A classic brasserie with a cracking wine list.
Some way off the tourism circuit, La Cave is where the Cannois go to be reminded of the dishes their grandparents ate – the mainstays of southern French tradition. And it works.
One of my young local friends esteems this the best restaurant on the coast (though her judgement was perhaps swayed by the handsome waiter; you know what girls are like).
At any event, it’s a fine and bustling place, with open-plan kitchen at one end and walls covered in mirrors, wood-panelling, bits of wooden wine cases and other wine paraphernalia. Menus are on blackboards all round the room and tables are jammed in. This is no venue for intimate conversation. Then again, brasseries usually aren’t.
Here, you are reminded that lunching and dining can be lively affairs – and that dishes like loin of veal with mushrooms, duck magret with a honey sauce or estouffade of lamb have an atavistic appeal which may make eating livelier still. (Unusually for Cannes, La Cave is stronger on meat than on fish.)
You are also reminded that there’s an awful lot of wine in France. The choice here is as good as it gets in a brasserie, from local Provençal country wines to some of the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages. You might not want to shell out £500 for a bottle at midday, but it’s rewarding to know that someone cares enough to have offered it.
Father and son
In truth, this sense of care and attention runs through what is a father-and-son establishment. They are clearly dedicated to what they’re doing. Maybe that’s what my young friend was referring to. Maybe it wasn’t the waiter after all. (Yeah. Right.)