An Excellent Restaurant in Bandol… L’Esperance

There’s not much that can be said about this stellar restaurant that could be any better than what we overhead our fellow diners exclaiming on Saturday afternoon:  Qu’est-ce que c’est beau! (it’s so pretty) Wouaou! (the French wow) & C’est trop bon! (it’s so good).

If you’ve ever eaten in France, you know those are pretty big compliments coming from the French.  And when French folks start whipping out their iPhones to take photos of the food, you know you’ve stumbled upon a hot spot. Not to mention there were 2 birthdays being celebrated around us… in a 7 table restaurant.

Our lunch was not exactly a meal but an all-out culinary experience.  I do tend to be quite an enthusiastic person by nature, but I don’t post things lightly, and we certainly don’t pull any punches when the quality isn’t great (that’s living in France for ya). We both were left with the impression that this was one of the best meals either of us can remember having… ever.


So good in fact, that we asked to meet the chef.  I’m just happy we had a few glasses of wine in us to actually go through with that idea because I’ve never even contemplated doing that before… it just felt right.To be honest, we were so giddy that we forgot to ask the chef’s name (which I later found on this review from Gault & Millau : Gilles Pradines), but we did have a lengthy chat with him & and his wife about the obvious love he puts into his craft.

Crab with “granny smith” gelée, pesto, & various herbs.

Chef Pradines admitted that he’s been cooking since the age of 13 and regularly roams the markets and uses things from nature as inspiration. Well, if it helps him create our gorgeous crab entree with green apple gelée and edible flowers… or my beef with sage that literally melted in my mouth… Let me tell you, we were more than inspired.

Ohhh, and those divine potatos infused with truffles… In fact, I’ve found it quite hard to come to terms with the end of this meal.  And from the looks on the diners around us, I wasn’t the only one.

To Learn More:

We found L’Esperance through a food guide called:  Bonnes tables de Provence / Cote d’Azur (highly recommended) which highlights restaurants that are “gastronomic” with out being outrageously priced.

L’Esperance has menus at €31, €49, & €60, with lunch menus during the week for €26 & €28.  Menus change with the season.

They take reservations and it’s recommended to reserve 1 week in advance for dinner.


21 rue du Dr-Louis-Marçon

83150 Bandol

PH: 04 94 05 85 29

14 thoughts on “An Excellent Restaurant in Bandol… L’Esperance”

  1. Wow!! What a wondrous experience, Tuula. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever heard you so passionate about a meal. 🙂 That makes me happy and KNOW that I must visit this restaurant if I am ever in this place. 🙂


    1. Thanks Krista 🙂 This really is the most passionate I’ve been about a meal… if you ever have a chance to visit us, we’ll go for sure! Merci for your comment ma belle 🙂


    1. We’ve got to have a meal here Kathy… you’ll love it! …And of course hit up the market beforehand… I see a whole day coming together 🙂


  2. This is a must for our next trip – just the pictures, even made a rainy Monday afternoon seem brighter! I am in the middle of compiling a list of recommended restaurants for our guests and this will definitely be on it. Thanks for sharing.


    1. So glad to hear you’ll be adding L’Esperance to your recommendation list – it’s more than worth it! Thanks for your comment Marianne… and happy the post added a bit of sunshine to your Monday 🙂


    1. Thanks Corinne! Best place we’ve been in a long time… and have to say that the French really surprised me with their food photos 🙂


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