La Cave des Chateaux

Situated in the superbly atmospheric Calao Inn, this equally atmospheric French restaurant completes the circle that firmly transports you back to a feeling of uncontrived old Indochina.

La Cave des Chateaux is one of the newcomers on the Luang Prabang dining scene. Admittedly, this is already the second restaurant opened in Laos by the same owners: the first one is located in Vientiane, the capital of the country, and enjoys decent popularity. The owners are French and hail from Provence; funny as it may seem to travel all the way to Laos only to head for the nearest eatery with a French name, it is definitely worth paying a visit and having at least one meal here. Ambience-wise La Cave des Chateaux is one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, particularly if you plump for a candlelit dinner on the terrace. Nice crockery and glasses; you will be served wine in a decanter. Excellent waiters in stylish black uniforms; as often as not, a charming young French lady - Marie, a member of the owners' family, will also be present and only too happy to help with a tip on choosing from the menu, a mixture of Provencal and Asian cuisines. However, the only item of the menu actually shipped in from France is goose liver. The lamb is of Thai origin, the fish come straight from the Mekong River flowing past the restaurant. Excellent tuna tartare. La Cave desChateaux is housed in a legendary and historical 1904 riverside building, Le Calao Inn, which used to be one of the first guesthouses in Laos. Sadly, it has lost some of its original glamour. The food is provincial French with a hint of Lao and it is very good indeed although all this reverie comes at a fairly stiff price. Breakfast is good here as well whether it is accompanied by excellent Lao coffee or pastis as one is served on the Côte d'Azur itself.