une etoile pour une table au sud dans marseille
When visiting France, which is usually twice a year for two to three months each trip, I eat lunches in restaurants. Last winter (2016) I was on the Côte d’Azure for 90 days, and I ate lunch 89 times in restaurants.
I have eaten some very very good meals in France. I have swooned. I have eaten some terrible meals as well. I do not believe anyone who says, after visiting France, “All my meals were wonderful in France!” Nonsense.
Most of the meals I have eaten in France have been ordinary. I can say the same for the United States: I live in Portland, Oregon, a foodie city, acknowledged as such in Portland by its own citizens and by the national press that frets about such characterizations. I have eaten many many ordinary lunches and dinners in Portland. Too many.
A charge can be made, I suppose, that I am not choosing restaurants very well.
In any case, I have found what I call a ‘sweet spot” in value for restaurants; it serves as an ur-meal for later experiences. The impeccable service that the restaurant provides and the quality of the food–the flavors, the freshness of the ingredients, and the surprises–combine to make a memorable experience at an excellent price.
One must reserve a table at Le Vauban, lunch or dinner. Some years ago I could walk off the street and sit down to lunch with no reservation. No more.
For approximately 20 euros one can eat a three course meal that one would easily call haute cuisine. In the course of the meal you may encounter three servers who attend to all your needs, who anticipate everything. For 10 euros more you can receive two glasses of wine for a wine pairing.
One can have a similar experience at the Guide Michelin one star restaurant Une Table au Sud in Marseille. The chef Ludovic Turac is the youngest ever at 25 years old to earn a star.
For approximately 30 euros one can eat a three course meal, and for 15 euros more receive two glasses of wine for a pairing and a coffee. (These prices are approximate and do change.)
The service is impeccable as well. I was attended to by four servers. Each knew what to do; no one repeated services. No one forgot me.
What astonishes me most is the price for the meals. It is impossible to obtain an exemplary meal at these prices in the United States. One would have a difficult time getting a reservation, let alone a meal, if they were transported intact to the Untied States.