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provence/cote d'azur restaurant suggestions

broad topic- but looking for recommendations in any of the following areas:
looking for great finds and great experiences - not necessarily michelin-starred restaurants.

ramatuelle / st. tropez
cassis
gordes and environs
aix-en-provence
vieux nice

Thanks all -

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  1. I enjoyed a meal several years ago at Le Sucrier in Vieil Antibes. Very small and intimate. http://www.lesucrier.com/fr/ Other posters have recommended this as well, as I discovered when I searched on the name.

    I also enjoyed the early morning market in the old center, but I particularly enjoyed a bakery called La Ancienne something. The bakery had a variation of a fougasse (or pissaladiere?) made with several different fillings and cut into strips (I can't remember what the owner called it.) I do remember it was delicious and unique. Sorry to be vague about the shop name, but I can't find my notes. It was a very small boulangerie, and I think they actually baked there (not just a sales shop). There was the implication of traditional or ancient methods of bread making in store name. I just found a map of the visit, and I think the bakery was on Rue Sade, very near the Place Nationale (sp?) and Musee Peynet. I also found some blogs of people in the area, which are interesting. google SAYA or Moonbeam together with Antibes.
    Good luck.

    1. in Vieux Nice a couple must eat places:

      Le Tire Bouchon for dinner
      La Voglia for lunch
      Le Safari for lunch
      Arrachiadda for dinner

      1. In Vieux Nice, imho La Merenda and L'Ane Rouge are not only delicious places to eat, but traditional Niçoise food. And Bar Rene Socca for socca!

        2 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          In Vieux Nice for lunch: L'Escalinada. The gnocchi is awesome, and if you're adventuresome, ask for the porchetta--a slice of an enormous "sausage" with many different organs. It's delicious. My waiter heard our American accents and tried to steer us away from it, but we were bold, and the bravery paid off: excellent.

          The New York TImes had a great piece about Nicoise cuisine, where we found the recommendation:

          http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/...

          1. re: Robstan

            also Cafe Juliette and a proper spelling for Acchiardo, my mistake.

        2. If you want to venture out of the Vieux Nice, I highly recommend "La Zucca Magica" (the magic gourd). It's right at the Port of Nice, in the far left corner if you were facing the harbor from the sea. It's vegetarian Italian, with a jovial chef/owner named Marco. So, if you want to try something other than French food, give this place a try. Excellent food, with a set menu.

          1. Les 2 Freres in Aix was a really fine stop for us. (Caution: I am not talking about Les 2 Cousines or Les 2 Amis).

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/432409

            http://www.les2freres.com/

            1. I would also like to suggest dinner at Auberge Bourrelly, in Calas, about five minutes out of Aix and five minutes from the Aix TGV station. This is an old-time country restaurant serving Provencale food with local ingredients. Nothing earth-shattering, just fine food, reasonably priced in a serene setting.

              http://www.bourrelly.com/aixenprovenc...

              1. people I trust converge in saying that the Mirazur in Menton is a wonderful restaurant, a star to be of the World gastroonomic scene. I will try it whenever I am in the area.

                1. The only great restaurant in Aix is Le Closerie de la Violette.
                  On the Edge of Gordes is Les Imbrts. I love dining in the beautiful garden of the Mas De Touteron.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: cigalechanta

                    I had a meal at La Closerie de la Violette perhaps ten years ago. I recall it as being wonderful, though expensive. I suggested Les 2 Freres as something more cutting edge.

                    1. re: famdoc

                      In Vieux Nice, I love La Merenda and like Lou Pistou (same block). I always return to La Merenda for its simplicity, reliability and value and because its food seems right for Nice.

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        I also love La Merenda, but unless things have changed lately, there is no telephone, and with only 36 seats, you must have a reservation. This means you have to stop by and make the res in person.

                        Fortunately, it's not far from Auer, and you can go over there and get a treat of some of their fab glaceed fruit.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          if you are going to Auer, get the chocolated covered almonds. they have a sugar crust over the almonds before they are dipped in the chocolate and rolled in coco.

                  2. in veux nice I like La Ville de Sienne. they have a great rabbit dish covered with a layer of potatoes. they serve it for two people only. For Fruits de mer (shell fish) Le cafe de turin. They have great oysters and the best jumbo shrimp I ever had, then or since. Enjoy with a glass of house rose. YUM.

                    1. Just returned from a three week to France including Paris, Provence, & Riviera. The main focus of the trip was food and wine, and we enjoyed some memorable meals including Pierre Gagnierre in Paris, Le Feniere in Lourmarin, & Joel Robuchon in Monte Carlo. However, all of us (3 couples) agreed that our most memorable experience was at a new restaurant on the western edge of Cassis near the picturesque vineyards of Clos de Magdeline, called Villa Maddie. Breathtaking views, inventive and delicious cuisine, impeccable decor, linens, china, & stemware, a young enthusiastic staff, and a very comprehensive wine program combined to create a memorable three hour lunch. It is not cheap, but is a very good price/value relationship. I am certain that they will earn at least one Michelin star in the next edition (and based on what we experienced I would not be surprised if they open with two Michelin stars). If you are in the area, do not miss this unique place.

                      I would second the recommendation of La Merenda in Nice, although getting a table does take a little extra effort-but well worth it.

                      Also, between Monte Carlo and Nice is the quaint old village of Eze, and the picturesque cliffside terrace dining room of Chateau Eza. You must have a reservation before making the trek up to the restaurant, but you will be rewarded with memorable food and views. Only one odd experience there-when ordering an appertif of champagne for our party of four the sommelier showed me a list of champagnes with the cheapest priced at 195 Euros per bottle. I don't mind spending for wine, but I do not want to be forced into something. When I asked for the list of other champagnes, saying that we did not need a prestige cuvee, I was rudely told that this was all the champagne that they offered (two bottles at 195 Euros, several 200-300 Euros, and then many more up from there). I was frankly stunned. The restaurant's lunch menus were 39 and 49 Euros, so I would expect some reasonably priced champagnes (at least under 100 Euros). Since I was entertaining a business client, I felt that I had no choice but to order the 195 Euro bottle-it was good, but really made the overall check much more than I wanted to spend. In 100+ meals in top restaurants in France, this was a first and to this day I still shake my head when I think about it.

                      If you have a car, I also suggest driving about 1 hour out of Nice to Lorgues and Chez Bruno. If you like truffles this is a must do. The gregarious chef is known as the king of truffles, and his menu does not disappoint. In four courses I had more truffles than in the past decade. His signature dish of a baked potatoe with truffles sounds so simple, but is one of the most sublime and decadent plates I have ever experienced. If you are not into truffles, you won't enjoy this, but if you are it is incredible & surprisingly a good value considering just how much truffle (not to mention foie gras) you are served.

                      Enjoy your time in France!