Thursday, November 4, 2010

L'Essentiel Restaurant, Avignon

As I have told you previously, we go to Avignon to shop for household items at the super stores in Le Pontet like IKEA or Darty or before or after visits to our cousins André and Mauricette across the Rhône River in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

We also go to Avignon to hang out in Place de l'Horloge and so wife Shirley can shop for cute clothes for our grandchildren at the various kids stores like Petit Bateau that are located in the center of Avignon near the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes).

One day a few weeks ago, we headed to Avignon to shop for the grand kids before we returned to California. By the time Shirley finished shopping, it was time for déjeuner (lunch). I knew from the Michelin Guide to Les Meilleures Adresses a Petits Prix (best good value restaurants), that one of those restaurants was in Avignon.

I checked the map and found that L'Essentiel Restaurant was located near the Palais des Papes on Rue Petite -Fusterie.

We walked over to the restaurant and were welcomed by the chef's wife despite the fact we didn't have reservations. L'Essentiel has a few tables along the street in front of the restaurant, a small dining room, and a stonewall courtyard where most diners were seated on the warm sunny day.

We both chose the 3-course menu for 28 Euros and a glass of 2007 Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras. Orders placed, Shirley and I enjoyed an amuse bouche of olives and cheese biscuits while we waited for our starters to be brought to the table.

For my starter, I chose an olive oil poached egg nestled in brandade de morue with a drizzle of oil, chives and piment d'espelette (a variety of chili pepper). It was served with an anchovy mouillette (bread stick).

None of the options for starters appealed to Shirley's mostly vegetarian taste buds so the chef kindly substituted a simply dressed salad of arugula and baby spinach. Shirley thought it was perfect.

For her plat (main course), Shirley chose a pan sauteed fillet of rouget (red mullet) with a thin layer of black olive tapenade served over creamy polenta.

For my main course, I chose Suprême de Volaille, chicken breast sauteed in butter and served with a cream sauce generously loaded with oyster mushrooms. The breast was perched on olive oil crushed potatoes.

To finish, we both decided on the warm thin apple tart served with caramel ice cream. A very good way to complete our meal.

We enjoyed our meal at L'Essentiel very much and with a location close to Palais des Papes, I am sure we will return many times.


  1. I will DEFINITELY be eating here! I love Avignon and this restaurant looks amazing! Once again... thank you!

    And a cheeky question... you wouldn't happen to know of any restaurants you'd recommend around the Manosque or Apt areas (and villages outside)? I have a special dinner coming up and I'd like to try something new but without venturing too far from home. Any tips are greatly appreciated :-)

  2. We will definitely return to L'Essentiel. I am sure you will really like it. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to recommend to you for that area. I hope you will post about your dinner if you find something good.