This is a guest post by Ari Halper, esteemed gourmand and executive creative director at Grey New York.
By now you’ve already read about who will win at Cannes. You’ve probably even read about how to pack for Cannes. Now it’s time to get serious and talk about what really matters: where to eat in Cannes (according to The Ferocious Foodie, that is).
FF is my alter blogger ego, because working in advertising leaves me with way too much downtime on my hands.
Kidding aside, though, a lot of people have told me over the years that I have pretty good foodar (like gaydar, but for food) and, like most creative directors, I love throwing my opinions around with reckless abandon. So, here are my top picks for those rare moments during the week when you may want to put something in your mouth other than booze.
LE CHATEAU DE LA CHEVRE D’OR
6 Rue du Barri, 06260 Eze, France • +33 4 92 10 66 66 •
This is easily my favorite restaurant in the French Riviera and quite handily one of the best restaurants in the world, I don’t care what the Pellegrino Top 50 list says. When you take all things into account, nothing compares to this setting, perched high atop the castle town of Eze, you feel like royalty looking our over the Mediterranean with food preparations that double as works of art. The price is steep, but the experience is incomparable. If you can’t get a rezzy, or simply don’t have the coin, I also recommend coming just for a drink and a snack. Same great setting and you won’t need to pawn anything to foot the bill.
18 Rue Bivouac Napoleon, 06400 Cannes, France • 624 16 33 97
Located in a little alley very close to the Palais, this hard-to-find (save the purple awning) cafe kills it when it comes to salads. We’re talking salads so friggin’ good you could order them for dessert. Like the goat cheese tart and caramelized apple salad. I’ve never seen a place rock the lettuce like Cocoon. Trust me. You need this. But best of all, Cocoon is very per diem friendly, not to mention American friendly. That’s nice if you’re like me and never learned a second language.
5 rue Lafontaine 06400 Cannes, FR • 04 93 68 02 09 •
This is my favorite restaurant in Cannes proper. A sequel to Feu Follet (RIP), which some of you old time Cannes goers might recall, which was an amazing restaurant in Mougins back in 90’s and 00’s. But sadly it disappeared. Well, I am happy to report that chef Jean-Paul Battaglia is back with a vengeance still serving up the best risottos and soufflés I’ve ever had in my life.
3 quai Saint-Pierre 06400 Cannes, France • +33 4 93 39 22 56 •
One can only eat so much foie gras before one craves something else. First world problems are the worst. Well, unfortunately Vesuvio had become a shell of its former self as of late, but the good news is that La Pizza has picked up the slack. The service is pretty typical French rude, but the half moon pies are solid. I’ve tried about six and not one disappointed. My favorites being the pepperoni, veggie and believe it or not, mussel pizza.
La Croisette, 06400 Cannes, FR • 0493942315 •
What would a Cannes restaurant list be without a restaurant on the beach? Well, right across the Croisette from the Carlton Hotel you will find this very capable beach and restaurant. It’s worth taking advantage of both and making a day of it, if you ask me. But be warned, the portions are massive. Of the elephant-sized dishes, the one to get is the moules frites (mussels in white wine with fries). It’s so damn good you’ll be lapping up the bowl like the antidote was in it.
27 Rue Félix Faure, 06400 Cannes, France • +33 4 93 39 98 94 •
There are technically three of these restaurants with the exact same name, (guess they don’t have strict copyright laws in France?), but only one is actually worth going to, the one at the bottom of the hill, right on the corner with green signage. So to help you remember, just think “green means go.” And by that I mean go crazy! The seafood is so fresh you’ll be horking down shellfish like a sperm whale.
7 place de l’Etang • 06400 Cannes • +33 4 93 43 15 85 •
It’s a bit of a hike to get there way past The Martinez, out on the eastern peninsula by the “other” harbor that no one ever goes to. But that’s also what’s really nice about it: the chance to get away from the ad scene for a spell and actually appreciate the fact that you’re in Europe. In the French Riviera! And Freddy boy delivers on that escape in spades, with its quaint garden oasis and bountiful seafood. Everything is so fresh it feels like it was swimming just minutes before it hit your plate. I highly recommend any of the whole fish, which you can pick out right from the case at the front.
8 rue Emile Negrin 06400 Cannes, France • +33 4 93 30 07 61 •
Considering Morocco is only a stone’s throw across the sea, okay, so it would need to be one hell of a toss, but you get my point, it’s closer than Jersey. My other point is that this is another great option if you’re getting Frenched out. After all, variety is the spice of life as they say. And speaking of spice Fleur brings a cavalry of it with flavorful tagines that would knock your socks off if you were wearing any. The other thing I love about this place is the cozy vibe. Feels like nothing else in Cannes.
1028 ave Notre-Dame de Vie 06250 Mougins, France •
The best part about being in Cannes is actually getting out of Cannes to visit all of the surrounding medieval castle towns like Eze, Grasse and St-Paul-de-Vence. And of all the towns, the easiest one to get to is Mougins. But don’t discount its ten-minute proximity, because it really is one of the most charming. It’s also packing some serious culinary cred. So serious that one of the restaurants there has been tops in the region for over four decades serving up Michelin stars since the 70’s. This is haute French cuisine at its finest, done with an artistic flair and a stunning backdrop. I recommend sitting outside. Not only is it beautiful, it makes it easier to catch your breath when it’s taken away.
1 place du Général de Gaulle 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence, France • +33 4 93 32 80 02 •
Once again you’ll have to rent a car for this one, but I promise the experience will be worth it. And yes, once again it’s in a picturesque castle town, yada, yada, yada. That said, what sets this place apart isn’t the food, although it’s pretty good. In fact, the main reason to go here isn’t even the restaurant, it’s the hotel. In case you’ve never been, this place goes so far back the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Leger used to stay there before they were famous. And as legend has it, they paid for their rooms with paintings. So, either before or after your meal, you owe it to yourself to walk the grounds and see all of the art that has been donated to the hotel over the years. It’s truly special.
Ari Halper is an Executive Creative Director at Grey New York.