St-Rémy-de-Provence has the good fortune to have yet another excellent Italian restaurant, Fratelli, specializing in pizzas and pastas, and that just opened this past April.
Fratelli means “brothers” in Italian but here the term refers to several things: the Italian national anthem, often referred to as Fratelli d’Italia—“Brothers of Italy”—from its opening line; the “fraternity” of young people who make up the staff; the two brothers who work in the restaurant.
Fratelli has very Italian vibe—and no wonder, everyone working there is Italian. It is fun from the moment you walk in the door. I love the infectious spirit and joie de vivre of the Italians. (Is it ok to use a very French term to describe Italians?) The waiters are friendly, warm, smiling and efficient. The lively ambiance encouraged me to break out my very rusty Italian so I could join in the fun a little more. However the restaurant is still a bit disorganized–the guy who came in after me the first evening I ate here got his meal before I even got a glass of water—that will improve once they are open a little longer. As usual the Italians are quite charming. (When I complained a little about the wait I got a free glass of Proseco and of Sicilian Nero d’Avola. Maybe because I was taking notes? )
The older space on a side street close to the center has been redone in a modern, chic look. The owner is Jean-Christophe Vigne, who is French-Italian and who has lived around St Rémy for 25 years. Formerly a dentist, Jean-Christophe dreamed of taking his clients on a “trip to Italy.” He has succeeded. He has also included a terrace bar upstairs on the first floor, and offers some special fun evenings.
The food is delicious, everyone who goes there agrees. Wood-fired oven pizzas are very popular and are well-priced at around €12-14; there is a list of pizzas made daily, and they say if you are nice they might take special requests. There are 4-5 pastas at €11-16, a salad or two, eggplant parmesan, maybe a risotto, a charcuterie platter, a meat or fish dish from the wood burning oven. Lots of choices for vegetarians, fewer for real carnivores. While some ingredients are chosen locally, most come from Italian producers: Mozzarella di Bufala, Pecorino Romano, Parma hams, Mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola. There are lunch specials as well.
The wine list is all Italian, ranging in price from €17 to €48; there is one white and one red by the glass for €4.
Fratelli was very crowded on the first Sunday I went there. I went back on Tuesday at 7:30 and it filled up quite fast again. This place really seems to fill a need in the area.
Fratelli is already a local hit. I consider myself quite fortunate because the restaurant is literally around the corner, less than a 1 minute walk, from my St Rémy apartment. I am sure I will soon try everything on the menu.
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. but meals are served at standard French hours.
2C Rue Roger Salengro (Across the street from Da Peppe restaurant and the St. Rémy post office.)
Rue Roger Salengo is just off the D99A, avenue Albert Gleizes, a bit west of the middle of town.
33 (0)4 90 20 82 96
Article and photos by Sharon de Rham