Le Garage "We're just a couple of guys trying to do some cool food using very nice products," says Jean-Louis Clair, who left his job at luxury retailer LVMH a few years ago; in 2005 he opened Le Garage with a longtime pal, chef Lucas Mezard. Set in a 1724 stone building that was once a garage, the restaurant playfully mixes industrial and retro style, with battery-powered candles at every table and old movies that play on a dining room wall. The global comfort food menu—sweet-and-sour glazed pork ribs with caramelized red-onion tarte tatin, foie gras on homemade spice bread—is presented in a plastic CD sleeve and changes every month, "so we don't bore our customers," Clair says. DETAILS Just off the RN100, Lumières (near Goult); 011-33-4-32-50-29-32.
Le Relais d'Olèa Last year, French television producers documenting the opening of a restaurant staffed by a dozen untrained twentysomethings came to chef Hermance Carro. Could their show, based on British chef Jamie Oliver's project Fifteen, feature Carro's about-to-open Le Relais d'Olèa as the testing ground? She said yes: "But it wasn't to be on TV. I wanted to help young people find something they love to do." The restaurant and the show, Madame le Chef, premiered in April, and today Carro is a celebrity who also happens to run a lovely bistro, with three of the TV stagiaires as helpers. Her laid-back, 100-seat spot offers tuna served with potato soup and white truffle oil, scallops with soy and coconut milk, and steak frites with pepper sauce. DETAILS 1 Place du Thouron, Seillans; 011-33-4-94-60-18-65.
AOC As the name implies (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée is a designation of regional wine quality), this homey little restaurant off a busy, boutique-lined street is passionate about wine: It offers as many as 100 labels by the glass and sells bottles for customers to take home. Chef Christophe Garnier creates (and his wife, Julie Berthelin, serves) a selection of wine-friendly small plates such as a warm eggplant and porcini charlotte or sliced duck breast with orange confit slivers. DETAILS 5 rue Trémoulet, Avignon; 011-33-4-90-25-21-04.