Valentin Raffali

Valentin Raffali

Last March we invited to take over our kitchen Valentin Raffali, head-chef and co-owner of bistrot Livingston, in Marseille.

Born in Marseille, Raffali began cooking at a young age, refining his craft by joining both French and international kitchens. Following numerous formative experiences abroad, he returned to the South of France to work with The Small Group - today his business partners - first at La Mercerie in Marseille then at Chardon, in Arles.

At Livingston, Raffali has discovered a space where he can unleash his creativity, free from the rules typically associated with old school establishments. An eclectic blend of influences from the worlds of art, music and gastronomy is a key ingredient behind his constantly evolving, unique menus.

Here is the full interview with Val Raffali.

Valentin Raffali
Val RaffaliVal Raffali

1 - You're handed a wine list, what do you do?

I have no pretensions when it comes to wine, although I love it a lot. I rarely go to restaurants; I decline the wine list, preferring to explain what I like precisely and trust the sommelier. If I decide to go to a restaurant, then I indulge and listen to the sommelier.

2 - How do you know the wine you're drinking is good?

That's a good question. I know I can easily be influenced by the quality of the sommelier. Because I've had the chance to taste often, I know intuitively when something tastes good. I often look for a Loire white to start; I aim to refresh my palate and seek elegance.

3 - What is something fascinating you’ve been told over lunch?

I can't mention the name of this person or give details, but after that conversation, my visa to the United States was confirmed, and I was able to settle in New York.

4 - In whose company do you most enjoy drinking wine?

I always choose company first and then wine. I enjoy small gatherings, and I appreciate great bottles with Harry Cummins; we share the same lexicon, and I always learn from his words.

Val RaffaliVal Raffali

5 - Can you describe your ideal combination of wine, music, and setting?

Lower East Side, Ten Bells, Lou Reed,

I’m tired, It’s soon midnight we don’t want to leave, a dying candle, I can barely see my friend the place is dark, Marlboro Red in the back pocket, a beautiful red from Julie Balagny.

6 - What sort of food would you add to the equation?

Food comes after, on my way home, a dollar bad hot dog.

7 - What is the most memorable bottle of wine you’ve drank?

I don’t remember, to be honest, but I remember loving my life and the wine at El Kano a good time ago. It was my first real introduction to Spanish Jerez, my true love.

8 - Where did you drink it?

Basque Country.

Val RaffaliVal Raffali

9 - Is there a characteristic you look for in a wine and in a friend?

I seek loyalty, elegance, and above all, discretion. I don’t like labels; I don’t like loudness.

10 - What is your approach to drinking?

I choose carefully what I drink; I like to trust and learn. It's been a long time since I've been drunk. I quickly get disgusted; I never finish my glasses.

11 - Do you apply this approach in other aspects of life?

More or less; I especially enjoy watching my friends enjoy themselves; it contributes to my own enjoyment.

12 - What shall we open next?

Enough wine and talk let’s drink a cold Modelo.

Val Raffali Val Raffali

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday: from 6pm
Saturday: from 12pm


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New Opening Times

Starting from this summer our opening times are changing. From Tuesday 1st August onwards, our restaurant will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday as usual.

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Our last day open before the holidays is Saturday 5th August. We will be back as usual from Tuesday 15th August.