Le Provencal is a longstanding French restaurant in Vientiane serving delicious bistro-type food, along with more refined French cuisine, in a relaxed, farmhouse setting. All the classic French dishes can be found here including escargot, ratatouille and steak tartare. The daily plat-du-jour is also worth looking out for as you can sample a diverse selection of French fare at a discounted price. As well as a fairly substantive French menu, Le Provence also serves renowned wood-fired pizzas and thick-cut hearty bruschettas. It must be noted that the French wine selection here is excellent and even the house wines are magnificent.
One of the several restaurants clustered around Nam Pu Square, the iconic fountain in the city centre, Le Provencal is in an easy-to-find location just a few blocks back from the river, and is easily walkable from anywhere in Vientiane. Although the exterior could do with a little sprucing up, the interior is far more appealing; its exposed brick-and-timber décor gives the restaurant a rustic charm reminiscent of a rural manor. In keeping with the theme, the furniture is a bit dated, as are the wall displays, and the most cutting-edge technology in the whole place seems to be the calculator on the bar.
There is no air-conditioning inside but there is an excess of fans, which perform the dual function of keeping the customers cool and blowing the delicious smells emanating from the wood-fired pizza oven throughout the restaurant. To add to the authenticity, the French owner is usually found at the bar, cigarette in mouth in true Gallic style.
Le Provencal is open for lunch from 11:30 to 14:00 and for dinner from 17:30 to 22:00. If you are visiting for lunch, don’t look past the bruschettas ($US6-8): a heap of melted cheese on thickly sliced bread with mushrooms, olives and tomato make for the perfect midday meal. At night, the meat menu is always popular: veal with mushroom in a white wine and cream sauce is a recommended dish ($US12), as well as steak and roquefort cheese for diners who want the taste – and smell – of traditional French cuisine ($US18). All meat dishes are served with French fries and ratatouille.
You simply haven’t experienced Vientiane until you have sampled some of the French cuisine that helped to establish Vientiane during the time of the French Indochina Empire and continues to influence the local food scene to this day.
Le Provencal French Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 11:30-14:00, 17:30-22:00
- Address: 73/1 Pang Kham Rd., Nam Pu Square, Vientiane
- Tel: 021 219 685