Le Vallauris Restaurant Review - The first French Restaurant in Palm Springs

Le Vallauris, French Cuisine in Palm Springs

Le Vallauris has been satisfying fans of French cuisine in Palm Springs for thirty six years.  When Paul Bruggemans opened his restaurant in the ‘70s, French food was not on the map in the Coachella Valley.

Owner Paul Bruggermans

But Bruggermans’ success with Le St. Germain in Los Angeles kept him determined to expand his horizons to the east.  And it did catch on, with Le Vallauris today one of the desert’s most prominent restaurants.

Le Vallauris resides in an historic Palm Springs home

Located in a restored historic landmark, you’ll feel as if you’ve arrived in someone’s home from another era with Flemish tapestries and Louis XV furniture.

Charming Dining Room

There’s one large dining room and a smaller cozy area with just a few tables and a fireplace that leads onto a charming patio with tiny lights nesting in the Ficus trees.

The romantic outdoor patio with gas heaters for year round comfort

The interior lighting is subdued, contributing to a romantic atmosphere.  The menu is presented on an easel brought to your table, with the selections often changing depending on what items are available.

Chef Jean Paul Lair

Chef Jean Paul Lair is from Vichy, France, not exactly the hub of French cuisine, but he’s been creating traditional and not so traditional dishes for many years, and along with his pastry chef, Laurent Dellac, there’s something for every palate.

Pastry Chef, Laurent Dellac

From the hot breadsticks brought to your table as you’re seated to any one of nine luscious desserts, an evening here will prove memorable.  Let’s start with the appetizers: there are the traditional Escargots with Garlic Butter ($13.50) and Sauteed Foie Gras ($23), but Chef Lair also offers some more novel concoctions.

Amazing Foie Gras Ravioli in a Truffle Sauce

My favorite: The Perigord Foie Gras and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli ($18).  It’s rich.  It’s flavorful.  It’s perfect.  There’s also a wonderful plate of Crunchy Boston Scallops wrapped in Kataifi (a Middle Eastern pastry made with a special variety of shredded phyllo dough) with Granny Smith apples  ($15.50).

Crunchy Boston Scallops wrapped in Filo Dough

There are more than a dozen entrees, again providing both the expected and unexpected.

Sauteed White Fish - a signature dish

Among the expected: Dover Sole Meuniere ($44), one of Le Vallauris’ signature dishes with a mustard mouselline (similar to hollandaise), and Roasted Duck with Red Current Reduction ($34).  The duck is crispy yet moist and not a bit greasy. 

Crispy Duck with a Red Currant Reduction

A somewhat more exotic offering is the Couscous ($27) with a mélange of fresh vegetables prepared with Indian spice.  It’s served with large tender asparagus and baby broccoli.  There’s also a wonderful Braised Lamb Shank ($37) with tomato and white wine and Osso Bucco ($34) served with spinach and mashed potatoes.

Creme Brulee with Fresh Raspberries

Maybe I just have a weakness for it, but to me the desserts at Le Vallauris are the best part of the meal.  Instead of a simple Crème Brulee ($10), here pastry chef Dellac has added raspberries to the mix, giving us just a bit more diversity in consistency.
The Pear Tarte ($10) has a perfect buttery consistency with the pear baked in the middle of the pastry. Yummy!

Monaco Dark Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate lovers will savor the Monaco Dark Chocolate Mousse ($10) with hazelnut crunch and espresso sauce or the Guayaquil Chocolate Souffle ($10.50) made with pure Ecuadorian cocoa and served with chocolate ice cream.  Talk about your “death by chocolate!”
Le Vallauris is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with brunch on Sunday. 

Le Vallauris
385 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 325-5059


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