I responded no, and asked where it was located? I was intrigued that it's located nearby in Violès, a small village we drive through on our way to and from Avignon, about 4 miles from Sablet. They also informed us the restaurant is expensive, so they had not dined there but we should try it out and let them know how it is.
As faithful readers of the blog know, we gravitate toward Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants, all restaurants which are Michelin inspector's favorites for very good value, offering three-course menus for 33 Euros or less outside of Paris. In Paris, the cutoff is 37 Euros. So although the restaurant was described as too expensive for locals, we decided to take one for the team and go try it out.
So one Friday, we headed to Villa Saint-Antoine, which we discovered is adjacent to Lavau winery on the Route de Cairanne, just outside Violès. You enter into Lavau to get to the restaurant, so it seems they are connected which they are not.
|Entrance to Villa Saint-Antoine, Violes|
After you enter through the entryway with tall columns on each side, you are in a beautifully landscaped garden like space that is optimally planned to minimize the impact on the environment.
|View from the terrace dining area to the pool and cabanas|
Villa Saint-Antoine was opened in July 2018 and is both a restaurant and a 4-room chambre d'hôtes (bed and breakfast) including pool, cabanas, and children's playground. Villa Saint-Antoine has a garden in Montmoiron which supplies fruits and vegetables for the kitchen.
On that first visit to Villa Saint-Antoine, we were seated on the terrace under large parasols which provide shade for diners but also capture rain and put it into the ground through a tube in the center pole to water the garden areas. We were entertained during our first visit by the Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force that I told you about here.
|Dining al fresco|
The restaurant sure looked like an expensive place so we were pleasantly pleased to see the price for a three-course lunch was 26 Euros. I said our first visit because we returned again for lunch with cousins Jean-Marc and Christine on a Saturday and for dinner where we were seated in the dining room to celebrate a birthday with friends. The pictures which follow are from our three visits.
|Black and green olives and black olive tapenade amuse bouche|
|Eggplant confit with frisee and cherry tomato salad with anchovy vinaigrette|
|Soft fresh chèvre with julienne of pumpkin and accompanying pitcher of puree of pumpkin and ginger|
|Soft fresh chèvre with the puree of pumpkin and fresh ginger and julienne of pumpkin|
|Mushrooms and poached egg|
|Fillet of Fletan (Halibut) with turnips, broccoli puree and jus de boeuf|
I was impressed with the servers attention to details. The server heard me say something to Shirley about vegetarian and non-meat options (in English), and when a runner delivered our main courses to the table, the above Fillet of Fletan (Halibut), Shirley's had a different sauce than mine. He offered that the server heard me say I was happy about the vegetarian and non-meat options, and the Fletan is sauced with beef "juice" so the chef substituted a vegetarian sauce for your wife.
|Carrots and Beef in wine sauce|
|Side dish of vegetables which accompanied main courses|
|Fletan (Halibut) with crushed potatoes, arugula with Asian vinaigrette with vegetables|
|Fig tart with vanilla ice cream|
|St. Honoré cake|
|Carpaccio of pineapple and mango with lime-zest served with pineapple basil sorbet|
The meals ended with a plate of mignardises, little bite-sized desserts served in some French restaurants at the end of the meal with coffee.
The food was delicious and service warm and professional. The servers knew our birthday guests and by the end of our third meal, we were known there too. I highly recommend you dine here if you happen to be spending time in or around Sablet. I am confident that you will have a wonderful time.
The days of operation are somewhat in flux as they figure out what is optimal in terms of customer demand. They said they are thinking about offering Sunday brunch and daily petit dejeuner (breakfast) for the general public and adding a second price option for dinner meals. So stay tuned.
533 Route de Cairanne
Villa Saint-Antoine is one of a number of excellent restaurants near us in Provence. If you are considering a visit to France in 2019, and living the life of a local for a short period of time, we would be honored if you would consider our home. You can find everything you need to know at www.sablethouse.com. Please contact us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.