's a hotel also, and there was some type of car convention) - not ultra-expensive like at Monaco, but interesting nonetheless - here's one next to our little Fiat:

IMG_2560 (1).jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am the lucky person who got to enjoy this wonderful meal with Don. The view from our table was so lovely. You could see the ancient walled city atop a nearby hill. The sun was setting and the twinkling lights of the village were complemented by the lovely candles in white containers on the tables. It looked like a scene from a 1950s Hollywood film starring Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. I wanted to take a photo, but I didn't want to be a rude tourist, grabbing my cell phone, so I waited until the next afternoon to snap a quick picture of the view.

The meal was an incredible value, and the portions were generous. The service was top notch, as well. There was a charmimg white ceramic lizard on the table, and the wine cork was placed in the curl of its tail. I looked around, and each table had one white creature of some sort for this purpose.

To be honest, I was full after the first course and the delicious bread. The second course was my favorite. The pasta and the flavors of the drumfish and the pesto sauce were quite fresh. I knew I was too full to enjoy dessert when I wasn't even tempted to peek at the cheese cart. My chocolate dish was decadent. I was not a fan of Don's dessert, which tasted to me like a rum shot rather than dessert.

This is the view, but it just doesn't compare to the view at sunset, with the ramparts of St Paul de Vence (seen under the very top corner of the awning) lit up by spotlights.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...