Having stayed in the Hostellerie de Messugues in St. Paul de Vence (do note the tourist attractions in that thread), with it being end-of-season and the hotel’s restaurant shut down, we were able to snag a half-pension at Restaurant Alain Llorca, having a pre-fixe, three-course menu for the ridiculous price of 30€ each.
Technically, the restaurant is in the neighboring village of La Colle-sur-Loup, but it was literally a three-minute drive from our hotel on the outskirts of St. Paul de Vence.
The catch is that, while Restaurant Alain Llorca is a Michelin one-star, our meal was a set three-course, with no choice as to what we ordered (certainly we could have gotten something else, but not for 30€, and I blew the bill to Kingdom Come by ordering a 50€ bottle of white wine from their large, not particularly well-priced wine list, driving the total bill up to something more like $125 total – such is life.
Our wine was a humble Vin de Pays, and not a particularly good one – oh, it was a pleasant table wine I suppose, but it was something you could walk into Nicolas and purchase for 10€, I suspect. It was a wine I didn’t recognize, and although I was thinking it would be a Sauvignon Blanc, it turned out to be a blend, mostly of Chardonnay, and was really not what I had hoped; nevertheless, it carried us through the meal, and I could have *always* turned to the sommelier for help, and I chose not to.
Our first course was a Terrine de Rouget – a terrine of red snapper, and was bountiful to excess. Served in a sauce reminiscent of a classic ratatouille, there were probably three medium-sized filets in each terrine, and we could have eaten just this.
The breads were made in-house, and were excellent – we had our choice of a mini-baguette, olive bread, and pain de campagne, all three of which were first-rate.
The second, main course was Ombrine Cuite au Naturel en Croûte d’Herbes, Pappardelles Liées au Pistou de Basilic, an *extremely* fancy way of saying “Drumfish over Pappardelle in Pesto,” and it was the one dish cooked to order – it was fabulous, although at this point in the trip, we were craving red meat.
At this point, we were positively stuffed, but out came the dessert tray, filled with over a dozen pre-made selections. I ordered Baba au Rhum, which shocked the daylights out of my dining companion because of the straight rum poured on top of the butter biscuit, and my friend ordered a Chocolat Nougatine – a decadently rich heap of dark chocolate.
For the price, the meal and atmosphere could not be beat (bear in mind this price *included tax and tip*, and also included amuse-gueule and mignardises – one of which had the “deepest” Pop Rocks I’ve ever had: It felt as if they were inside our brains going off) – this was a groundling’s meal at a legitimate Michelin one-star restaurant, but there was nothing to complain about. We rolled back to the car, packed to the gills, and swearing never to eat again.
On the way out the next day, we ran in and took a picture of the patio on which we sat, overlooking the ramparts of St Paul de Vence. There were a lot of really interesting cars outside (it’s a hotel also, and there was some type of car convention) – not ultra-expensive like at Monaco, but interesting nonetheless: Here’s the patio, and our little Fiat next to one of the cars: