Food | The Reconnoisseur

A stylish bistro, tucked away from the tourist traps of Arles

The ambience is laid-back, the food quintessentially French

A stylish bistro, tucked away from the tourist traps of Arles

March 17 2011
Jamie Reid

Arles has long been one of my favourite places in southern France and, as well as the Roman Arena and the Van Gogh memorabilia, I particularly like the international photography exhibition that takes place there each summer (Les Rencontres d’Arles, this year from July 3-Sept 19). The town has a lot of frankly mediocre restaurants designed to ensnare tourists. But thanks to a tip from my friend and Arles resident Anne Igou, proprietor of the beautiful Grand Hôtel Nord Pinus, I recently discovered Le Galoubet, a stylish bistro situated down a narrow side street not far from the Rhone which is favoured by discerning locals. This airy and attractive restaurant is run by Céline and Franck Arribart, a friendly young couple who spent several years travelling around south-east Asia before moving to Arles 18 months ago.

The dishes prepared by Céline are all quintessentially French, fresh and of the moment, using ingredients from local markets. I first went there on a lively evening last September. Returning for lunch on a sunny but bitterly cold January day – and warmed by the open fire in the dining room – my wife and I had delicious smoked herring with potatoes and a vinaigrette dressing, and saddle of lapin roti with black olives and tomatoes. One of their desserts is the Arlésienne speciality, pompe à l’huile, which is a kind of sweet bread served with lemon marmalade and soft white cheese.

The place has a stylish but laid-back ambience, and when the warm weather returns you can eat outside on the shady terrace. There are also plans to turn the upstairs floors into a hotel, expected to open early next year.

See also

Cafes, France