Strolling through beautiful Arles makes you hungry. But when I don’t know a town very well, I always find it challenging to find a good restaurant. Just when I was about to look on my phone for some suggestions, Chéri and I walked into this utterly picturesque little street and decided to try our luck at restaurant Le Criquet. And luck was on our side, as this little gem served exactly the provençal meal we were hoping for.
Restaurant Le Criquet has been around for quite some time. The name has been on the façade for 60 years already. And for the last 30 years, the same family has run the restaurant. It started with the parents, and now their two daughters and one son-in-law are also in the business. You can feel this family warmth in every vein of this utterly charming eatery. It has this natural provençal air with warm shades of ochre and rustic furniture. One of the daughters welcomed us while her sister stirred the pots and pans in the kitchen.
Although the lunch menu (17 euros) looked tempting, we both wanted to try the “à la carte” menu. Here, you could choose any of the dishes for 30 euros for a starter and main course, or 34 euros for starter/main/dessert. Having made up our minds, we didn’t dare look at the other specials on the chalkboard. They were appealing too… Just to warn you: when you go to Le Criquet, beware of the choice overload of freshly prepared dishes with a traditional touch.
L’Aïoli du Criquet
Funnily enough, Chéri and I both chose the same dishes, something that we rarely do. But when you read what we ate, you’ll probably understand. The starter was an innovative artichoke carpaccio with big flakes of parmesan cheese and a piece of delicious fougasse. We continued with the main course, a dish based on the provençal aïoli, the famous garlic mayonnaise. And Le Criquet’s version included generous chunks of cod, juicy mussels and other shellfish. For this dish alone, I would go back! We finished with a classic lemon meringue pie. Both Chéri and I loved our lunch, and we felt very local under the provençal sun.