France

Chez Serge: Great Food in Carpentras

Carpentras

Chez Serge is a restaurant in Carpentras, a town that takes a while to fully understand due to its age and recent expansion.

There is a central old part of the town with its narrow streets and ancient buildings. This is a very old town as it was mentioned as Carpentoracte by Roman author Pliny in Book 5 of his famous set of books called Naturalis Historia which was written sometime between 50AD and 79AD.

In the very center, there is now a thriving pedestrian square with some delightful shops such as Fromagerie Mercy and the famous Maison Jouvaud which now has a number of branches including one in Japan.

The outer parts of the town can be confusing and the road network is expanding rapidly. In fact, you can completely bypass the town now that a significant road has been built around the town.

The town acts as a centre for the many agricultural activities on the plains nearby including fruit and vegetable production and, of course, wines made from the vines that stretch for kilometres in every direction.

There is a market that takes over the old centre every Friday morning and there are some interesting finds to be had if you look carefully.

Chez Serge

Chez Serge is a large, unpretentious restaurant on the edge of the old part of Carpentras. It is a favourite lunch place for locals who attend regularly for the good food, fine wine and pleasing ambience. In summer, the first floor terrace is particularly popular.

One of the reasons locals like Chez Serge is the very reasonable set price menus that are available. On a recent visit we enjoyed a three course lunch which consisted of an entrée (we tried a beautiful terrine of young rabbit with a small salad and a plate of fine charcuterie), a main course (a very good pizza and chicken simmered in red wine) and dessert (fromage blanc with a raspberry coulis) followed by very good coffee.

The wine list at Chez Serge is also quite smart with offerings such as both the Substance and Initial from cult Champagne producer Selosse, the lovely Gigondas from Domaine les Pallieres which is a joint venture between US wine importer Kermit Lynch and the Brunier family, makers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s revered Vieux Telegraphe as well as a deep selection of organic and natural wines from the local Ventoux appellation.

On a return visit we were even more impressed with the quality of the food, service and wine offerings. We loved a dish of caillettes with a rocket salad and a lovely, lovely dish of artichokes with duck livers and onion rings.

We returned to Chez Serge again and, once again, the food and the wine experience were excellent. A whole bass was roasted perfectly and seasoned with roasted lemon. Some cepes served in a cocotte with an egg tasted of the forest floor from where they had recently been plucked. A pumpkin soup was livened with the most extraordinary salted pork and perfect gnocchi.

Local wine selections include a very strong selection of wines from nearby Chateauneuf du Pape including the estimable Vieux Télégraphe and Château de Beaucastel, the organic wines of Domaine Terres de Solence near Mazan which is quite close to Carpentras and the powerful wines from Philippe Gimel from Domaine St Jean du Barroux.

We visited once in the height of the truffle season (in January) and enjoyed some excellent dishes laced with the local truffles. Remember that while the Perigord region is the best known truffle area in France, many of the great chefs source their truffles from the Ventoux area, and in particular the village of Richerenches, because they are considered to be of a superior quality by those in the know.

Additional information

Street: 90 rue Cottier

Town/Suburb: Carpentras, 84200

Town/Suburb: Carpentras

Phone number: +33 4 90 63 21 24

Opening hours: Lunch and dinner Mon – Sat

You can find out more about the food and wine at this engaging restaurant by clicking on the link below:

Chez Serge, Carpentras

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