Les Halles Auberge
In the center of Nîmes’ covered market where the Paprika and Genièvre aisles meet, Arlette and her gang skillfully handle the lunchtime crowds from behind their pistachio-colored bar. On the menu: duck hearts and rabbit livers grilled on the plancha; andouillette skewers; agriade saint-gilloise – a regional chuck steak ragout with onions, lardons, parsley and capers, marinated for 12 hours and then oven-roasted for four at 160°C; not to mention the steak tartare from La Ferme du Cantal (a neighboring butcher shop), which is the guest star on the first Thursdays of the month. For us, the day we went: a valiant Atlantic salmon steak grilled on the plancha and topped with dill, with small green chilies, homemade aioli and baked gnocchi with fresh tomatoes (dish of the day for €16); followed by a cloud-like lemon meringue tart (€4.50). Wash it all down with highly drinkable wines (Costières-de-Nîmes in white or rosé from the Château Virgile, a red from Saint-Hilaire-d’Ozilhan, both €2 a glass) or a local, organic La Barbaude white beer (€4 for 330 ml). Tapas €4.50 to €8.50, mains €8-16, desserts €4.50 to €5.50. // D.N.