Romance, food, travel. This film has everything going for it, including subtle, heartfelt performances by the four lead actors.
Helen Mirren, the new Meryl Streep, is utterly convincing as stuffy French restaurant owner Madame Mallory. Her one Michelin starred restaurant is the only game in town, destroying the competition. That is, until the Kadam family enters the village- along with equally feisty Papa (Om Puri) and opens a restaurant right across the street.
In an expected plot turn, young chef Hassan discovers that the lovely and single lady helping his family in distress is none other than the competition's sous chef Marguerite. Love enraptures, success brings separation, and love eventually succeeds. Yes, you understand all this even before the opening lines of dialogue, but the actors are so pleasant to watch, you don't mind it a bit. Manish Dayal is perfectly cast, as is his love Charlotte Le Bon.
Surprisingly, the star of the film is not the food. The exotic locales are smartly played to draw you in and make you forget it's really a foodie film. (And make you run to IMDB to discover exactly where in France this charming village is located.) Much like Tortilla Soup, it's a story driven, character rich film, and it is worth spending a very pleasant afternoon to watch it.