Friday, August 16, 2013

La Fourchette Restaurant, an Excellent Place to Dine in Avignon

I know very few people who maintain schedules like cousin Jean-Marc. He consults with cardiology patients, teaches medical students, speaks at conferences all over the world, writes papers for journals and looks after our elderly aunts and uncles. Despite this schedule, he is always there for family and makes time to see us multiple times when we are in Sablet.

His son Matthias has spent several summers at our home in California and in fact Shirley calls him her "summer son." Matthias lives in Paris with girlfriend Aurélie where they are finishing law school at the Sorbonne. He is a special part of our family and tries to spend time with us every time we are in Sablet.

One Tuesday in June when Matthias was visiting for a few days, Jean-Marc arranged his schedule so he could meet us for lunch in Avignon, roughly midway between Sablet and Montpellier where he teaches medicine at the University of Montpellier, and then we would go see cousins André and Mauricette in nearby Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

We parked and headed toward the restaurant. As we made our way through the crowds of tourists taking pictures of the Palais des Papes, we passed the Opera-Theatre seen below, built in 1825 on Place de l’Horloge. Rebuilt in 1847 after a fire, the Opera House offers music, dance, theater and opera performances throughout the year.


Immediately left of the Opera-Theatre is the Hotel de Ville built in 1845 on the west side of Place de l'Horloge (Clock Square). As I told you here, the City of Avignon sets up a Provençal crèche with 600 santons in the lobby of the Hotel de Ville at Christmas time. A santon is a small hand-painted, terracotta figurine produced by artisans in Provence. The santons represent various characters from Provençal village life such as the baker, the winemaker, and the farmer wife with eggs.

Hotel De Ville

The 14th and 15th century clock tower that gives its name to Place de l'Horloge (Clock Square) is separated from this lively brasserie-filled square by the Hotel de Ville.

Bell tower and clock on top of the Hotel De Ville

We were headed to La Fourchette, a restaurant owned by Philippe and Danièle Hiély since 1982.

La Fourchette Restaurant

Chef Hiély offers a three-course menu with 10 tasty options for both starter and main course for 33 €. Cousins Jean-Marc and Matthias pause for a picture while we wait for entrées (first course) to be brought to our table.

Cousins Matthias and Jean-Marc

Our entrées choices included this Shrimp with Chinese Cabbage;

Shrimp with Chinese cabbage

A delicious Tomato Velouté with Pan-seared Foie Gras;

Tomato velouté with pan-seared foie gras

Shirley had the Ravioli of Brousse Cheese and Spinach with Saffron Sauce;

Ravioli of Brousse cheese and spinach with saffron sauce

And I had the Tomato Eggplant Tart with Mâche.

Tomato eggplant tart with mâche

Our choices for plat (main course) included Scallops with Fennel Puree;

Scallops with fennel puree

Monkfish over Zucchini with a Verbena Sauce;

Monkfish over zucchini with a verbena sauce

A whole roasted Daurade;

Whole roasted Daurade

A yummy Fennel Gratin accompanied the whole roasted fish. This was so good I have been trying to replicate this at home.

Fennel gratin

Our other main course selection included whole roasted Loup de Mer.

Whole roasted Loup de Mer

For desserts, we chose a Meringue with Hot Chocolate Sauce;

Meringue with hot chocolate sauce

A Babba aux Rhum;

Babba aux rhum

An Apple Tart Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream;

Apple tart tatin with vanilla ice cream

And a Praline Meringue.

Praline meringue

When you are with Jean-Marc, there is no question if you will take an espresso to finish your meal.

Espresso with coconut macaroon

This was our second time to dine at La Fourchette and both meals were excellent. I wouldn't order the Tomato Eggplant Tart again. While it was very good, it didn't compare to the other starters and options on the menu. I am asked frequently about places to dine in Avignon and La Fourchette would be one of my top choices.

After lunch, we walked to Place Crillon. On old maps of Avignon, Place Crillon looks like it's the second largest place (square) after Place de l'Horloge. First called Place de la Porte de l'Oulle, then Place de l'Oulle, later Place de la Comédie, and in 1843 it was named Place Crillon in honor of Louis Des Balbes de Berton de Crillon, a famous captain of the 16th century who died in Avignon in 1615.

Place Crillon near the Avignon defensive wall

La Fourchette Restaurant
17 Rue Racine
84000 Avignon
Tel: 04 90 85 20 93

Have a great weekend! A bientot.


  1. As always, I enjoyed your post. The food looks fabulous! The fennel gratin photo reminded me that when we stayed at your house in Sablet, we found a recipe for tomato gratin in one of the cookbooks. It was wonderful, and we can't remember which cookbook we found it in. It had tomatoes, bread, cheese and eggs. If you come across it when you're researching recipes, please let me know! (I've looked at some Patricia Wells cookbooks here, as well as Dori Greenspan, and haven't found it.) This may be a legitimate reason for us to return to Sablet!

  2. La Fourchette has been on my must-try list for ages. All of the plates look delicious :)

  3. Kathy - I am going to see if I can find the recipe for you.

    Sara - I know you like to go to Avignon and La Fourchette is a very good choice for a place to eat.

    Angela - Thanks so much for stopping in to check out my blog and for leaving a comment. I appreciate this very much. The food was outstanding.