Restaurant Le Vauban
7 bis rue Thuret 06600 Antibes
The old town of Antibes. You can see the tower of the Musée Picasso.
View of the Fort Carré in the evening. The marina is largest yachting harbour in Europe.
Antibes is a very pleasant town in the French riviera located between Nice and Cannes. From Nice airport it is about 10 minutes’ drive to get there. Of course, it depends on how crowded the roads are and during the summer things can get pretty busy. The port of Vauban, dominated by the Fort Carré, is the largest yachting harbour in Europe. You can admire some of the world’s biggest luxury yachts while walking there. If you have the time, visit the Cap d’Antibes where you can walk along the coast. You need to park your car at la Garoupe Parking and it is about a 2 hours walk along a coastal path between the sea and beautiful villas. The vegetation is very nice too with tall Aleppo pines.
The restaurant Le Vauban, named after the Marshall of France, Marquis de Vauban who designed the fortification of the Fort Carré (photo above), is quite discreet. It is easy to miss it in the street because there is no terrace and the door is closed because of the air conditioning so it is quiet inside, far from all the tourists. It is nicely decorated but more attention could be paid, for example some flowers were not that fresh, with some dead leaves on the ground.
We ordered the menu of the day at 19.95 euros and the Vauban menu at 27 euros. Both are set menus with several choices. The menu of the day gave a choice between the Tartare de foie gras aux mediants (duck liver) et jus de mangue or the saumon fumé (smoked salmon) et pousses de roquette as starters, between the Filet de lingue étuvée de fenouil (fish) or the Rôti de porc, purée de pommes de terre (pork with mashed potato) as main courses and between the Moelleux au chocolat or the Marinade de fraises as dessert. The Vauban menu offered a choice between 3 dishes for each course. As starters, you can choose between the Foie gras de canard cuit au torchon, confit d’ananas au poivre long or the Asperges blanches, saumon fumé, œuf de poule mollet et sauce hollandaise (white asparagus with smoked salmon and egg) or the Crème de pommes de terre au safran, huîtres et granité au citron (cream of potatoes with safran and oysters). As main courses the choice was between the Filet de daurade, niçoise de légumes, julienne de mange tout et jus de concombre (fish with vegetable and cucumber juice) or the Magret de canard, mousseline de haricots coco, cerises et croustillant de sésame (duck) or the Pavé de cabillaud, crème de petits pois, carottes fanes, et tomates confites (another fish). The choice for the dessert was between the Moelleux au chocolat et glace au yaourt (chocolate fondant with yogurt ice cream) or the Crémeux de mascarpone aux agrumes et chapeau de chocolat blanc or La fraise, en émulsion, en marinade et sorbet fruits rouge (strawberries with red fruits sorbet).
We also ordered a glass of wine (Côte de Provence – 5 euros) which was quite good and a bottle of sparkling water (4.50 euros).
To start, we both got a small plate with two small round pieces of melon in its juice. They were quite good, a nice way to start a lunch. They also provided some slices of a crispy bread cooked with olive oil (crostini) with a pot of caviar d’aubergine. It was quite fresh and tasty and I cannot help comparing it to the miserable tapenade and crostini I had to pay for at Terroirs in London. As in any decent French restaurant, we also had some bread with some butter that had a light lemon flavour. All this came at no charge.
The Crème de pommes de terre au safran, huîtres et granité au citron was excellent. It was like a Vichyssoise, so served cold, with two oysters and both of them wrapped by a cucumber. The Tartare de foie gras aux mediants et jus de mangue was very good too with a nice mix of flavours. It came with warm toast.
The Filet de daurade, niçoise de légumes, julienne de mange tout et jus de concombre was good but the vegetables (cougettes, aubergines, tomatoes cut in tiny bits and sautés) were a little on the greasy side despite the cucumber sauce. The fish itself was very well cooked with a nice taste. The Filet de lingue étuvée de fenouil was delicious with, again, a perfectly cooked fish.
Before dessert, we got some kind of little crème brûlée which was nice, with a good texture. It was complementary also. The Moelleux au chocolat was great, with a real deep chocolate taste while being light to eat. The vanilla ice cream was not too sweet. The fraise, en émulsion, en marinade et sorbet fruits rouge was average. There was a kind of red/pink biscuit with a pink (because of the strawberry) fresh cream inside at the left, a little pot with slices fresh strawberries in the middle and at the right a scoop of strawberry sorbet. I have to say it was very nicely presented but I think a sorbet with strawberries around it and with some fresh cream in a large nice plate would have been easier to eat.
Crème de pommes de terre au safran, huîtres et granité au citron
Tartare de foie gras aux mediants et jus de mangue
Filet de daurade, niçoise de légumes, julienne de mange tout et jus de concombre
Filet de lingue étuvée de fenouil
La fraise, en émulsion, en marinade
Moelleux au chocolat
Cost and conclusion: it was 56.45 euros service charge included, which is really not bad considering the quality of the meals and the fact you are in the old town of Antibes in the French riviera which is a top destination full of tourists. It is not one of these tourist trap restaurants with a terrasse and a steak frites menu starting at 13 euros for catching the tourists. It is an elegant place and obviously the chef does pay attention to the food. Having tried for years many restaurants in the area (I used to work in Mougins) I believe this is the best restaurant you can find in Antibes. Highly recommended!