You’ll know you’ve found this real gem of a bistro when you see a red tractor sitting outside of a garage in the peaceful little sun-baked village of Sanilhac-Sagriès, just north of Nîmes and not far from Uzès in the lovely département of the Gard. The drowsy provincial setting could scarcely prepare you for just how good the food is at Le Tracteur, since the cooking of Numa Testud is a daily study in gastronomic inspiration and culinary wit. Testud formerly cooked with Swedish-born chef Peter Nilsson at Les Trois Salons in Uzès (Nilsson is now at La Gazzetta in Paris), and he still shops the wonderful Uzès food market. His menu changes constantly, but there are usually two starters, two main courses and two desserts. I’d drive miles out of my way for a repeat of my last meal here: fresh tomato soup with mussels, star anise and grapefruit; mackerel with crab jus and crunchy vegetables; and strawberries with red-wine caramel and pine-nut cake. Superb. Open for dinner only Tues-Sat, lunch Sun.

Avenue du Stade, Sanilhac-Sagriès, 04.66.37.19.31. Prix-fixe menu €23 per person without wine

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Originally published in the July/August 2008 issue of France Today

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