The Michelin Guide, which originated in 1900 as a clever marketing tool by the Michelin brothers Andre and Edouard for their tyre company, remains the world’s best-loved measure of top restaurants across every continent today. This year there are 234 French Riviera restaurants in the Michelin guide, 26 of which hold one or more highly coveted Michelin stars.
There is an air of mystery that surrounds the Michelin rating process, which undoubtedly contributes to its appeal amongst chefs and restaurateurs as well as patrons. Just 100 inspectors, all of whom have a strong background in the culinary arts, comb the whole globe for its very best dishes each year. They closely guard the secrets of what it takes to obtain a Michelin star, and are barred from speaking to journalists on the subject at all.
We know that interior décor, table setting and service are not taken into account in the rating of a restaurant, although the guide does indicate the level of formality in forks and spoons. It is widely assumed that inspectors are looking for personality in dishes as well as quality and culinary technique – but the only facts surrounding the definition of excellence comes from the Michelin Guide itself.
We’re lucky to have a superb dining scene on our doorstep, but such choice isn’t always easy to navigate. For this reason we’ve pinpointed five of our favourite Michelin starred restaurants in Juan les Pins and beyond.
Located here in Juan les Pins, this waterfront restaurant offers some of the finest Mediterranean fish dishes in the region. Les Pêcheurs holds a Michelin star for its southern French flavours, and is a true accolade to our town.
Not far away in old Antibes, Le Figuier de St-Esprit’s chef nurtures local ingredients into classic French recipes. Set in a Provencal country house with a pretty patio, this one-Michelin starred restaurant offers a perfect experience of the south of France.
On the heights of Cannes and a five-minute drive from the city centre, you will find Mougins. Renowned for its rich culinary history and its outstanding beauty, this village is a favourite spot amongst artists and celebrities including Picasso, and Yves Saint Laurent. Furthermore Le Candille’s Michelin starred restaurant offers stunning views and dishes crafted of the freshest ingredients from the local market. The chef’s flavours are subtle, and his presentation is skilful. This place is a must-visit for anyone in the area.
A little farther afield, L’Oasis is a charming restaurant in the pretty commune of Mandelieu La Napoule. Three brothers, Antoine, François and Stéphane Raimbault, collect produce from Marché Forville in nearby Cannes each day. A fusion of Mediterranean and Asian flavours, characterise their delectable dishes. Each dish is complemented by an impressive wine and champagne list, as well as a selection of fine cigars. It is easy to see why the restaurant has held two Michelin stars since 1992.
The crown jewel of the French Riviera’s dining scene, Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse is the result of a challenge by Prince Rainier III to Alain Ducasse to create a three Michelin starred restaurant in four years. Visually, the restaurant is perhaps the most spectacular in the region due to marble and gold leaf décor, as well as a chandelier with a diameter of 7 metres. Dishes are sublime in their simplicity and flavour, and above all characterised by Alain Ducasse’s signature classical style that has won him such fame over the decades. Their stunning wine cellar showcases over 4,000 of the world’s very best wines.
The fine dining scene is just one more reason to love the French Riviera. Wherever you choose to eat this summer, we hope your meal is one to remember.
See more from our Life.Style journal and keep up with the region’s sparkling calendar of festivals and events here.