"Yes, yes but where do the locals go to eat in Arles?" This is a question that I am asked a lot, often with an arched eyebrow as if to imply "you know, not where they go." The 'they' in this case being...les touristes.
Ah, to be a tourist. It is a charged word that everyone avoids with a wince. No one wants to travel as a fool, at the whim of guidebooks or Tripadvisor's subjective ratings. Putting together a journey these days can be the equivalent of following a Hansel and Gretel trail of crumbs while avoiding the mean 'ol witch in the oven.
Arles is no exception. Can one have a bad meal here, in the heart of Provence where fresh produce and ingredients are in bounty? Absolutely. As in shockingly bad or worse, a re-heated frozen dinner.
So where do the locals go? On one of my walks recently, I introduced the Cuisine de Comptoir as "where you should go have lunch every day of your stay in Arles."
We first met Alex and Vincent, the charming proprietors, long before living in Arles and it would be a staple of each visit before our move down from Paris. I remember Vincent telling me back in 2003 (ten years ago!), that they were determined to offer quality-only dishes at reasonable prices that would be just as good for the local businessman in February as for the flanning tourist in July. And that is what they have done.
So what is on the menu? Tartines! Delicious grilled open face sandwiches on Poilâne bread (they recently had to close for the evening due to a delay in bread delivery) that range from a healthy tomato and mozzarella to my favorites, the duck and cantal cheese or...wait for it...foie gras. Each are accompanied by a rather giant salad of fresh greens or a bowl of house-made soup (I am particularly fond of their mint-infused gazpacho at this time of year) with a glass of wine or a café--all for either 11.50 or 13.50 Euros depending on how decadent your tartine is.
It is the best deal in town and it is little surprise that the Cuisine de Comptoir is packed all year 'round.
Don't believe me? Just ask the locals...
Cuisine De Comptoir
10 rue de la Liberté
Tel.: 04 90 96 86 28
PS. The tiramisu is not to be missed...
The only way to be a tourist? Why to be a cool one of course! This post is the first in a series inspired by one of Arles' most fantastic new resources--The Cool Tourist map. This is the second year that Alexandre and Sébastien have put together a map that, "features the best places in town owned by friendly people only who will make you love this city as much as we do." Perfect! I agree 100% with their selections of not only where to eat but also where to sleep and shop as well. For my posh friends discovering the other side of the Alpilles, there is also a map for St. Remy as well.
I hope it goes without saying that this is not a sponsored post in anyway, I am just spreading the joy of some awesome people and places in my little town of Arles...