L’Oustalet Maianen Restaurant in Maillane for Delicious Food
Just a few miles north of St-Rémy-de-Provence, in the quiet town of Maillane, sits a restaurant that is well worth the trip. Consider this restaurant if you want to enjoy a delicious meal in a comfortable dining room—or on a shady terrace in warm weather. My wife and I live part of the year in St-Rémy, and L’Oustalet Maianen is one of our favourite restaurants.
A Family Affair
Owner Christian Garino is the second generation in his family to run L’Oustalet Maianen. When he was a young boy, he remembers that the family lived in an apartment above the restaurant. On hot summer nights when he couldn’t sleep, he would sneak downstairs to the door into the restaurant, enchanted by the diner’s conversations.
“At midnight,” says Garino today, “my parents would finish closing the restaurant and head up to the apartment. They would find me asleep on the bottom stair and carry me to bed.”
Years later, Garino remains enchanted by the restaurant’s diners and still lives in the apartment, taking over from his parents about 30 years ago. But the restaurant is different now, larger and more elegant than when it began.
“When my parents bought the restaurant in 1965,” recounts Garino, “it was just a snack bar with five tables. But they worked hard and developed a clientele, and were able to expand.”
First, they bought the barn next door, then the small house next to it, and eventually another building in the back. Today, the restaurant has two elegant dining rooms, terraces in front and back, and a spotless kitchen you can peek into as you enter.
For decades, the famous Michelin Guide has included L’Oustalet Maianen for its “exceptionally good food at reasonable prices.” As a result, it is popular with locals and tourists, with regular diners making up about two-thirds of its clientele.
What brings them back? The excellent food, of course, but also because it is such a nice place to eat. The tables are well-spaced, so you don’t feel crowded, and the service is attentive but not rushed. Provence can be bustling in the busy tourist season, but L’Oustalet is an oasis of calm.
“Customers tell us they like the way the food and atmosphere go together,” says Garino. “Our style is Mediterranean, with all of our dishes freshly made in our kitchen, and we like to include plenty of vegetables. And our customers call our dining rooms “tranquil,” in a way that nicely fits together with our food.”
Listening to the Customer
Garino spent years in the kitchen, refining the restaurant’s cuisine and setting its high standards, then hired a chef to take it over. Now he spends much of his time interacting with customers. “The restaurant business is great because you can get constant feedback. I like to know what my customers think because it helps me adapt and improve. But I don’t change everything! Some of my father’s original dishes are still on the menu.”
Visitors to Provence looking for excellent food in a relaxing atmosphere find it hard to beat L’Oustalet Maianen.
Restaurant L’Oustalet Maianen (website)
16 avenue Lamartine, Maillane
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 95 74 60
Closed Sunday nights, Mondays and Tuesdays.
Image credits: Restaurant L’Oustalet Maianen provided all the photos.
But how do you get a table at a romantic restaurant? Where is the best place to walk on a hot day? With so many market vendors, where do you start? For answers to some of those questions and many more, check out, An Insider’s Guide to St-Rémy-de-Provence. So, if you are planning to be in the Alpilles, make sure to buy a copy of this handy 146-page reference guide filled with countless local tips.
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