Warm sunlight is what attracted famous painters like Matisse and Cézanne to Provence, France, and that is what drew me into the recently opened Bistro Provençal, a French eatery with views of Riverside Park. In fact, most everything about this sunny new spot reminds me of France, from the original artwork of Provence to the guidebooks on the Côte d’Azur to the relaxed, savor-the-moment pace.

It all makes sense when you learn that the chef-owner is Alain Veratti, the Frenchman behind Crêpes ‘n Crêpes. Veratti’s authentic recipes and easy-going verve have long captured the culinary pleasures of the French countryside.

Provençal classics like niçoise salad, as well as the French onion soup, three different quiches, five savory tarts, and full roster of crêpes, waffles, and desserts all take their place on the robust menu. Although I have always loved Veratti’s crêpes, it was the quiche aux poireaux et magrets fumés (quiche with melted leeks, cream, and bacon-like smoked duck breast, pictured) that had me chasing every last crumb on my plate. Served with a small green salad, it was the perfect lunch—and the continuation of my French daydream.

1590 Little Raven St., 303-623-0605