Keith Van SickleRestaurant RecommendationsTaste

Try Chapeau de Paille Restaurant in St Remy for Delicious Provencal Flavours

Would you like a delicious, authentic Provençal meal in a relaxed atmosphere?

How about a big platter of steamed fish and vegetables plus a side of that garlicky Provençal mayonnaise called aïoli? Or some lamb shoulder that’s been cooked for hours so that it practically melts in your mouth? Or perhaps you are craving something lighter, like a bowl of crunchy raw vegetables to dip in flavorful anchoïade? If any of these catch your fancy, look no further than St-Rémy-de-Provence’s Chapeau de Paille restaurant.

Chapeau de Paille aioli

Concentrating on Healthy Flavours

Chef Julien Martinat has been cooking professionally since age 15 and has run several restaurants in his native Burgundy. One, a gastronomic restaurant in Auxerre, earned him accolades but wasn’t what he really wanted to do. “As you get older, your ego relaxes,” he says. “Young cooks feel the need to prove themselves. I wanted to cook less complicated food, concentrating on healthy flavors and not on fancy technology like sous vide.”

Chapeau de Paille anchoiade

So in 2016, Julien, his wife Emilie, and their children decamped for St-Rémy, a town they had fallen in love with when visiting friends in the area. “It’s a unique place,” Julien says, “still very paysan but with an international flavour.”

After working for two years as a consulting chef at local restaurants, Julien and Emilie found the perfect spot on St-Rémy’s popular Boulevard Mirabeau. They installed a modern kitchen and comfortable furniture and opened Chapeau de Paille in 2019.

Recognized by the Michelin Guide

They decided to concentrate on local dishes like rockfish soup and leg of lamb, what Julien calls “good and satisfying food that reflects St-Rémy’s heritage.” The menu is small, and he works with a trusted group of local suppliers to have the best and freshest ingredients. “Everything is homemade and there are no shortcuts,” he says. “I’d rather spend hours shelling coco beans than I would fussing things up to impress the critics.”

Chapeau de Paille St Remy de Provence Food

But impress the critics he does—Chapeau de Paille is one of only five St-Rémy restaurants listed in the prestigious Michelin Guide. The food may be unpretentious, but oh, is it good!

A Convivial Meal

The restaurant’s most popular dish is the aïoli, a platter of steamed fish, vegetables, potatoes, boiled eggs, and some snails. Alongside comes an enormous mortar full of aïoli that Julien makes by hand. “Even if only one person at a table orders the aïoli,” he says, “I still serve the fish and vegetables in a separate platter so they can be shared. I want the meal to be convivial, so my customers feel like they are at home, as in a restaurant from long ago.”

That convivial feeling starts with Emilie, who welcomes customers with a smile and keeps the dining room running smoothly. The Martinats have built a solid local following, and you can often see her joking with one of the regulars.

If you still have room for dessert after your hearty main course, try the chocolate mousse or the clafoutis, that custard pie filled with ripe fruit that changes with the season.

Chapeau de Paille chocolate mousse

To drink, half a dozen local artisanal beers are on offer, and there is a small but well-chosen wine list. The Martinats keep in close contact with their suppliers, visiting many of them regularly to make sure they get top-quality ingredients for their restaurant.

For a taste of St-Rèmy’s classic local flavours in a comfortable atmosphere, stop by Chapeau de Paille on your next visit.

Practical Information

Chapeau de Paille, Bistrot Provencal (website)
29 Boulevard Mirabeau,
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 92 85 78
Closed Sunday and Wednesday

Image Credits: All photos are from the Chapeau de Paille website and Facebook page.

Please share this with friends and family.

All rights reserved. Perfectly Provence articles and other content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten (including translations into other languages) or redistributed without written permission. For usage information, please contact us.
Syndication Information
Affiliate Information
As an Amazon Associate, this website earns from qualifying purchases. Some recipes, posts and pages may have affiliate links. If you purchase via these links, we receive a small commission that does not impact your price. Thank you in advance for supporting our work to maintain Perfectly Provence.
Previous post

Make a Delicious Roasted Red Pepper Entrée this Summer

Next post

Learn How to Make Panisse an Easy Recipe

Keith Van Sickle

Keith Van Sickle

Keith and Val Van Sickle made their first trip to Provence decades ago, and it was love at first sight. After that, they came back every year until 2008, when they began a part-time life there, splitting their time between Provence and California.

Over the years, they’ve travelled all over Provence, seeing sights both well-known and obscure. Their French friends have introduced them to favourite restaurants and wineries and picnic spots and taught them funny local expressions (not all for polite company).

Keith now shares this local knowledge in his new book, An Insider’s Guide to Provence. Packed with the Van Sickles’ favourite things to see and do, it’s a must-have for anyone travelling to this glorious corner of France.

Keith previously published two books about the couple's experiences in Provence. One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence, and Are We French Yet?, both are available from Amazon.

You can see all of Keith’s blog posts at Life in Provence.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.