Restaurant Mesa (Arles)

© Mesa

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On Rue des Porcelets, cheeky plates get scarfed down while seated around the mesa! Take your pick of the terrace or the long dining room (a spotted mural, bistro furniture), the latter comes with views of the spectacular kitchen housing the promising chef Raphaël Garnier (ex-Le Pinceau), chosen by none other than Claire and Julien Drouot – the duo behind Maison Drouot. On the menu the other day at lunch: lovely artichokes cleverly dressed in a lemon-ginger vinaigrette and an anchovy crumble; libidinous pork loin marinated with fennel seeds and then grilled (but still nice and tender), paired with an electrifying and vinegary chickpea purée, plus chard stuffed with chickpeas and rice, all bathed in a full-bodied jus; and for the heartening finale, a plump brioche French toast tucked up against a scoop of hazelnut ice cream and a praline-ginger condiment, to get you in the mood for a mid-afternoon siesta. // Raoul Taburin 

FEELING THIRSTY? A selection of natural wines put together by Claire Drouot: a Beaujolais red from Julien Sunier (€9 a glass), a Bergerac white by the Château Barbouillet in collaboration with Le Vin des Potes (€28 a bottle), a Provence rosé from the Domaine Milan (€26)… Also available, there’s a lager from the local La Crau micro-brewery (€6 for 330 ml). 
PRICE: Set menus €32-38. 

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