Featured Article · Food & Restaurants

Gourmet lunch at L’Esperance… Food heaven in Bandol

Market Bandol

Bandol Saturday market

Greetings dear readers and friends from a very chilly Provence. It’s been a while since the last blog post, and honestly, during the winter months, I’m a bit hard-pressed to know what to write about. Everything slows down here quite considerably… maybe it’s due to the weather, or maybe we’re all just spending too much time indoors indulging in some of the French “winter favorites” like raclette, soups & stews, and mainly anything involving potatoes and cheese. But whatever the reason, the winter season is really a period of “hibernation” and calm.

L Esperance Collage L’Esperance restaurant with mushroom “velouté” amuse-bouche

But during this period of calm, there’s no reason to give up a little of the “gourmet” life. We don’t splurge often on restaurants, usually cooking at home, but when we do, we have an all-time favorite that never disappoints – L’Esperance in Bandol.

Now this isn’t my first post on L’Esperance in Bandol, but we are so crazy in-love with this petit gem in Bandol, that I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to sing its praises.

L Esperance scallops Scallops encrusted with hazelnuts, butternet squash with hazelnut oil and toasted nuts

And what better time to be in-love than on Valentine’s Day… a great excuse to “splash out” as the Brits say, and treat out taste buds to a little TLC.

At last count, L’Esperance boasts 8 tables that are always occupied (read: book early!) and are usually host to French folks celebrating special occasions… birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays like this past V-day. And I would more than agree with this tradition – if you’d like your loved one to feel extra-special, get yourself tucked into one of these tables.

L Esperance veau Caramelized veau and langostines with a sage sauce

Not only does the chef change the menu frequently, but his products are always of the finest quality. If you’d like beef, he’ll have on hand the finest cut from Limoges, or if you fancy lamb, look no further than the renowned Provençal lamb of Sisteron. You’ll find nothing out-of-season on his “carte”, quite the contrary… he revisits his dishes using seasonal products from the local street markets.

L Esperance poire heleneLa poire / chocolat, belle hélène style

And if the taste and the quality weren’t enough, you’re sure to be wow’d by the presentation. If cooking is an art form, L’Esperance’s chef is a master showman. Each plate is a visual delight, often adored with edible flowers and herbs. And of course, each plate is chosen to best showcase the dish… I just loved the dish (see photo) on which my scallops were presented, have yet to see anything like it.

L Esperance mont blanc Mont blanc with chestnut cream, macaron, and sparkling sugar

Basic menus (which really have nothing basic about them) start at €32, which include a set “entrée, plat, & dessert”, or you can upgrade to the Gourmet Menu at €52 which includes more choices and allows for a supplemental cheese course.

We try to go in with a “budget” in mind, but once we spy those first courses coming out of the kitchen, it’s difficult not to “upgrade” and sample a bit of everything.  That being said, the first menu is a real bargain as far as French-dining is concerned, and at those prices, you can afford more than one stop-over at L’Esperance during your travels down south.  Bon appétit!

L Esperance marshmellow A great finish… coffee and homemade marshmellows

L’Esperance 
21 rue du Dr-Louis-Marçon
 83150 Bandol
 ph: 04 94 05 85 29
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7 thoughts on “Gourmet lunch at L’Esperance… Food heaven in Bandol

  1. What a lovely spot, Tuula! 🙂 I had a mushroom “velouté” amuse-bouche in Paris one night with my rother and dear friend. It was scrumptious. 🙂

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  2. Oh…..Tuula! It looks absolutely fabulous. Each and every dish looks wonderful! Lucky you to be so close to such a gourmet feast. And yes, it’s been cold cold cold here too; so much so that we are headed to Florida tomorrow for a mini-break. Looking forward to walking on the beach!

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  3. Looks delicious and I will definitely go there next time we are in Provence. Thank you for your Aix en Provence suggestions too!! I am back in San Fran but the music to ‘A Good Year’ is ringing in my head with all those beautiful evocative images of Provence, I so love it there!xx

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    1. Looks like you had a fantastic time on your trip to Provence Caroline, I spied a few of your photos online 🙂 Great memories and more than a few reasons to come back… many thanks for your comment!

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  4. With your recommendation and the fact the restaurant is a 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand as a Bonnes Petites Tables guarantees we will make our way there come May when we return to Provence. Have a great weekend.

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