Showbiz Traveler: Cannes 2012

Time for a leisurely lunch is nil for most during the full-court press of the market. Though it’s unusual to find a hidden gem, and most places are packed, vet Cannes attendees know how to combine work with the pleasures of le dejeuner Francais.

“Carlton Beach is good for business,” says Sony Pictures Classics co-prexy Tom Bernard. “Everybody who is anybody is there every day. Many times you can sniff out who is selling what to whom by the characters at a table.”

Overlooking the old port, La Pizza is also a standard fest eatery. “All the best people hang out there,” says Emerging Pictures’ Ira Deutchman.

Some industryites have established relationships with their favorite Cannes restaurateur.

Julie Sultan, president of international distribution for W2 Media, recommends La Potiniere du Palais, where the longtime Cannes attendee eats almost every day, for its salads and welcoming owner. The traditional brasserie Le Caveau 30 gets high marks from Sultan for its seafood and is a good option for a quick lunch.

Next door on Rue Felix Faure, the reasonably priced Modo Mio is “great for doing business or romancing an obscure object of desire,” says Darryl Macdonald, Palm Springs Film Festival director, citing the attentive service. The unpretentious Le Bistrot Gourmand, near the Marche Forville (Cannes’ farmers market), takes full advantage of its location by serving a market-to-table menu. “The seafood risotto is a particular favorite,” adds Macdonald.

For the freshest selection of local seafood (the owners also operate a fish market) walk to the top of the picturesque le Suquet and Caprices des Mer for well-priced, first-rate choices. Just behind the Croisette on a walk street, Le Riad offers Moroccan specialties in an exotic ambiance and has pleasant sidewalk tables. Italian cuisine and the “nice people and nice wine” at Ciro draws Darrien Michele Gipson, national director of SAG Indie. Gipson would happily make a meal out of the foie gras macarons at patisserie Jean-Luc Pele (42 Rue d’Antibes).

When there’s no limit on time or euros, the French Riviera offers splendid lunchtime diversions. The connection to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald — they were once residents — made the terrace of the restaurant at the Hotel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins famous. In the charming, art-filled village of St. Paul de Vence, kudos go to Relais & Chateaux member Le St. Paul for its romantic ambiance and upscale Provencal fare.

Sultan also recommends the tiny Le Pistou Antibes, on Rue James Close, a walking street in Antibes. The star of the menu: pistou soup (a Provencal summer soup of seasonal vegetables). Owned by a husband-and-wife team, a meal here will be “lovely and memorable,” says Sultan. For an authentic presentation of bouillabaisse (a fisherman’s catch of local seafood), in a setting overlooking the scenic bay, Le Bacon in Cap D’Antibes ranks among the South of France’s most decadent lunch spots.

So too does Le Louis XV in nearby Monaco. As Patina executive chef Tony Esnault describes it — he trained under Alain Ducasse in the restaurant’s kitchen — the elaborately prepared seasonal dishes represent the freshest of ingredients found along the surrounding Mediterranean coastline. How fresh? “The fish arrive alive to the kitchen,” he says. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Le Louis XV is open for lunch Thursday through Monday; cost for the prix-fixe menu is €140 ($184) per person with wine.

Cote D’zur address book

Caprices des Mer
28, Rue du Suquet, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 39 20 34

Carlton Beach
Restaurant
58 La Croisette, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 06 40 06.

Ciro
33 Rue Bivouac Napoleon, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 39 21 24

La Passagere
Hotel Belles Reves
33 Boulevard Edouard Baudoin, Juan-les-Pins
Phone: +33 04 93 61 02 79

La Pizza
3 Quai Saint-Pierre, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 39 22 56

Le Bacon
664 Boulevard de Bacon, Cap D’Antibes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 61 50 02

Le Bistrot Gourmand
10 rue du Dr. P.Gazagnaire, Canne
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 68 72 02

Le Caveau 30
45 Rue Felix Faure, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 39 06 33

Le Pistou Antibes
18 Rue James Close, Antibes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 34 73 51

Le Riad
6, impasse Florian, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 38 60 95

Le Saint Paul
86 Rue Grande, St. Paul de Vence
Phone: +33 04 93 32 65 25

Le Louis XV, Hotel de Paris
Place de Casino, Monaco
Phone: +377 98 06 88 64

Modo Mio
43 Rue Felix Faure, Cannes
Phone: +33 (0)4 99 39 08 55

(Pat Saperstein contributed to this report.)

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