»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Antibes restaurant Le Vauban, French riviera
Oct 11th, 2009 by Olivier

Restaurant Le Vauban
7 bis rue Thuret 06600 Antibes
France

Le Vauban

Le Vauban

Le Vauban

Le Vauban seemed to be the perfect place for enjoying the last evening in the French riviera before going back to London after almost a month of vacation. The restaurant has already been reviewed (first long review here) at the end of June so this review will be shorter.

We ordered 3 menus at 27 euros plus a 37.5 ml bottle of red wine (an excellent Bouverie – 13 euros) and a bottle of sparkling water (4.50 euros). The menu at 27 euros gives you the choice between 3 starters, 3 main courses and 3 desserts.
They also have a menu découverte (discovery menu) with a first starter, a second starter, a fish, a meat and a dessert for 39 euros or 58 euros with 4 matching glasses of wine. It is fully a discovery menu as they do not tell you what you are going to eat. Of course you can tell them what you do not want, like if you have some restriction on foods you can eat. I will try that menu next time if I feel brave.

Melon and  tapenade as pre-starters

Melon and tapenade as pre-starters

Pieces of melon in its juice

Pieces of melon in its juice

Before the starters arrived, we were served a little glass of pieces of water melon in their juice. It was quite good and a refreshing way of starting the dinner after being out in the heat (still around 27 degrees) during the day.

Cream of potato with oysters & saffron

Cream of potato with oysters & saffron

Tartare of salmon

Tartare of salmon

Foie gras

Foie gras

My friends had a cold soup of potato cream with oysters and saffron, and a tartare of salmon. Both were good and nicely presented. I had  foie gras which was excellent. The slice does not look big in the picture above but actually it is quite a large piece. It was smooth and nicely seasoned. It came with a little glass of strawberry mousse (at the left) and a ball of icecream (at the right).

Fish meal

Fish meal

Scallops with cream

Scallops with cream

Close-up of the scallops

Close-up of the scallops

Magret de canard

Magret de canard

The main meals got great feedback as well. I do not remember the kind of fish as I was busy with my own plate of magret de canard. I will have to ask. The magret tasted very good and was perfectly cooked, being slightly red while the fat outside was crispy. The mashed potato between the slices was mixed with truffles. The sauce was a little sweet (not oversweet), making this dish light. I did not have the scallops but I wish I ordered them! They were served with a very creamy sauce, almost too creamy for my friend. For me, it would not have been a problem since I like anything creamy or buttery, well I am into the typical classical French cuisine :-)

Panna cotta

Panna cotta

Between the main course and the dessert we all got a little cup of panna cotta. It was a small and rich, with a nice texture. A good pre-dessert.

Cooked apple

Cooked apple

Chocolate biscuit

Chocolate biscuit

The desserts were great, especially the chocolate biscuit which two of us chose. It was a kind of light and smooth chocolate mousse between thin and crispy biscuit. I am not really into chocolate but this dessert was truly fantastic. The other dessert was a cooked apple but looked a little like Mickey mouse with its biscuits stuck on it. I did not pay much attention to it since my dessert desserved all my attention ;-)

Cost and conclusion: it was 98.50 euros. An excellent value for money, a good dinner and a nice surrounding. The service was attentive and discret. What else to ask? Highly recommended!

Next to the walls in Antibes

Next to the walls in Antibes

Restaurant San Cezari Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne, France
Oct 8th, 2009 by Olivier

Restaurant San Cezari
4 Place de la Tour
06530 Saint Cézaire sur Siagne
France

Restaurant San Cezari

Henri the boxer

Henri the boxer

Watching a stick in the river

Watching a stick in the river

We might be well into October but it feels like summer with around 27 degrees during the day and the sun still hits hard when gardening or hiking, especially for the dog, Henri the boxer, who’s enjoying the village of Saint Cézaire, mostly its river la Siagne. The river is the only way for him to cope with this heat. Just as well he loves to swim!

San Cezari

San Cezari

This is a “revisit” (actually I went there often when I lived in this village while working at Mougins/Sophia-Antipolis, but it has been reviewed only once since I started the blog) of the restaurant San Cezari located in Saint Cézaire as its name suggests. There are several restaurants in the village but this is the most central, next to the church.

They cover a wide range of dishes from meat to pizza but considering the hot weather, pizza looked good so we ordered two pizzas, a Provençale made of mozarella, aubergine, tomato, garlic (11 euros) and a Calzone 4 fromages  (folded pizza with 4 cheeses – 14 euros). As drinks we had two Perrier (5 euros).

Pizza Provençale

Pizza Provençale

Delicious toppings

Delicious toppings

Very thin pizza base

Very thin pizza base

The pizza Provençale was very good. I really like thin pizza base allowing you to taste all the ingredients and the toppings here were excellent. I was still feeling very light after eating it despite the size of this pizza. As said in the previous review, I like their very efficient pizza knife. More pizzerias should adopt them!

Pizza Calzone

Pizza Calzone

The pizza Calzone was also quite good. This pizzeria uses quite a strong cheese in its toppings, not just the usual mozarella. Whilst that can be nice, it can also be a little heavy so you need to be in the right mood. I was, and the pizza was very good.

Cost and conclusion:  it was 30 euros service charge included. The dinner was nice, but I find the prices high, especially 14 euros for just a pizza when for 17 euros you can get a 3 course lunch at le Vauban in Antibes. At least the service was friendly and the place quite relaxing.

Some photos of Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne:

The superb panoramic view

The superb panoramic view

Nice olive tree. The village is famous for its excellent olive oil.

Nice olive tree. The village is famous for its excellent olive oil.

The fountain

The fountain

Old public wash-house (lavoir)

Old public wash-house (lavoir)

Restaurant La Renaissance 83470 Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Var, France
Oct 6th, 2009 by Olivier

Restaurant La Renaissance
6 place Malherbe, Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume
83470 France

La Renaissance

La Renaissance

La Renaissance

Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume (St Maximin to be short) is a town located in the Var département. It is close to Aix-en-Provence (35km), Marseille (45km) and Toulon (50km) where you can get from London-Stansted if you dare to fly with Ryanair. The town is famous for its old basilica (its construction begun in 1295) dedicated to Mary Magdalene. La Renaissance restaurant is in the center of the town, next to the basilica by the way, in the Place Malherbe where ruins of the Roman Villa Lata have been found beneath it.

We were five at the restaurant. We ordered one pichet de vin (6.50 euros), one salade de poulpes (échalottes, câpres, cornichons, huile d’olives – octopus salad with shallots, capers, pickles, olive oil – 12 euros), one salade de St Jacques tièdes (salade, St Jacques, noix, tomates, oeuf – salad with warm scallops, nuts, tomatoes, egg – 13.50 euros), one tagliatelles carbonara (11.50 euros), two St Jacques à la provençale (scallops with parsley, garlic, tomato – 27 euros), one coca cola (3.10 euros), one crème brûlée (5.50 euros), one profiteroles (5.50 euros), one Baba au rhum (4.90 euros) and three coffees (4.50 euros).

Other interesting meals were the magret de canard au vinaigre de vin au jus de framboise (duck breast with wine vinegar and raspberry juice), magret de canard aux morilles (duck breast with morel mushrooms), entrecôte sauce aux cèpes (steak with with mushroom sauce), tagliatelles Pistou (garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil), salade de scampis à l’indienne (salad, cherry tomatoes, fried prawns  tandoori way, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, egg), salade de melon (lettuce, melon, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, feta, egg), salade du berger (lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, fried peppers, cucumbers, goat cheese, mushrooms), andouillette sauce moutarde à l’ancienne (mild pork sausage with mustard sauce), alouette sans tête à l’ancienne (no, it is not a headless lark but rolled veal scallops with tomato, garlic), gambas grillées à l’ail et basilic (grilled prawns with garlic and basil), truite aux amandes (trout with almonds) or the cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs, if you are into them. I am not!). 

Salade de St Jacques tièdes

Salade de St Jacques tièdes

Salade de poulpes

Salade de poulpes

Tagliatelles Carbonara

Tagliatelles Carbonara

St Jacques à la provençale

St Jacques à la provençale

Everyone was happy with their meals. Good news! We were a little worried as the town gets plenty of tourists because of  the Christian pilgrimage to the basilica but the restaurant was quite good. Personally I had the salade de St Jacques tièdes (first photo). The salad was very fresh and crispy and it did not come too cold. This happens often with salads staying too long in the fridge. I believe mine was made upon request. The scallops were excellent, coming warm and nicely seasoned.

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

Profiteroles

Profiteroles

Baba au rhum

Baba au rhum

The desserts were also good. I had the rum baba/baba au rhum which was nice. It was well soaked in rum (as you can see in the photo above) so only order it if you are into alcohol!

Cost and conclusion: it was 94 euros and we were 5. Not a bad value for money considering the quality of the food and the central location of the restaurant. Highly recommended if you are in the area!

Some photos of the Sainte Madeleine (Mary Magdalene) basilica:

The entrance

The entrance

Beautiful organ

Beautiful organ

L’Auberge Provençale (restaurant) Place des Arcades, 06550 Valbonne France
Oct 1st, 2009 by Olivier

L’Auberge Provençale
Place des Arcades, Valbonne
06550 France

L’Auberge Provençale

The Place des Arcades in Valbonne. The restaurant is at the right.

The Place des Arcades in Valbonne. The restaurant is at the right.

The Place des Arcades full of restaurants

The Place des Arcades full of restaurants

L'Auberge Provençale

L'Auberge Provençale

L’Auberge Provençale is a restaurant located in the heart of the old village of Valbonne. Valbonne is a great place full of restaurants. It is very residential too, and many of the people working at the nearby high-tech park of Sophia Antipolis (Amadeus booking system, Toyota design centre etc are based there for example) live in the area. I know the area quite well as I used to go there at least once a week when I worked in Mougins.

Well, things have changed as it was not possible to order a pizza at the Auberge Provençale a few years ago. Now we can, so we ordered a pizza Calzone (11.50 euros) and “une Formule” which includes the meal of the day or a salad and a dessert (13.50 euros). We chose the salade niçoise. The dessert for the formule was a red fruit tart. I also had a Cafe gourmand including a coffee of course but also 3 little desserts (5 euros). As drink we had a 1/4 pitcher of red wine (4 euros).

Big salade niçoise

Big salade niçoise

Huge pizza Calzone

Huge pizza Calzone

Close-up

Close-up

The salad niçoise was pretty good. The salad leaves were nice and crispy and the salad had plenty of variety. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the salad dressing though, so whilst still good, it wasn’t the best salad niçoise I had this week. There were also anchovies in this version, which I don’t much like (I forgot to ask for these to be withheld) so I did have to pick my way around them. The pizza Calzone was huge and quite dense. Do not order it if you have a small appetite! It was perfectly cooked with a slightly burnt crispy base. Often the calzone is full of air and then looks small once you break the shell but here the pizza was full of cheese, ham and  mushrooms. It was quite compact! The egg was good, not overcooked as can happen with this type of folded pizza.

Café gourmand

Café gourmand

Raspberry tart

Raspberry tart

The desserts were excellent. The red fruit tart was far from being too sweet, and even was a little on the sour side (which I quite like), and its base was firm and crispy. It had a home-made quality, and was a nice end to the lunch. The Café gourmand was great: the coffee was fine, the coconut biscuit light, the crème brûlée very good (presented warm with a crispy caramelised top) and the crumble (warm) was nice as well.

Cost and conclusion: it was 34 euros, not bad for a good lunch in a very pleasant place. The service was friendly and efficient. We had worried a little on arrival, as it was obvious that the ownership had changed since we were last here, but we worried for no reason. Although different, l’Auberge Provençale is still very good and we will return again. Recommended if you’re in the area.

A Jack Russel napping in the sun

A Jack Russel napping in the sun

Nice fountain (a minute walk from the restaurant)

Nice fountain (a minute walk from the restaurant)

Restaurant La Gravette Antibes, France
Sep 27th, 2009 by Olivier

Restaurant La Gravette
48 boulevard Aguillon, Antibes
06600 France
Phone: 04 93 34 18 60
Closed on Tuesday

La Gravette

Antibes - le Fort Carré

Antibes - le Fort Carré

La Gravette

La Gravette

La Gravette is a restaurant located at the entrance of the old town of Antibes, right behind les vieux murs (the old walls) separating the town from the harbour. You cannot miss this location as it is reserved for pedestrians only and very touristic. Fortunately La Gravette is not a tourist trap. It has actually been there for over 50 years and owned by the same family (second and third generation now). With such beautiful and warm weather we decided to eat on the terrace. It is quite large and there is a good amount of space between the tables.

As its name suggests (la gravette is a fishing term, a kind of worm for catching fishes) this restaurant is specialised into fish. They do serve meat as well but fish is big in their menu.

We ordered a salade niçoise (11 euros) followed by the meal of the day which was a Saint Pierre fish – known as John Dory in English (14 euros) and a fromage blanc et son coulis de fruits rouges (white cheese with red fruits coulis) as dessert (5.50 euros). I had the 3 course menu at 26 euros offering several choices of the first and second courses and the dessert. I chose the tarte fine à la tomate et basilic avec salade verte (thin tart with tomato and basil, with green salad) as starter. The main course was the loup grillé (grilled seabass) au fenouil and the dessert was a tarte tatin tiède glace vanille et chantilly. To drink I had a (very good) glass of rosé Côte de Provence AOC (3 euros). The basket of bread and the cold bottle of tap water were complementary.

Other interesting meals we could have chosen were the noix de St jacques et ses tagliatelles de légumes à la provençale (scallops – 22 euros), la bouillabaisse individuelle avec ses croûtons et sa rouille (22 euros), gambas à la provençale (22 euros), Merlu grillé ou meunière et son beurre à l’ail (Cod like fish like the hake grilled with garlic butter – 22 euros). As desserts the fromage de chèvre frais à l’huile d’olive (fresh goat cheese with olive oil – 5.50 euros) and the Crème catalane (lemon and cinamon cream – 8 euros) were original.

Tarte fine à la tomate et basilic

Tarte fine à la tomate et basilic

Salade niçoise

Salade niçoise

The salade niçoise was very good indeed. The salad was very nice, crisp and fresh, with with a good accompaniment of sliced boiled eggs and tuna. Everything in just the right proportions and nicely seasoned. Really difficult to find any fault with this dish. The thin tart with tomato and basil was simple but excellent. The base was very light and warm, and the tomatos were tasty.

Saint Pierre fish fillets

Saint Pierre fish fillets

Loup grillé au fenouil

Loup grillé au fenouil

The Saint Pierre fillets were also good. This is a firmly textured white fish, that does well just lightly fried in a bit of butter – as was the case with the fillets that arrived on the plate. They were seasoned with a variety of herbs and tomato, and accompanied by a boiled new potato and an assortment of vegetables. After the big starter, this light dish was very enjoyable, and I wouldn’t hestitate to return and try it again. The loup grillé was great. The waiter brought the fish out whole after it was cooked, then asked if I wanted to have it filleted (i.e. your choice of presentation), which I accepted since I was not in the mood to deal with fish bones. It was a nice meal, and healthy too!

Tarte tatin

Tarte tatin

Fromage blanc et son coulis de fruits rouges

Fromage blanc et son coulis de fruits rouges

For anyone not into too-sweet desserts, the white cheese with coulis is the perfect answer. On appearances alone, I worried for a moment that the coulis was going to be too sweet, but I worried needlessly. It was still tart to the tastebuds, but with just enough sweetness to make it an easily consumable dessert, and set off nicely the slight bitterness of the white cheese. An excellent dessert that I would return to this restaurant just to have again. The tarte tatin was delicious. It arrived warm and the cooked apples had a light caramelised flavour. It was not too sweet. The ice cream, on the other side, was quite average.

Good coffee

Good coffee

Cost and conclusion: it was 63.50 euros, including the two good cups of coffee (4 euros). La Gravette is not a gastronomic restaurant by any means, but it is an excellent local fish restaurant providing simple, fresh and tasty dishes. The value for money is good and there is even a 3 course menu for 19 euros which is very well priced. The location is excellent, same for the friendly service. Highly recommended if you are in the area!

Some photos of Antibes:

The marché provençal on Sunday

The marché provençal on Sunday

You can walk on the walls

You can walk on the walls

View of the restaurant from the walls. At the right the marina.

View of the restaurant from the walls. At the right the marina.

The marina in Antibes

The marina in Antibes

Interesting narrow building in the Old Antibes

Interesting narrow building in the Old Antibes


»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
© 2010 Trusted-Gourmet.com