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Fabulous New Restaurant Off the Beaten Path

Have you ever accidentally stumbled on a hole in the wall restaurant to discover that your low expectations were way off base? Such was the case for us at a new eatery in Hyannis called Pain d’Avignon located on a tiny side street we would never turned down had it not been for a flat tire. Tucked away behind the main thoroughfare and nestled in what appears to be an industrial park, we happened upon a trendy European style café which masquerades as a bakery and sandwich shop by day and a French bistro restaurant by night. Waiting for AAA to come change our tire proved the perfect opportunity to sit at one of the outdoor tables and enjoy a bowl of carrot ginger soup and warm eggplant sandwich on homemade brioche. Wow. We couldn’t resist a couple huge oatmeal cookies for dessert which (and I know this is a bold statement) were the best I’ve ever had in my life. We made a mental note to return soon for dinner, and three nights later, found ourselves at the same table, this time with wait service and a menu featuring small and large plates, tapas style.

Between the two of us, we enjoyed a gnocchi dish with peas, carrots, morels and parmesan, a “Mangez a Trois” slider selection of truffled Kobe beef burger, lobster salad, and grilled eggplant, housemade ricotta, and tartare de boeuf with crispy shallots. Again, wow. We could have done shots of the tartare dressing, and the “undressed” Kobe beef burger was in no need of condiments, cheese, or even a pickle for that matter. We didn’t think the meal could improve, but it did. A trio of desserts – strawberry rhubarb pie (again, the best I’ve ever had in my life and I’m not exaggerating), raspberry panna cotta, and fresh strawberries with balsamic, mint, and crumbled biscotti. We left feeling pleasantly plump and planning a return visit.

We learned that the mastermind behind the exceptional food is Chef Toby Hill, formerly executive chef of a Chatham restaurant we once frequented. Chef Hill is notorious for combining unexpected flavors and producing some of the finest and most unique cuisine we have ever experienced.

With a great wine and beer list, European setting, outstanding food, and, of course, loaves and loaves of freshly baked bread, Pain d’Avignon is an off the beaten path gem we’re sure glad we found.

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