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“Excellent French "bistro" fare for carnivores - and a certain yellow lab...”
Review of La Charcuterie - CLOSED

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La Charcuterie
Cuisines: French
Restaurant details
Reviewed 12 April 2011

I came across La Charcuterie in a review by Linda Dannenberg (author of various French Country style and food books) in Travel & Leisure online, while looking for recommendations for Arles restaurants. The article was on "Great Bistros of Provence," and she made La Charcuterie sound irresistable, right down to the resident yellow lab, Lili. (Though the name of the restaurant suggests a meat-oriented cuisine, Dannenberg mentions in her review that they will cook up vegetarian meals on request, as well.)

We passed it by while looking for it on two separate nights, because the red awning over the front only says "La Charcuterie" along the long, front side, which we did not see while walking down the narrow street. On the shorter sides, the awning reads "Bouchon Lyonnais," so if you're on rue des Arenes looking for it, look for that.

This is a wonderful, quirky little place with the kitchen on display and a varied collection of taureau (bull) related artwork and artifacts, including a blue bull's head -- idiosyncratic rather than touristy. The tables are few and intimate -- the place just feels good, as one expects a "bistro" to feel.

The restaurant has an extensive selection a la carte, as well as a menu (prix fixe). The menu the night we were there was essentially what my husband and I have come to know as the "brewmaster's special:" a salad and a sausage with mustard, potatoes and cabbage, etc. However, La Charcuterie takes this to a whole new level. The first course salad was composed of lightly grilled baby asparagus, artichoke, and other tasty items unfortunately not now coming to mind. Very, very good -- best salad I had in Provence. The main course was a generous length of sausage, slightly spicy, served with a hearty coarse mustard and a garlic mayonnaise, along with dreamy potatoes molded into a bowl-like form, the taste reminding me somewhat of the scalloped ones my grandmother used to make. With it all we had a pichet (pitcher, which seems to be the Provencal equivalent of a carafe?) of good local Cotes-du-Rhone. That may be why I don't remember exactly what we had for dessert, but it was as good as all the rest.

As good as the food was, and as comfortable the atmosphere, one of the highlights of the meal for us was Lili, the owners' yellow lab. Dogs are a large part of French life, and are everywhere in Arles. We were missing ours. It was one of the high points of our trip to have Lili sit next to us while we dined. We did not slip anything to her, but it is abundantly clear that other patrons have not been so stingy. (Or perhaps she just gets all the leftovers.)

If, after a few nights of haute cuisine, you are ready for French "bistro" fare, try La Charcuterie. I hope we will return to Arles before long, and it will be on our list of places to revisit.

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Thank ChartreusedeParme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (15)
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9 - 13 of 15 reviews

Reviewed 31 July 2010

Walking uphill on rue des Arenes, in the heart of the old town, we hungrily noted a number of eating establishments, but all were closed at the “early” hour of 6.30pm - apparently most don't open until 7.30pm. At the top we were amazed to almost stumble across the old Roman Coliseum and then the historic Theatre just around the corner (both closed by that hour, but still quite a sight, especially as we weren't really looking for them right then).

When we walked back down around 7pm, a couple were lounging outside this place, which is listed in the (French only) Gault Millau food guide but not Michelin. They ushered us in pleasantly.

The couple turned out to be the waiter/husband and chef/wife at this plain bar and café, seating barely a couple of dozen people in two narrow, ground floor rooms. There is a cellar which appears to be for private parties. Although the cooking seems to be done in a tiny corner of the bar, we found ourselves impressed by every course.

As indicated by the name, sausages, salamis, and offal are the main offerings on a limited menu with reasonable prices. One of us had a marvellous sausage, the other excellent duck, and mother-in-law enjoyed a delicious salad.

Each dish was a pleasant surprise, including the dessert. Both cooking and quality of ingredients were top quality. Nothing complicated, but superbly executed.

Mother-in-law, a fussy but charming great-grandmother who speaks good French, actually proposed marriage to the lady chef – we think she was serious as we have never before seen her so delighted by food!

We were sorry that only one other table was occupied during our midweek meal, as this tiny bistro (which closes at 9pm) deserves to be turning people away regularly.

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Thank exotissima1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2013
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    • Value
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Thank Marfabix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2013
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1  Thank leofl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2012
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Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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