Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Cuisine: French Mediterranean; gastronomic bistro style Visit: August 2012 Price: Medium (great value for the quality and originality: 2 courses 24 €; 3 courses – plats 29 €)

Just outside of La Petite Cave

Atmosphere: Old yet modern, vibrant yet relaxed and casual despite serving gastronomic fare. The waiter was very friendly when we dined there and proved that he cares about how his guests feel. The restaurant is located in the small ancient village of Saignon, just up the hill from Apt. You have to park near the church and then walk through the cobbled village streets and charming little squares with fountains until you find a tiny entrance to the cave where the restaurant is located. The atmosphere is charming and cosy. There are not many tables so I would recommend booking your dinner table ahead. (La Petite Cave is closed for lunch)

Vaults at LaPetite Cave

Food: Fresh, inventive and reasonably sized. The menu changes seasonally and in some cases instead of duck you might be served chicken, although the waiter will inform you about it. Some days it is perhaps challenging to find the right amount of ducks in this countryside area! Important though is that the food tastes good and here at Le Petite cave it is more – the food is excellent! I chose a refreshing starter of Soupe Froide de Petits Pois, Mousse de Crabe, Avocat – a Chilled Pea Soup with Crab Mousse and Avocado. It was delicious! The thick and concentrated pea soup was nourishing but also refreshing at the same time, the crab with its soft texture and sea salty nature added the dominant flavor and the avocado and herbs mousse added volume and depth to this dish.

Chilled pea soup with crab and avocado

A more traditional starter are Rillettes de Maquereaux fumé, Cornichons, Raisins, Menthe – Rillettes of Smoked Mackerel, Cornichons, Grapes and Mint. The rillettes of chopped slated mackerel are served in a glass pot with gherkins (pickled cucumbers) and grape halves with mint infusion. A prefer this to the traditional pork rillettes version as it is more refreshing and not too heavy. Moving to main courses with Saumon Poché, Pommes de Terre au Safran, Cocos Plats, Sauce Béarnaise – Poached Salmon, Saffron Potatoes, Runner Beans and a cup of Béarnaise Sauce. Delicate salmon and potato with touch of saffron got a bit more zesty not just after squeezing a bit of lemon over it but also with the bean mash adding vegetal touch to this dish. La Petite Cave’s take on the Béarnaise Sauce was a nice surprise. Not only butter and egg yolks, this sauce had more herbs in it that I am accustomed to, and I liked that for it even more.

Poached salmon

My partner wanted Confit de Canard, Pois Chiches en Curry, Purée de Choufleur, Coriandre – Confit of Duck leg, Curried Chickpeas, Cauliflower Purée, Coriander. The restaurant was out of duck so he was instead offered a chicken in the same version. I had a taste, or two, and loved it. The curried chickpeas added Middle Eastern flavor, cauliflower softly balanced it, and grilled garlic cloves brought it to perfection.

Confit de Poulet

Later you can have either cheese or some sweet delicacy. We tried the Fromage de Chèvre et Miel de Saignon – Creamy Goat Cheese with Honey from Saignon. Served warm on a sizzling pan and sprinkled with noisettes of red pepper, there was no flaw in this cheese preparation. Just dip a piece of bread into it and let yourself carry away on a cloud of eternal taste bliss.

Goat cheese

I was craving chocolate so went fora desert. The Fondant au Chocolate, Mascarpone, Sorbet de Cassis – Chocolate Fondant, Mascarpone and Cassis Sorbet brought me to a chocolate connoisseurs’ heaven. The Fondant had just perfect melting texture, richness and two friends on each side. On the left was a refreshing and rich home-made cassis sorbet and on the right a creamy whip of mascarpone and vanilla pods. I did not know which one to eat first or which one to leave for the last mouthful (I usually leave the best part to the end) as all the three little pots of these delicacies were incredible. This desert will be a main subject of my dreams in many nights to come.

The ultimate chocolate delicacy

Drinks: For an aperitif you can have a glass of pastis or local wine. The wine list is all local and very reasonably priced. The most expensive wine on the list when we dined there was €55. On the waiter’s suggestion we ordered a bottle of white wine from Château la Canorgue, Luberon. This organically certified blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc was deep, complex and full of life. The winery has been practicing biodynamic and organic winemaking for over 30 years, so they are not new to this area and it seems that they have learnt to do it very well. Opening hours: From 7:30pm Tuesday to Saturday for dinner. Contact: +33(0) 490 766 492; Mobile: +33(0) 637 850 922 Address: Rue Le Quai, 84 400 Saignon, France

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La Mere Germaine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Cuisine: French traditional bistro style; Southern Rhone cuisine

Visit: August 2012

Price: medium (three-course lunch menu €23; four-course dinner menu €37)

This vibrant and friendly restaurant was first opened in 1922 by Madame Germaine Vion, who was previously the chef at the Élysée Palace in Paris. Thus the name of this iconic Chateauneuf-du-Pape restaurant was born. Recently it was renovated and reopened by its new owner Andre Mazy, who also monthly selects special local wines for wine enthusiasts visiting from all corners of the world. During my visit, there was a large Chinese group wine tasting in one of the rooms, but the wine tasting area is separated from the other dining rooms and we had a relaxed lunch with tremendous views of the vineyard-dominated Southern Rhone landscape.

Terrace at La Mere Germaine

Atmosphere: Casual, artsy and fresh. There are three dining areas. The first has been infused with art as paintings hang, sculptures stand and wine is being tasted there. The second has huge old windows and a mirrored wall allowing the natural light from outside to lighten up the room. The last is a terrace protected from the Mistral wind by windows built into arches, so you can savor the sun and fresh air without your napkin flying all over the place. You can wear anything you want except a swimming suit. It is a very casual place where locals cross with foreigners. Although the entire menu is in French, the friendly staff will explain to you what each dish is about.

Restaurant inside & view

Food: Traditional yet innovative with daily change of the lunch menu so one never gets bored by the food there. There is usually one fish and a number of meat courses, vegetarians will have to request something special unless there is already something suitable on that day’s offer. The food is honest, the portions generous and it is intensely tasty – no salt and herbs was spared on preparing these meals.

Since the food is changed daily, I will try to give you an idea, what it could be like from the dishes we had during our Monday lunch at La Mère Germaine.

We tried all the three appetizers on offer. They were all delicious and each of us went for something appealing to his/her palate.

Fish Terine

The Terrine de Poissons Aux Herbes, Tartare de Tomates was delicate, full of flavor and quite a light starter. The fish in the egg-based terrine was freshened up with herbs, and zesty chopped tomatoes on the side added juice to the otherwise dry terrine. It was perfectly balanced and excellent with a glass of a medium-bodied white Rhone wine.

The cantaloupe melon was in season and most of restaurants in the region included it in their menu either in the classical melon with ham or in a more sophisticated starter. At La Mère Germaine they have adopted the later. The Fraîcheur de Melon et Caillette, Gaspacho de Melon was a complex starter. With a side of a small cantaloupe gaspacho, the chopped melon slices with herbs and vegetables made into a salad and a meat terrine there was a little bit of everything. The gaspacho was refreshing and not too sweet, the salad with melon resembled more Asian style of fruit and veggie mixed salads and the terrine was a based on a great quality meat. With a dish like this though one struggles to choose the right wine to pair it with. I would say, that anything medium-to full-bodied should work. Just avoid feeble or crisp white wines.

The third starter of Foie Gras Confit, Chutney de Melon Jaune, Cake à la Verveine was another story in terms of finding the right wine match for it. An aromatic even slightly sweet white wine would do perfect and even a fruity and juicy red would cut through the fatness of the duck liver. Another great use of cantaloupe in this dish. (I almost think they must have had over-production of melons this year in France). The sweet character of the melon chutney combined with a verveine (verbena) infused cake instead of the commonly used bread was a unique and surely very tasty accompaniment to the delicate Foie Gras.

Foie Gras Confit

From the main courses we went for the Filet de Cabillaud Roti, Matignon de Légumes et Coques, Fleur de Courgette Farcie. The roasted cod filet with vegetables, cockles (small mussels) stuffed in a courgette flower had not a fault. It was an interesting way how to prepare cod in an engaging fashion. White wine is a must as seafood combined with fish and green vegetables rarely go with red, unless there is a rich sauce such as tomato or a meat juice.

And finally, the real carnivores would be delighted by the Gigot à Agneau Rosé, Pommes Croustillantes, Légumes Sautés, Tomates Confits. The traditional chunks of cooked veal were served with potatoes, sautéed vegetables and conserved tomatoes. If one was still hungry after eating the big thigh of veal, then a dessert would fill the gap. We had space only for a cup of coffee and tea and a wine tasting in front of us so we had to preserve our stamina for the afternoon happenings. Judging from the neighbors’ plate, the sweets looked delicious, so if you are not in rush, just savor one of them without hesitation.

Veal Filet

Drinks: The wine list is specialized on the Rhone Valley wines for great prices at a restaurant. The Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines are listed by vintage with the oldest wines reaching over 40 years back. The owner offers a special local selection of great-value-wines each month. Nevertheless, there are some Burgundies, Champagne and other lesser known wines from around France. We drunk first a local white wine from Domaine Lou Devete 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Les Poéses de Marie.
It is a blend 50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Clairette aged for 6 months in barriques (small oak barrels). The production is quite small. Depending on the year it usually reaches about 1.300 bottles. It was refreshing yet deep and ideal with our appetizers. Later we ordered another lesser known red from Domaine du Lampourdier 2010 from the nearby Côtes du Rhone appellation. It was intense with a hint of spice from the Syrah in the blend. Great and juicy wine with the beef, but a bit too intense for the fish main course.

Contact: +33 (0) 4 90 22 78 34

Address: 3 Rue Commandant Lemaître; 84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape; France

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Cuisine: French contemporary, seafood

Visit: July 2010

Price: High if you get the steak or seafood platter, which goes to very high depending on how many of you are sharing it.

L’Escale – the legendary St Tropez establishment

Atmosphere: On a beach day and night – that is L’Escale. Sand covers the floors of the white decorated restaurant, but ladies can switch from flip-flops to sexy high heels as this place is all about fun, great food and in later hours dancing on the white sofas lining elegantly along the walls. It can get pretty wild here late at night. If you come around 9pm though be relaxed and bring your all family over as it is a refreshing hangout. Sitting in the forefront part of the restaurant is undoubtedly the utmost holiday experience – an open roof, views of the super-busy St Tropez port and dipping your toes into the sandy floors cannot be more “vacation!!” screaming. A party frock or a comfy linen pants, both will make you feel in accord with the place.

Food: Seafood rules at L’Escale. Sharing the Seafood platter is a favorite starter or a main course for many tables. The lobster and crab are particularly delicious. The cra is a lot of work though, so you might end up cracking lots of shells and get just a tiny piece of meat.

Not in love with seafood? Then a Beef Steak or Chicken will be the right thing for you. There are also some Japan-inspired appetizers such as Tuna tartar, which has been my long-time favorite appetizer. Thinly chopped tuna is accompanied by tasty sauce and condiments making it an ideal light dish before going out to party.

Seafood platter with lobster and oysters

L’escale’s signature dish on the menu are the Fried squids. They are tender and meaty, not chewy as squids tend to be in most of pubs, bars and fast-food establishments. Aromatic with herbs and not too ‘bready’ as the crumble is just sensibly coating the squid rings. Squeeze of lemon adds even more freshness and a sip of a crisp white wine a party feel (ok beer is great with this meal too). A glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Loire like Sancerre is my favorite with this kind of seafood.

L’Escale’s squids

Another fishy starter I recommend even as a main course, if you had too much seafood from the platter, is the Smoked salmon with blini and condiments. The intense smoked fish goes perfectly with the pancake-like blini and herb-infused cream sauce. I had a mineral Chablis from Burgundy with it and was in high spirits while enjoying this timeless dish. If you decide to dance at this point, this is perfect dish to take. It is cold so no worries about eating it for an hour or more.

Smoked salmon with a giant blini

Drinks: Great wine list for a restaurant with party atmosphere. There is a great bar with a Dj playing great music in the middle of the scene, so it is worth to have an aperitif before your dinner or lunch (the lunch has a different breeze though – it is more relaxed). There is champagne by the glass and myriad of cocktails to choose from. The wine list is French and we usually get a white (Chardonnay) or red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) or white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) from Loire Valley since they go very well with the seafood-oriented food on the menu.

Opening hours: Lunch and dinner (late-second seating after 10:30pm) daily in the season from April to October.

Contact: Tel: +33 4 94 97 00 63

Address: 9 Quai Jean Jaurès, 83 990 Saint Tropez, France

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Cuisine: French gourmet

Visit: July 2012 & March 2013

Price: High (appetizers in the above €50 level and main courses above €70)

Chef: Jacques Chibois has brought the Royal Gray restaurant at the hotel Gray d’Albion in Cannes to two Michelin stars (the first place in town to achieve two stars), so opening his own place was the most sensible thing to do. In 1996, after buying an 18th-century country manor La Bastide Saint-Antoine, where once stayed prominent faces of a global fame from the Kennedy family to the rock legend Rolling Stones, he opened a restaurant and a small hotel under the same name. Only a year later, La Bastide Saint-Antoine, was awarded two Michelin stars (in 1997).

His five-star place soon became a member of the Relais & Chateaux and Relais Gourmand hotel groups.

The view from La Bastide Saint Antoine

Atmosphere: From October through April, the cosy and chic inside rooms with fireplaces host all the gourmet cuisine appreciating diners. The two restaurant rooms are elegant and comfortable, but once you stop by during the summer, you will be seduced by the outside garden dining area. Its panoramic view overlooking the Provencal landscape with the Mediterranean sea in the far horizon is a refreshing retreat for the soul. Your lunch or dinner suddenly becomes a spa treatment. Hearing just the birds, tirelessly buzzing crickets and muted voices of the fellow diners becomes a mind-detoxifying escape to the country for any city dweller. Dress fresh and elegant and you will be in harmony with the place. Ladies do not to bother with high-heels when eating in the outside area.

Food: Elegant, light and fresh. The chef’s philosophy is about playing with the gifts of the local abundant nature. One of his ideas is that “flowers have the same role as herbs and spices”. Therefore, as an homage to the town of Grasse famous for its perfumes and flowers, he includes flowers, spices and other aromatic ingredients in his culinary creations. He changes the ingredients seasonally, so if you come in summer you might still want to try it in the fall or winter with the more hearty dishes. The portions are quite small though so do not worry that you will leave feeling too heavy just like the animals ready for the winter sleep.

La Bolognaise de Homard aux Asperges

At the beginning of your meal, instead of a butter, you will be served a home-made olive oil from the grove on the property accompanied with crunchy bread crackers.

Later, an amuse bouche of daily specialties in tiny portions will tune your palate for the chef’s aromatic cooking performance.

During the summer I have discovered Monsieur Chibois’ cuisine with the great value Lunch menu for €59. Most of the appetizers are more expensive, so this three-course meal including a dessert is a great bargain for the quality you get. This menu is available daily except Sundays and holidays. It excludes beverages so if you are driving like me and stay with water and tea then it is a winner for you.

My starter of La Bolognaise de Homard aux Asperges, Coulis de Roquette et Salade, surprised me at first but after the first spoon-full it rewarded my taste buds with tantalizing complexity of each of its ingredients. My basic knowledge of French (the menu is not in English, although the staff helps you with translation) lead to an assumption that I will get something like a lobster salad with sauce Bolognaise. Instead, I got a light green pea colored gazpacho or in France known as veloute (cold liquid dish, soup) with lobster, green asparagus and a couple of roquette leafs. The dish was creamy, yet light, complex, but simple when each the lobster, asparagus and roquette was eaten separately with the cold soup and prepared from the finest local ingredients.

Les Petites Rouelles de Lotte à la Verveine

Being it lunch I went for a fish main course. The Les Petites Rouelles de Lotte à la Verveine et Santoline, Petits Oignons en Grassoise d’Olives Noires, Pois Gourmands Natures took my attention because of its Verveine sauce. Verveine is a popular leaf from a verveine tree used in tea infusions across France. Its citrusy, lemongrass aroma creates a refreshing feel. Indeed, the sauce was excellent. Combined with a side serving of cooked onion strips with chopped black olives and gourmet green pea husks it was enriching the meal with its authentic aromas.

Strawberries with sorbet and mascarpone

An exciting fan of seasonal fruit and strawberries I had the Les Fraises et Sorbet à la Gelée de Citronnelle Crème de Mascarpone à l’Amande as my desert. The strawberries were mind-blowing. They were somewhere between wild and normal strawberries. Slightly more sweet than regular ones and bigger in size than the wild strawberries. The sorbet was one of the best I have ever had. It was not too sugary, rather refreshing and faithful to its main ingredient-the fruit. The mascarpone was like a white bed in which the red heaven of berry creations was residing. Its creamy texture balanced the acidity from the berries and calmed down the coolness of the sorbet.

One of the chef’s signature dishes is the Langoustine Papillon in Orange Pulp Emulsion with Olive Oil and Basil. I have to try it next time, but if you do it before me, do not hesitate to comment and share  your impressions.

The chef has also two tasting menus of several courses. Scents and Flavors Menu for 169.00 € and Discovery Menu for 190.00 €, so if you want to pamper yourself even more and thoroughly explore the chef’s cooking.

During the winter the menu is more focused on local ingredients such as the truffles from Provance and winter vegetables.

Drinks: I peaked in the wine list and was impressed. Having a French focus the selection was wide and wines from all corners of France were having their ambassador on the list. Since I was driving I had only water and verveine tea with my desert, so I will add my suggestions in the future.

A great option for drivers and people not staying in the area is to stay overnight at the hotel and enjoy as much wine as one desires. Although, moderation in drinking as well as eating is best for not spoiling the following day. The Jacques Chibois light gourmet cooking will take care of the later, but how many bottles of wine you order is purely up to you.

Opening hours: Since it is a hotel, the lunch and dinner menus are available until guests are present. Although it is more flexible, do not expect to arrive at 10:30 pm and start your dinner.

Contact: +33(0)4 93 70 94 94; info@jacques-chibois.com

Address: 48 Avenue Henri Dunant, 06130, Grasse, France

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Cuisine: Mediterranean gourmet fish and seafood

Visit: July 2012 ( since 2008 I have been returning there for the delicious fish every summer season).

Price: Very high (the best fish does not come cheaply and the fishermen need to be rewarded for their super early working hours, appetizers between €20-75, fish around €80 per 500g – a big fish can reach €300 and above)

View from Bacon restaurant

Bacon is a family success on an international scale. Over 60 years this restaurant has been attracting the rich and famous as well as seasonal visitors of the area appreciating the highest quality of fish and seafood. Bacon’s proximity to the legendary Hotel du Cap (Eden Roc) brings a considerate proportion of the hotel’s clientele to the restaurant. If you stay there you might see the people you met during your afternoon by the hotel’s pool. No wonder, Bacon’s fish and seafood is better than the gastronomic restaurant at Eden Rock can ever aspire to. The ambiance is also much more comfortable, friendly and not too formal.

Atmosphere: Romantic, relaxed and comfortable. Bacon prides itself on having one of the best views on the entire French Riviera. Overlooking the ancient port of Antibes with rocky mountains at the horizon and blue sea of the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) in the forefront, the vista cannot be more appealing. The family members welcome you at the door and take you to the table. Everyone feels pampered here by the attentive staff. It is very relaxed, but the service is highly professional. For lunch the dress code is more casual, just do not walk in flip-flops straight from the beach. A summer dress and light pants will make it work for this elegant yet fresh ambiance. In the evening men should wear a jacket and women elegant dress or pants.

Seabass grandmother style at Bacon

Food: From Bouillabaisse to local seasonal fish and seafood, everything is of the highest quality and prepared according to the years-proven recipes of the family. The chef today is not a member of the family, but he inherited the cooking secrets and every evening creates new amouse bouche as well as occasionally also new dishes. Serge Philippin has been the chef at the Restaurant de Bacon since 1978 and had a merit in winning a star from the Guide Michelin in 1985.

From the appetizers my favorites are the refreshing Poisson cru au citron et aux herbes. A thinly sliced delicate white fish marinated softly in lemon juice, olive oil and herbs. After a hot day at the beach this an excellent light starter.

Staying on the lighter side the Fricassée de Langouste tiède à l’estragon is a perfect match to a mineral white burgundy or champagne. The crayfish is lightly sauteed with tarragon and served on a bed of green salad with olive oil. Again this dish is perfectly balanced, soft and delicate.

Fricasse of red mullet at Bacon

Also from the warm appetizers and perhaps the most creative is Fricassée de rougets tièdes à l’estragon. The mellow pieces of red mullet are sprikled with tarragon, lettuce, crispy onions, fresh and juicy tomatoes. It is a heavenly dish and one of the best ways of serving red mullet I have seen so far.

Sea bass ravioli

An absolute gourmet treat is the Délice de loup aux Truffes du Haut Var. It is one of the new creations of the chef. The thin ravioli are filled with a super soft mash of sea bass with truffles and bathe in a creamy yet light sauce with chopped vegetables. 

Similar to the previous dish are Ravioles de Langouste dans son fumet. A slight upgrade of the filling in the form of crayfish cooked in its juice will appeal to seafood lovers. Again it is very delicate so you will not be stuffed after this starter despite it looks quite big in size on the plate. 

Ravioli stuffed with crayfish

For the Foie gras afficionados this, in some countries (UK, California in the US) controversial delicacy, is served in the form of pâté in home style as is typical in French restaurants. After all Bacon is not only about fish as the produce of the land features on the menu either in the form of side dishes, garnishes or even main meals on their own.

As my main course I mostly get fish, only sometimes I steer into lobster, especially when the rare Mediterranean lobster is on the daily catch menu.

The fish can be grilled with fennel, steamed, cooked in a papillote. It is served with olive oil, a basil butter sauce, a chervil Butter sauce or in a broth. It is wise to ask the waiter what fish he would suggest on the day as it varies depending on the catch. If I am not in an adventurous mood I stick with sea bass cooked in grandmother style. It is very fresh, the fish stands out next to the vegetable condiments and it is served with some special pasta, potatoes or vegetable side dish. The chef is very creative when it comes to this part of the dish so I never get tired of the sea bass as it is each time slightly different. The fish though stays excellent!

Bacon often also has a dorade, sea bream, red snapper, turbot and then seasonal local fish.

I might disappoint you but I also have to praise the deserts. They are quite light, fresh and often served with fruit. I love the Millefeuille with light cream and forest strawberries and if I am too full and the season for forest berries is in full I get a portion of wild strawberries.

Millefeuille with light cream and forest strawberries

Drinks: The wine list is very good, surely worthy the Bacon’s reputation. It is purely French – from the hight of Burgundy’s legendary producers Romanée Conti and Domaine d’Auvenay to more sober Côtes de Provence you will find something to suit your budget. A glass of Champagne or a luscious Bellini as an aperitif and intense Armagnac for a digestif, the drinks offer is focused on matching well with the great food. A cup of verveine or camomille tea to round up your spectacular dinner will be served with home made cookies. Especially I love these thin crispy ones with almond shavings.

Opening season and days: March-October open daily except Mondays and for lunch also on Tuesdays.

Contact: Tel: +33(0)4 93 61 50 02; email: contact@restaurantdebacon.com

Address: Boulevard de Bacon, Cap d’Antibes, 06160, France

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Sea view from La Pinède

La Pinède is a good seafood restaurant on the Mediterranean shore nested between Monaco and Cap Ferrat. You can walk along the sea from Monaco enjoying the fresh air or conveniently arrive by car accessing it through the village of Cap D’Ail. Its hidden location makes La Pinède a popular escape for a romantic dinner or a refreshing lunch for families strolling the path on weekends and holidays.

Cuisine: French, seafood, Mediterranean, Provençal

Visit: April 2012

Price: high with some main courses approaching the €50 price tag.

Atmosphere: Super romantic when you are sitting by the windows (open during warm months), looking over to the sea and listening to the soothing hiss of waves. You are right there on the rocks of the seashore. You can sit outside, have an aperitif in one of the lounge chairs or opt for sometimes warmer indoor seating. The restaurant is really big and offers a choice of various atmospheres depending on in which of the rooms you are sitting. At the back by the bar there is rustic, mountain challet reminding darker room for coller evenings or after-dinner drinks. Then there are two rooms turning into a terrace during the summer. Both boost with a lovely sea view and lots light.

A table by the window at La Pinède

Food: La Pinède is known for its seafood and fish which comes directly from Corsica. There is some meat on the menu, but it is mostly not what diners come here for. Try their Boullabaisse fish soup or Rock fish « maison » soup with its Provençal « rouille » mayonnaise as they are both excellent here and can be both a rich appetizer or nourishing main course.  The Rock fish soup is one of the best ones I had in France.

Rock fish soup with rouille sauce

Desiring something lighter get the Carpaccio of scallop shell, tuna and salmon. It is fresh and delicate, yet on a huge plate so if you choose it as an appetizer share it with someone.

Carpaccio of scallop shell, tuna and salmon

Grilled prawns with garlic and fresh basil are good quality seafood, yet to my taste it was too oily, actually the prawns were swimming in oil and who wants that if a delicious oil and eggs-based homemade tartare sauce is served with this course. Unless you eat lots of bread with it, you will wake up with a tummy ache.

Grilled prawns - see the oil

A better choice were the Oven baked Bay prawns with Provence herbes as they were not too oily, but fresh, juicy and mellow. They are expensive, but delicious and the portion is generous.

La Pinède offers also three kinds of tasting menus, which can be a good value for money and are quite flexible in terms of selection.


Domaine Ott wine & similarly shaped olive oil

The wine list is purely French oriented with wines in all price points and half-bottle and magnum sized wines suit every occasion. We have got an interesting half bottle of white wine from Domaine Ott. This Provencial winery is known for its rose wine so we were curious if their white wine is also worth the domaine’s great reputation. The Blanc de Blancs made from Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc was perfect with the seafood. Fruity, crisp and refreshing. For €35 in this small version it was not the cheapest wine, yet it was a good value in terms of taste.Wines from big names such as Cheval Blanc from Bordeaux feature on the list as well and they come with a high price tag. Although, cheaper than at many restaurants in Monaco.

If you feel like an aperitif before your dinner, then a glass of house champagne or one of the classical cocktails such as Bellini,. Kir Royal, Margarita or a non-alcoholic La Paradise will do. Owing to its lovely lounge terrace, many diners opt for a pre-diner drink there.

Opening hours & contact: Open every day (except on Wednesdays) from March to October, for lunch and dinner. Tel: +33.(0)


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