The Côte d’Azur is always in fashion, but where are the hottest spots to eat? From Cannes to Menton, we’ve picked out the best restaurants on the French Riviera.
The French Riviera is a timeless holiday destination that draws loyal visitors who flock to the South of France each year, seeking out golden stretches of sand, thrumming beach clubs and superb dining options. But where do the in-the-know crowd eat? From a restaurant perched above the waves in Nice to Cannes’ hot new Greek outpost via a sun-soaked terrace perfect for people watching, these are the restaurants to book on the Côte d’Azur.
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The owners aren’t wrong when they describe this three-Michelin-star spot as “a restaurant between heaven and earth”. Housed in a 1930s rotunda building, Mirazur enjoys a spectacularly beautiful setting, perched at the foot of the mountains overlooking the sea and the pretty town of Menton. Chef Mauro Colagreco is inspired by the influence of the moon and planets, serving up picture-perfect plates such as oyster gillardeau, spiny lobster, bordighera squid and rack of lamb with red miso.
Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is one of the first South African chefs to obtain a Michelin star, and his Nice restaurant has captured the hearts and minds of epicureans worldwide. This intimate, 20-seater restaurant in Vieux Port serves traditional South African dishes elevated to haute-cuisine status. They take pride in seasonal plates, sourcing food from surrounding markets and producers, and prioritising sustainability and minimal waste in everything they do. On a menu that will open your eyes to South African dining, taste scallops with orange blossom and rooibos, mielie pap with tomato and caviar, and sago pudding with buchu.
La Guérite, Cannes
This exclusive restaurant and private beach club on the pretty island of Sainte-Marguerite is only accessible by boat. Overlooking the glittering bay of Cannes, La Guérite has been seducing a clientele since 1902, when it was home to an old fisherman’s cabin where locals sunbathed and socialised around a game of pétanque. Today, Executive Chef Yiannis Kioroglou channels the soulful dinners of his Greek heritage with an exquisite menu of chargrilled seafood, smoky meats and superb wines.
La Colombe d’Or, St-Paul-de-Vence
Iconic La Colombe d’Or is one of the most famous restaurants in France; an unassuming family-run auberge in the hills with a jaw-dropping selection of world-famous art casually adorning the walls. It all started in 1920 when local farmer, Paul Roux, opened a café-cum-bar with rooms, where painters and literati sought refuge during WWII and often left their artwork as payment. Today, you can expect Provençal classics alongside a hearty wine list, enjoyed in front of works by Matisse, Braque, Léger, Calder and César, among many others.
Le Plongeoir, Nice
You’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of this truly one-of-a-kind restaurant that clings to a rocky, coastal outcrop, with a suspended walkway leading to a part of the restaurant above the waves. The menu stands up to the spectacular location, serving summery plates of marinated octopus, zucchini flowers, pan-seared tuna and Iberian ham. A meal here is one of life’s pinch-yourself moments – if you’re looking to pull out the romantic stops, you can’t do better than this.
A brand-new restaurant landing on Cannes’ famed Boulevard de la Croisette this summer, this fine-dining Greek restaurant, under the helm of Athens-born Head Chef Yiannis Kiorogolou, has just opened in Paris – and it’s already got people talking. Drawing on the convivial dinners of his youth, Kioroglou evokes holiday memories via sun-drenched plates showcasing a fondness for his homeland. In his words: “We have an international approach to cooking; one that respects Greek roots and creates dishes with soul”. Note the spectacular terrazzo floors and traditional wall sconces courtesy of female-led design studio Cousi Interiorismo. This is some of the best Greek cuisine outside of the country.
Eden-Roc Grill, Antibes
This sprawling terrace with views across the sea is one of Antibes’ most iconic summer spots. Join a chic Euro set who make a pilgrimage here each year to dine on an eclectic menu spanning traditional Mediterranean fare alongside international favourites. We particularly like the fish bar for its melt-in-the-mouth ceviche, carpaccio and tartare. Follow with the likes of cod with Provençal aioli, morel and asparagus pasta, angus entrecôte, pea risotto or vitello tonnato. There are few better places to enjoy a sun-kissed, rosé-fuelled lunch.
Italian glamour and 1950s jazz arrive on the French Riviera thanks to this intimate restaurant and piano bar from Chef Géraldine Rapp. A newbie on the scene, it’s set to become one of Cannes’ most favoured spots; chic crowds are already sipping bellinis and swaying to the melodic jazz rhythms that pulse through Lalique-glass decor. Order red-tuna tartare, truffle linguine, veal Milanese and plenty of dolce, washed down with Luigi’s signature espresso martinis which will keep you dancing late into the night.
Le César, Antibes
Located on the edge of sandy Keller Beach, this panoramic restaurant with views across the Bay of Angels serves top-notch French and Mediterranean cuisine featuring plenty of local specialities. Head Chef Olivier Condat favours seasonal produce and fresh seafood, sending out plates such as linguine with shellfish bisque sauce, bouillabaisse, octopus salad and their signature spaghetti flamed with brandy. Arrive early for a long, lazy beach day and stick around for post-lunch sundowners.
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