Le Mangevins Bistro

I reported on this wonderful discovery last year. Le Mangevins Bistro is across the street from Le Pavillon hotel in Tain l’Hermitage, and less than a block away from the retail wine shop and corporate headquarters of the Chapoutier firm. There are only 15-18 seats in the entire restaurant run by a husband and wife team (the wife is the chef and the husband is the only waiter). The food that emerges from this tiny kitchen is top-flight – savory, flavorful and imaginative dishes that represent the finest of the local region. Even more remarkable is the extraordinary wine list, which obviously specializes in the northern and southern Rhône Valley. I also like their extremely generous, consumer friendly policy that if you only want a half bottle, they will open a full bottle, but only charge you for a half. You definitely need to make reservations as Le Mangevins Bistro is packed, and you will likely be turned away at the door if you do not have one.

The two meals my wife and I enjoyed here included a wonderful gazpacho, and delicious, slow cooked veal and beef dishes accompanied by a wonderful selection of wines. The first evening we had a Montlouis 2009 from Jacky Blot that was so acidic that I said I would pay for the bottle, but I wanted to move on to something else. Which we did, enjoying a delicious, superb François Chidaine 2007 Montlouis. We followed that with the 2007 Colombis Châteauneuf du Pape from Isabel Ferrando, which was outrageously good. The first night we enjoyedrillettes de lapin (rabbit) which were out of this world, a superb gazpacho, fresh cooked cod and a filet of beef. The second evening we tried a long cooked veal dish in addition to gazpacho, which worked beautifully with a non-vintage Billecart Salmon Rosé and a superb bottle of the 2007 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape.

I highly recommend this bistro. The prices are fair, and both the menu and the wine list are exceptional. The choices on the menu are relatively limited, but I have eaten here on four occasions and I love the cooking at this tiny bistro. It is a breath of fresh air in the culinary scene of Tain l’Hermitage.

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