One of the pleasures of living in this part of the world is discovering new places to enjoy well-prepared, reasonably priced meals in pleasant surroundings with congenial hosts. Auberge de Reals typifies that pleasure. The restaurant is located near a picturesque bridge over the Orb River off the main road between Cazouls-les-Beziers and Cessenon sur Orb. The view from the terrace must be quite nice in summer but we came in late January and so had to ‘settle’ for the main dining room with its crackling fire, stone walls, wooden beams, and tile floors. Be aware, in winter the Auberge is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We joined a healthy Thursday lunch crowd, very congenial, many of whom seemed to be local regulars.
Service was attentive without being intrusive, pleasant without being over familiar. Given the nearly full house, our orders arrived surprisingly briskly, not hurried but not as leisurely as some restaurants in the region.
We ordered from the daily formula. Our salads came with a chunk of buttery fresh bread topped with a slice of quality goat cheese broiled just right. Simple greens, small wedges of tomato, slices of mushroom, and a mustardy cream sauce. Cathey ordered the fish casserole, chunks of white-fleshed fish (cod?) in a creamy sauce with carrots and with a lightly breaded crust. Tasty and a proper portion. Her side of rice was delicately flavored, not the typically bland side carb. I had the andouillette, a funky trash-meat sausage grilled properly and accompanied by a mound of crisp fries and another little taste of dressed greens. For dessert, Cathey had a flan-like citrus cream chock full of orange zest and I had the floating island topped with shaved, roasted almonds. Fitting endings.
With a demi of rosé (presented in a bucket of ice) and coffee for me, our total bill came to 33 euros. That’s 12,50 each for the three-course formula plus wine and coffee. More than reasonable. We’ll bring friends. Often.
For pics and more reviews: www.southfranceamerican.com