Dining sans meat in Provence
The major cities of Beyond will have some vegetarian restaurants, but the smaller towns and villages don't offer that possibility directly. Dining out may be in the village's only café, or in a small selection of family-style restaurants. All is not lost, however, as regional gastronomy includes cereals, cheeses ,a great selection of pastas and many vegetable dishes. Selective ordering should provide a pretty good vegetarian menu.
Our staff size of one unfortunately doesn't allow us to research possible vegetarian restaurants and continually ensure the accuracy of the information. If you have any suggestions for us, we will be happy to share it here with our readers.
We have included fish dishes in our suggestions, below, because of the many people we run across who avoid meat. We understand that true vegetarians do not eat seafood; please try not to be offended by our inclusion of aquatic words on this page.
A very kind email from Ronald Beirouti (of www.vegetarisme.org) has enlightened us on some of the vegetarian definitions.
- Vegetarian: no animal flesh. Therefore exludes meat, fish, poultry but includes eggs and dairy products. [Végétarien]
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: Same as Vegetarian. [Lacto-ovo-végétarien]
- Lacto-Vegetarian: Same as Vegetarian but no eggs. [Lacto-végétarien]
- Vegan: Same as Vegetarian but no eggs or dairy products. Often excludes other animal by-products such as honey, etc. [Végétalien]
Most of the salads listed on a menu are big enough to be a light meal in themselves and, at lunch time in particular, many people order only a salad. Only the smallest salad on the menu, a "salade verte" (lettuce) "salade mixte" (lettuce and tomatoes) is intended only as an hors d'oeuvre.
- Salade de Chèvre Chaude - A lettuce salad with white goat cheese served hot on pieces of toast or croutons.
- Soupe de Poissons - This specialty of Provence is served steaming hot in a tureen, sometimes leaving enough appetite for the main course, but often you'll wish you hadn't ordered anything else.
- Soupe de Poissons - Several varieties of fish soups are served in different areas of Beyond.
- Bouillabaisse is a meal. Best to order this in a restaurant that specializes in it: a good bouillabaisse is great, but a poor bouillabaisse is terrible.
- Soupe au Pistou is approximately a four-bean soup with the wonderful pistou sauce.
In a land of seafood, there are always fish dishes available. Some of the more popular ones of Provence include:
- Filet de Loup de Mer - sea bass
- Rougets grillés au Pastis - red mullet with an anise sauce
- Moules Marinières - mussels steamed in white wine and onion; popular across France, you'll find cafés offering moules marinières with french-fries and a beer for 50F, or a classier version in a classier restaurant. Always eaten with the fingers: use an empty mussel shell as pincers to pick the mussels out of the shells.
Pasta is served almost everywhere, and the Alpes-Maritimes especially has a heavy Italian influence, with its own style of course. Look for places that serve "fresh" pasta, made right there.
- Pàtes aux Coquillages - seafood pasta
- Pàtes au Pistou
- Ravioli - varieties are available stuffed with seafood or vegetables.