The pinnacle of the Cannes restaurant sphere is La Palme d’Or, widely regarded as one of the top restaurants along the Riviera coast. During the film festival it’s packed with the glitterati and getting a table without doing some name-dropping can be difficult. For the other 50 weeks of the year, though, anyone can enjoy La Palme’s culinary delicacies. You’ll immediately see where the Michelin stars come from here, as the entire experience is high class from the greeting at the door to the end of the evening. The wine menu is impressive and the sommelier is quick to help those who aren’t as familiar with French wines, and the many-coursed meals are everything you would expect from a restaurant that seamlessly combines innovation with classic French techniques. It’s not cheap, but when else are you going to eat food like this with wine like this and a view of the Mediterranean like this?
A less dressy and expensive place to get high quality French fare is Côté Jardin, a warm and inviting restaurant with a peaceful garden terrace. Set away from La Croisette, this is the kind of place where you only see locals or visitors that are in the know dining in. The chef creatively incorporates ingredients that taste like they came straight from the farm into a modern take on Provençal cuisine. The prices are very reasonable, especially compared with some of the other places in town, and the dress code is a bit more casual as well.
A more traditional take on Provençal cooking can be found at La Mère Besson, a sweet and homey family-run restaurant that can serve as a nice respite from the glamour of La Croisette. It’s a lively and fun place to sit, try the hearty dishes that change every day of the week, and chat with the locals.
Another mid-range (pricewise) French restaurant is Gaston et Gastounette. Located near the Vieux Port (Old Port) and featuring a enviable view of the harbor, the focus of this place is all ocean. The can’t-miss dish here is the famous bouillabaise, a French dish featuring several different types of seafood in one delicious stew that also features flavors like fennel, orange peel, and garlic. It’s the best way to try the bounty of the Mediterranean in one big bowl, and in Cannes, this is the place to do it. Plenty of other seafood dishes, both French and international fusion, also grace the menu.
[photo courtesy of stu_spivack]