Eating in Provence: the Ventoux Region
The Ventoux region with the magnificent Mont Ventoux towering over the area in the northern part of the Vaucluse department is a great attraction for travelers on their holidays. This is a perfect place for hiking, biking, wine tasting, visiting Provençal markets, and enjoying the outdoors, yet it is close to the Luberon , the Alpilles and Avignon, other more touristed areas of Provence. The Ventoux is perfect for travelers, since as it is not as well known as some other parts of Provence, it is more accessible and less crowded. However it can be a little more difficult to find the best places to eat. Below are my favorite restaurants in this countryside, close to where I live in Provence.
In summer it is best to reserve; days open may change so be sure to check. In Provence restaurants and bistros are often small; many places will not offer a lot of choice so that the chef can concentrate on doing a few things well, and not have a lot of leftovers at the end of the day.
For the many luxury villas from Provence Emotional Escapes available in the Ventoux region, please see here.
Restaurants in the Ventoux
Mas des Vignes, Bedoin
The terrace of the Mas des Vignes with its magnificent and dramatic views, especially at sunset, is the primary appeal of this country restaurant, hidden away on the road to Mont Ventoux. At 600 m (1,968 ft.) elevation, you get a panoramic view of the region from the most astonishing terrace in the Vaucluse; in the evening you can watch the sun set and the stars come out. The ambiance is romantic and peaceful, suffused with mountain air.
Chef and owner Yann de Coetlogon serves seasonal, appetizing and well prepared food. The cuisine is modern Provençal: foie gras with a mixed salad with walnut oil; skate on pissaladière; roast veal with potato and wild mushroom gnocchi; rack of lamb with épeautre (ancient spelt) risotto; chocolate caramel “délice” with sorbet. The restaurant serves some excellent local wines; you will not find this choice of Ventoux wines outside the local area.
Worth the drive if you are not staying locally. The food is very good and the setting, at lunch or dinner, is fantastic.
+33 (0)4 90 65 63 91 /[email protected]
Route de Mont Ventoux, D974 virage (curve) St. Esteve; 84410 Bedoin / map
July and August: open nightly, closed for lunch except Sunday
April, May, June, September: Closed Monday all day & Tuesday lunch
No credit cards; French checks or cash only
Cost- €38 and €50 menus. Child’s menu 15
6 à Table, Caromb
This brand new place opened in Caromb in summer 2016 with well-known local chef/owner, Pascal Poulain, who restored a building on the site. (Sorry, the website is new and in French but you can get an idea.) The location is on the small square in Caromb just in front of the beautiful 15th century church. You can eat on the plane tree shaded terrace, or inside in the new dining room. Pascal is an experienced chef so the food is well prepared. The wine list has excellent, well priced local wines. 3 course meal, €32.
Previous restaurants where the chef worked hold a Michelin « Bib Gourmand, » indicating a good value meal for €32 or less.
Open daily, lunch and dinner but closed Sunday.
33 (0)490 62 37 91
6, Place Nationale, Caromb 84330
Note on Caromb: it is exciting to see 2 new places open in Caromb this summer. If you are there during the day you might want to shop at the excellent shops in this village: the butcher, the bakery, or two small markets with local fruits and vegetables. All are on the main street, Cours de la Republique—the main street going through the village and are very easy to find.
Bar à Vin 156, Caromb (just around the corner from 6 à Table)
Another new place opened in Caromb this summer, though it is not a restaurant. Bar à Vin 156 is a wine bar, specializing in the local, excellent, well-priced (and somewhat unknown) Ventoux wines. You can get salads or cheese & charcuterie plates to try with your wines. The ambiance is very friendly and the bar itself is very appealing. Some evenings in summer feature jazz performances.
In summer open daily except Sunday: 11 am to 2 pm; 6 pm to 10 pm
156 Cours de la Republique, Caromb 84330
00 33 (0) 6 03 52 28 24
Gajulea, le Barroux
Located in the tiny village of le Barroux under the towering château and in the shadow of Mt. Ventoux, Gajulea, open only at dinner and Sunday lunch, offers a choice of 3 menus. They change monthly and include one at €44 (2 courses), one at €60 and one at €75; all menus are served with extras. Menus are seasonal and reflect the rich bounty of Provence. In summer the talented chef might prepare heirloom tomato soup, tomato stuffed eggplant rolls, or a beautiful composed salad; fall might feature fois gras with figues, cèpes, pumpkin 3 ways, rabbit or truffles. The wine “list” takes the form of the open cellar behind glass but open to the dining room, where you can peruse the bottles at length. The interior dining room holds only 8 tables, and dining on the protected terrace provides magnificent views. Truffle menus are offered in January and February. Many locals as well as visitors to the region enjoy the excellent, modern, Mediterranean cuisine.
Menus at €44, ‹60 and €75; €15 for children under 8 years.
Turn off the D938 towards the village; drive up the hill and look for signs; Cours Raymond Louise is on the left. Do not drive into the village.
Cours Louise Raymond; 84330 Le Barroux ( Vaucluse Provence)
Tel: +33 (0)4 90 62 36 94 / [email protected]
Open: Evenings on Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat eve and Sun noon (in July and August.)
For a quick meal at lunch or dinner, the café (next door to Gajulea) “Entre-Potes” offers several Provençal entrées plus épeautre risotto and steak frites. Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
00 33 (0)4 90 65 57 43
€16 euro menus on week-days ; €25 market menu.
Restaurant Le Vieux Four, Crillon-le-Brave
The « Vieux Four » was formerly the communal village baking oven in the exquisite village of Crillon-le-Brave. A country restaurant, situated in the ancient tiny village full of 16th and 17th century honey-gold stone houses with breathtaking views of Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail and the Luberon, Le Vieux Four would be a stellar add to your Provence itinerary even if the food weren’t delicious. But it is—the restaurant offers very fresh, simply prepared and tantalyzing Provençal cuisine. In good weather you can enjoy dinner on the beautiful terrace with a view of the magnificent surrounding countryside. You may want to sit here all evening people watching and enjoying the vistas. The €30 menu is an excellent value. This historic village is a great place for a walk after lunch or before dinner.
Three course prix fixe meal only ; cash only.
+33 (0)4 90 12 81 39
Bas de Crillon, 84410 Crillon-le-Brave
30-35 euro menu
Closed lunch during the week, Monday, and Nov-Feb.
Winter open until 9 ; Summer open until 10
Bistrot du’O, Vaison-la-Romaine
The Bistro du’O is without a doubt one of the top places in the region of Upper Provence. Located on the Rue du Chateau in the Medieval Village of Vaison-la-Romaine, the Bistrot is a trendy, modern place, in an ancient building with stone walls and vaulted ceilings which create a classy, yet comfortable ambiance. There is a very good wine list with some great choices from the region, and farther beyond. Be sure to the try the excellent bio-dynamic wines from local Buisson winery Roche Audran.
The bistro has new owners as of June 2013 and they get excellent reviews. In June 2014 the chef won a local “Top Chef” competition that lasted over several months and took place in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (sponsored by a great winery, Château Vaudieu.) One of the chef’s competitors told me I should eat at Bistro Du’O—a suggestion not to be taken lightly.
The cuisine is delicious and carefully prepared. For a recent lunch, the chef ‘s wife, Gael, told me he had ordered the fish just the night before from Brittany. He asked for the best the fishmonger had, and believe me, the fish he served (tuna and colin) was incredibly moist, succulent and just plain delicious !
Many locals as well as tourists who go once hurry back for a second meal.
One thing I really like about this place is that though the cuisine is excellent, it is consistently excellent; there are no off days for this chef. And that, for me, is the sign of a great place, one where I want to go back to again and again knowing I will get a great meal. There is not a huge choice, but the restaurant is small so this is understandable. Service is very good.
At lunch you have a choice of €21 or €24 menus. In the evening €32 and €45 menus are available, as well as a la carte choices.
Rue du Chateau Haute Ville, 84110 Vaison (in Vaison;s Medieval village).
+33 (0)4 90 41 72 90
Closed all day Sunday and Monday.
Lunch menu (no choice) 19-24 euros; Lunch with more choice 31 euros. Dinner 31 and 45 euros. Credit cards accepted.
Open 12-2; 19-22
La Fleur Bleue, Crestet, just south of Vaison-la-Romaine
Located on the D938 running between Malaucene and Crestet, just before you arrive in Crestet. La Fleur Bleue is owned by an English-speaking Dutch couple. A casual, charming country place well loved by locals, there is seating outside under the trellis in summer and if the sun is too strong, the owner will lend you a hat. Quality of food is very good, and it is fresh, well-prepared and often creative; portions used to be small but seem to be getting bigger. Menu includes starter, main and dessert and if you have all three you should have enough. Usually only one menu at lunch, for €15 euros, though it you don’t like something on the menu you can ask for something different. Dinner has a choice of three menus. There is a good choice of the local Ventoux wines.
In the winter the inside is cozy and if you are lucky, you will sit in front of the fireplace.
Note: The must-see medieval village of Crestet is perched on a hillside, just past the Fleur Bleue on your way to Vaison. The tiny village has no shops or commercial properties except for a tiny café open 6 months of the year. Just across from the Loupiote pizzeria, turn up the Route de Ste Anne and drive up the road to the village. Or park next to the road and walk up.
Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Lunch and dinner:
Popular with locals, so remember to reserve.
Lunch : €15 euros including a glass of wine
Evening has three menus available—€23, €30 and €39
GPS 44.12.457 5.06.275
Map see here.
Auberge de la Clue, Plaisians
For a very different dining experience in Provence you will enjoy this auberge set almost in the mountains in a very tiny village. I always enjoy my meals here, especially when I can sit outside in summer. Tables with umbrellas for about 30 are set up on the terrace facing Mont Ventoux. The staff is friendly and casual. This is a family operation—the teenage grandaughter has been serving the cheese course since she was about 10. I had heard that the food was copious but I thought the €30 menu, with 4 courses plus a starter, was just the right amount.
The meal starts with a « cadeau »–a gift– which is « fromage de tête »–head cheese—made of pig’s head and lamb tongue (but no brain.) This is essentially self serve, so unless you are starving, I advise you to take a small amount. The first course has a choice of 8 items: e.g. goat cheese & walnut salad, goat cheese ravioli ; aumôniere d’épeautre (spelt crepe) with lamb sweetbreads ; salade of gizzards et smoked duck breast ; seafood (oysters, shrimp ; Caillete (Provençal pork and spinach meatball); foie gras with apricots; charcuterie platter.
The choice of 5 items for main course (plat) includes lamb from the Alps, duck breast with porcini mushrooms, monkfish, pieds et paquets, or rabbit with tapenade.
There is a great choice of desserts, including home made strawberry tarte, apricot tarte with apricot sorbet, raspberry clafouti, crème brulée and more.
The wine list is not very well thought out but wines by the glass at €4 euros were fine.
The restaurant is a holder of a Michelin « Bib Gourmand, » indicating a good value meal for €32 or less.
Note 1 : A « clue » is an opening formed by 2 huge rocks in the mountain, and looks a little like a keyhole. You drive through the « clue » to get into the village.
Note 2 : Plaisians had a camp of resistants (« maquisards FTPF ») during the time of the toughest fighting against the Nazis, in 1943-44.
Place de l’Eglise
Tel: 00 33 (0)4 75 28 01 17 / [email protected]
See a map « plan d’access » here. GPS : 44.2295, 5.31749
Submitted by : Sharon deRham