From my perspective, there are two standout restaurants in the South of France: the Mirazur in Menton and the Auberge de Vieux Puits in the Corbieres. These two restaurants stand as bookends - both physically and figuratively - to the other restaurants in South France. The South France and Provence has such a diverse range of good food and seasonal ingredients that you would think that the region would be awash with great restaurants. But with all the good Chefs heading off to Paris and London, you often have to search hard to find a good place to eat. Here is our selection of the best South France restaurants we have eaten at recently.
Best South of France restaurants
Here is our selection of the best South France restaurants for you to eat at during your stay in the South of France.
#1 Best South France restaurants: Mirazur restaurant Menton
The Mirazur restaurant has just been named in the Top 10 best restaurants in the World (coming in at 6th place). The Mirazur is run by the celebrated chef Italian-Argentinian chef, Mauro Colagreco. Since the Mirazur opened in 2006 it has gained 2 Michelin stars and Colagreco has been voted Chef of the Year. The restaurant is situated on the hill side above Menton and from the large terrace you can enjoy excellent panoramic views over the Bay of Garavan. The Mirazur restaurant grows all its own vegetables and herbs in the gardens surrounding the restaurant. Legend has it that Chef Colagreco uses over 250 different types of herbs in his menu recipes. Mauro Colagreco's signature dish is his Langoustines in a Dashi Broth, as well his Gamberoni di San Remo, which uses the fresh prawns reared on the nearby Italian Ligurian coast. Without a shadow of a doubt the Mirazur is the best restaurant in Menton, it is also clearly the best restaurant in the South of France and its growing reputation has it challenging the restaurants of Lyon and Paris for the title of the best restaurant in France. For more information on the Mirazur restaurant please read our article on Mauro Colagreco's Mirazur restaurant Menton France.
You will find the Mirazur restaurant at 30 avenue Aristide Briand, Menton, France. For reservations either call (+33 4 92 41 86 86) or email a reservation to Mirazur Menton.
#2 Best South France restaurants: Auberge du Vieux Puits
If you love excellent food and wine, then there can be no finer restaurant in the South of France than the Auberge du Vieux Puits. This Michelin star restaurant is run by the celebrated French chef, Gilles Goujon; and it has just received its 3rd Michelin star award. The Auberge du Vieux Puits is located in the Corbieres area of the Languedoc region. It may be a fair way to travel, but the definition of 3 Michelin stars is that it is a restaurant "that you should make a special trip to visit". The Auberge du Vieux Puits is connected to a small hotel where you can stay. But be warned, if you are expecting this restaurant to be in a main population centre, then you are going to be in a big surprise. The restaurant is located on the back street of a small hamlet, 5 miles to the nearest village. Yes that is right. The restaurant may not be exactly at the end of the World, but you can certainly see the end of the World from the restaurant. I can not recommend this restaurant highly enough. The food, the service, the wine, the cheese were all excellent. We visited this restaurant a couple of years ago with some French friends and we still talk about the experience to this day. See our article on Auberge du Vieux Puits for more details.
You will find Auberge du Vieux Puits at 5 Avenue Saint-Victor, Fontjoncouse, France. Tel: +33 04 68 44 07 37
#3 Best South of France restaurants: The Olivier restaurant, Le Mas du Langoustier, Porquerolles Island
The beautiful island of Porquerolles is located just off the coast of the French Riviera, close to Hyeres and Toulon. The island is a national park and conservation area, where cars and further development are both prohibited. To me Porquerolles reminds me a bit of Martha's Vineyard, with wild windswept beaches, a lack of cars and people just chilling out. The best way of reaching Porquerolles is by boat from Toulon or from Hyeres (the TLV-TVM boat from La Tour Fondue). The Olivier restaurant at the Le Mas du Langoustier hotel complex, has a well-earned reputation for some the best Provençal and Mediterranean cuisine on the French Riviera. The menus at this Michelin star restaurant start from €65 - basically if you can afford to stay at the Mas du Langoustier, then you are not going to worry about the cost of the restaurant. But given its privileged location and the high quality of its food, then that is a price worth paying for a truly memorable experience.
You will find the Olivier restaurant at Mas du Langoustier, Ile de Porquerolles, 83400, Porquerolles Island, France. Tel: +33 4 94 58 30 09
#4 Best South France restaurants: La Bastide de St Antoine, Grasse
Jacques Chibois' Michelin star restaurant, La Bastide St Antoine, is located in the heart of Provence close to Grasse. La Bastide is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Provence. The restaurant is located in a lovely old-style Provencal country house, surrounded by an olive grove. La Bastide St Antoine restaurant is a member of the Les Grandes Tables du Monde association, which covers 170 of the World's top restaurants across 24 countries. La Bastide St Antoine restaurant has a 3 course lunch menu at €63. The evening dinner menu includes a 6 course menu from €178 and a 10 course menu from €198. Jacques Chibois is fiercely proud of the French culinary heritage and especially of the local dishes of Provence. He has written two best-selling cook books: "La Provence comme on l’aime" and "Saveurs et parfums de l’huile d’Olive" which contain many of his celebrated dishes such as pan-fried foie gras escalopes with artichoke cream and roast veal fillet with truffle potatoes. Chibois obtained 2 Michelin stars for La Bastide Saint Antoine restaurant and the Michelin judges noted that " . . .his flavourful, aromatic and light cuisine lifts the spirits and delights in the heart of Provence . . .".
You will find La Bastide St Antoine at 48 avenue Henri-Dunant, Grasse, Provence, France. For reservations call +33 04 93 70 94 94.
# 5 Best restaurants South of France: Le Pesculine, Bargemon
The Pescalune restaurant situated in the lovely Provencal town of Bargemon, was opened in 2008 and has built an enviable reputation as one of the best small restaurants in Provence. Situated in a former florist shop, the inside of the restaurant measures just 4m x 10m, with all the eating located outside on the terrace in front of the restaurant and overlooking the small square and fountain. The owner, head chef and Maitre D' is Viginie Martinetti. Martinetti, is an award winning young chef, thriving in the male-dominated restaurant world. In 2013, she won the final of the coveted French Top Chef TV programme (equivalent to Master Chef). The Pescalune restaurant recently achieved its first inclusion in the 2016 Michelin guide. But at this moment of triumph for Martinetti, tragedy struck as she fractured her arm in a freak accident. The restaurant is due to reopen in 2017 and I will be making sure I plan in another visit. Get well soon Virginie!!
You will find La Pescalune restaurant at 13, rue de la Résistance BARGEMON, Provence, France. For reservations, please telephone + 33 06 29 94 66 64
#6 Best South France restaurants: Colombe d’Or restaurant in St Paul de Vence
The Colombe d’Or restaurant in St Paul de Vence, France, is a 95 year old French restaurant that has attracted an impressive list of famous guests. During the 1950's, La Colombe d’Or restaurant attracted a loyal following from artists and actors, such as Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, the Spanish artist, Joan Miro; the French film star, Yves Montand; Fernan Leger, Georges Braque and the American sculptor, Alexander Calder. Yves Montand married his bride, the film actress Simone Signoret, at La Colombe d’Or in 1951. Since the 1950's La Colombe d’Or restaurant has continued welcome a whole series of famous visitors, including the actors Roger Moore, Michael Caine and Marlon Barndo; the American singer, Harry Belafonte; U2 frontman, Bono; Victoria and David Beckham, Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Madonna, Sting, Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones; and the American actress, Lynsey Lohan.
La Colombe d’Or restaurant was opened by Paul Roux and his wife Titine in 1920 as a fairly humble café bar. What made La Colombe d’Or distinct was Paul Roux's passion for art. He cultivated friendships with many local articists, many of whom contributed art works to be displayed in the restaurant (including a piece by Picasso).
La Colombe d'Or restaurant in St Paul de Vence continues to be the coolest place to hang out on the French Riviera. The Roux family continues to run the Colombe d’Or hotel. The Hotel is located on the edge of St-Paul de Vence and prices for the rooms varies between €250 to €430 (depending on the season and size of the room).
The food at the Colombe d'Or is traditionnal French cuisine, with a Mediterranean feel. The main restaurant seats approximately seventy people, with space for a further thirty people in a private dining room. During the summer the beautiful garden terrace can accommodate one hundred diners.
You can find La Colombe d'Or restaurant at Place du Général de Gaulle, 06800 Vence, France. For reservations call 33 4 93 32 80 02.
#7 Best restaurants South France: Les Palmiers restaurant, Pezenas
Les Palmiers restaurant in Pezenas, South France is the best mid-priced restaurans in this historic town. The restaurant is set in a great location in an open-air courtyard in the heart of the old streets of Pezenas. The beautiful old town of Pezenas is located in the heart of the Languedoc region, surrounded by vineyards and close to the Mediterranean sea. At Les Palmiers, you literally dine out under the stars, beneath 3 huge cream canopies strung in between the two adjoining properties.
You will find Les Palmiers at 10 bis Rue Merciere, Pezenas, France. Tel: +33 4 67 09 42 56
#8 Best restaurants South of France: Auberge de La Croisade
The renowned gourmet restaurant of Auberge de La Croisade is situated by the side of the Canal du Midi in the village of La Croisade. The Auberge offers a very good value leisurely lunch menu and the setting is top class with views across the valley of the Aude to the Pyrenees. The menu is surprisingly well priced and uses only fresh local produce. The wine list features many local wines from the Corbières, St Chinian and the Minervois. The head chef was trained at the Hôtel Crillon in Paris and at the Dorchester and Claridges in London. The Auberge is located in a converted Canal workers' building and was opened in 1993. Youcan either sit in the beautifully restored dining room or in the conservatory, overlooking the Canal. Druing the summer there is a shady terrace with fantastic views. La Croisade is a small village situated between the villages of Cruzy and Ouveillan. Auberge de La Croisade is located 17 km north of Narbonne, 23 km west of Béziers and 50 km east of Carcassonne. It is situated ninety minutes by boat along the Canal du Midi from Capestang or Le Somail, and can be reached on foot or by bicycle along the towpath from Capestang or Argellersd. The Auberge is open all year, apart from ten days in late November and three weeks in February. The restaurant is very popular with locals and you are advised to book in advance. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Thursday to Sunday inclusive and closed ou Tuesdays.
You will find Auberge de La Croisade at Port Sériège, Hameau de la Croisade, 34310 CRUZY. Tel: +33 04 67 89 36 36.
#9 Best restaurants South France: Le Mayssa Beach restaurant Villefranche-sur-Mer
I have included La Mayassa beach restaurant in the list of Best South France restaurants because of its superb seaside location in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Villefranche is located just next to Nice in a sweeping bay. With fine views over the Mediterranean sea, you are not going to find a better location for lunch or an evening meal. Le Mayssa restaurant is noted for its seafood cooked in French Mediterranean style. The seared tuna and the carpaccio of scallops are delicious.
#10 Best South France restaurant: La Villa Madie, Cassis
La Villa Madie is a 2 Michelin star French restaurant situated in a modern building in Cassis, with a panoramic views across the sea. The restaurant is run by the dynamic young couple of Marielle & Dimitri Droisneau. Marielle is in charge of the front of house and Dimitri is the award winning chef. La Villa Madie is located on the eastern side of Cassis, just underneath the enormous cliffs that frame the town. From the long bay windows inside the restaurant, you can enjoy fabulous views all year round and the large terrace is the perfect place to eat during the summer months, with the sea just below and the dramatic cliffs of Cap Canaille as your backdrop.
The cooking at La Villa Madie restaurant in Cassis is high-end gourmet food. The menus range from a 4 course menu at €75 and an 8 course signature menu at €215. Dimitri Droisneau's signature dishes include Grilled Mediterranean Royal Lobster with a Saffron Broth and Rabbit and Palamos Prawns with a Provencal sauce.
The La Villa Madie restaurant Cassis is open from Wednesday to Saturday, for lunch and dinner. Please note that there is a formal dress code at the restaurant, for men this means no shorts or sandals. Bookings for lunch are taken for between 12.00 to 13.15. Evening reservations are taken from 19.00 to 21.15.
You will find La Villa Madie at Avenue de Revestel-anse de Corton, 13260 Cassis, France. For reservations call +33 04 96 18 00 00 or consult the website La Villa Madie Cassis French restaurant
Where to next . . . ?
- Read our review on the Michelin star Mirazur restaurant Menton France .
- See our reviews on the Best beach restaurants in South France to visit.
- Read our review on the incredible Auberge de Vieux Puits restaurant run by Gilles Goujon
Contact Iain by Email or by phone +33 6 95 00 28 44 if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about visiting the South of France. If you liked the article then please share it with others using the Twitter, Facebook and G+ buttons below. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France.