Le Palme d'Or
Martinez Hotel, 73 La Croisette, Cannes, 06400
- Recommended for:
- Foodies, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Celebrity spotting, Great views / scenery, Romance, Special occasions
Best for Gourmets - Expert review of Le Palme d'Or
Not much modesty here. Naming a restaurant after the premier award at the Cannes Film Festival is riding for a fall. So is plastering the menu with half-baked philosophy. “The birth of pleasure starts with the eruption of gustatory pixels” we are told, in just one of chef Christian Sinicropi’s several excursions into addled nonsense.
But the maddening thing is that the restaurant pulls it off. Others among Cannes great palace hotels have ditched their gastronomic restaurants – they really don’t make much money – but the Martinez’s Palme d’Or keeps shooting for the culinary heights. And, as two Michelin stars attest, it reaches them more often than not ... at a price, of course.
The setting helps. On the hotel’s first floor, a swish, Art Deco-ish room – all black walls, red chairs and old movie photos - sweeps through to one of Cannes’ classiest terraces. The views across the Croisette to the Med are sumptuous at lunch-time, better still come sun-down.
Sean and Sharon
And though this is indisputably the best table in town – one of the best on the coast - you may enter in the lightest of spirits. It is not at all intimidating. Superbly discreet staff treat all guests as if they were Sean Connery or Sharon Stone. If Sean and Sharon happen to be in (as they might) you may verify this for yourselves.
Agreeable circumstances, then, in which to set about the sort of inventive cooking which keeps, and will keep, French cuisine ahead of all the others, whatever upstarts (the US, Pacific Rim, etc) claim to the contrary. Granted, the menu descriptions are ponderously poetic and longer than the meal itself.
But, take the pen out of his hand and chef Sinicropi proves himself to be a real creator. From a Mediterranean basis, he builds what I can only call a tangle of ingredients and flavours which remind you what you’ve got taste-buds for. They simply don’t get this sort of work-out, or delight, on a daily basis. I mean, imagine a dish like cod in a cereal crust with aubergine ravioli, smoked eel, lemon purée, radishes, chard and Tonka beans. Gustatory pixels are erupting all over the damned place.
And I’ll warrant you’ll be happy about it.
We’ve pretty much covered this above. We’re talking food from one of France’s most inventive chefs, a chap not afraid to pair quail with squid but one who also never tips over into the showily absurd. The Palme d’Or is charging very serious sums for this cooking. It’s got to work, rather than simply massage the cook’s ego. And it does. Try the Mediterranean sea-bass in a herby fish sauce and tell me you disagree. Steady with the wine-list, mind. It’s the size of the Domesday Book and has bottles the price of a mid-range car.
Classy, relaxed but soignée. Be on best behaviour, and no shorts or jeans, please. Nor should you stare – or, worse still, ask for autographs – if Sean or Sharon is dining there. If you’re eating at the Palme d’Or, someone should be asking for your autograph.
Faultlessly polite and attentive without kicking over into obsequiousness.
Within the five-star Hotel Martinez, on the sea-front.
The bad news. Lunch may be had for 67 euros. The cheapest, two-course dinner menu is 92 euros. Add wine and coffee and you’re way over 110 euros per person. Sorry about that.
More information on Le Palme d'Or:
- Price guide:
- French, International, Mediterranean
- Martinez Hotel, 73 La Croisette, Cannes, 06400
- 04 92 98 74 14
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Wed-Sat 12.30-2pm, 8pm-10pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Always essential
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Michelin star, Al fresco