French Restaurant Review: Villa Dufflot, Perpignan

French Restaurant Review: Villa Dufflot, Perpignan

This Perpignan address is headed by chef Mickaël Meunier who works with local produce and serves refined but flavourful dishes.

This lovely hotel and restaurant is on the outskirts of Perpignan, a fascinating Catalan city that was the capital of the Kings of Mallorca during the 13th and 14th centuries and which only became part of France in 1659 at the end of the Thirty Years War. It’s a delightful base from which to explore the Roussillon region and also makes a perfect stopping point for anyone traveling north or south by car.

Arriving here for a night before meeting friends in lovely Collioure the following day, we were warmly greeted and escorted to a very comfortable room with a balcony overlooking the hotel’s beautiful garden and swimming pool. These comfortable and attractively decorated quarters also come with a bath with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower and gorgeous, honey-scented Nuxe amenities (the hotel also has a Nuxe spa). At the Villa’s restaurant, chef Mickaël Meunier takes his inspiration from the finest local seasonal produce to create original contemporary French dishes that are refined but fully flavoured while exhibiting interesting contrasts of texture.

© Villa Duflot

Our starters offered perfect examples of his style, with courgette flowers stuffed with shrimp and garnished with girolles mushrooms and napped in a luscious Parmesan sauce. The baby peas smothered in lettuce with braised white onions and foie gras in a bacon foam was quite excellent, too. Baby lamb chops from the Pyrenees were perfectly cooked and served with whole chickpeas with mint, chickpea purée and panisses, the chickpea-flour chips popular in southern France.

Salmon confit with citrus and olives, a mousseline of baby peas and onions, and caramelised carrots was another excellent main that nodded at the local traditions of Catalan cooking with a sobrassada sauce. Sobrassada is a soft sausage seasoned with pimentón (smoked paprika) from Mallorca that’s popular throughout both French and Spanish Catalonia.

Desserts by pastry chef Najil Benjafine were charming, including local apricots roasted with thyme accompanied by white chocolate ganache, almond sponge cake and fromage blanc sorbet. The wine list showcases the many excellent wines produced in this part of France, including a favourite white, Mas del Coume Folio 2018 Collioure, a food wine of exceptional elegance. A fine selection of dessert wines from the Maury AOC region around Perpignan, Rivesaltes and Banyuls-sur-Mer are served by the glass.

Villa Duflot, Avenue Charles Deperet, Rond Point Albert Donnezan, Perpignan, Tel. (33) 04 68 56 67 67,

Average à la carte €80

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : © Villa Duflot

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Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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