Where to Eat in Cassis: La Villa Madie
I do relish the bustling charms of a harbour-side bistro but sometimes it’s just nice to get away from the crowds and treat yourself to a little slice of serenity where the food is top-notch. Postcard perfect Cassis offers many of the former but only one of the latter. A 10-minute walk away from the busy marketplace and the popular harbour sits Villa Madie, a supremely stylish restaurant and bistrot blessed with the most idyllic setting amidst tall pines overlooking the rocky coves and the cliffs of the Pointe du Corton.
Here is where Marielle and Dimitri Droisneau—she originally from the Aveyron and he from Normandy— have landed by a combination of chance and talent in what appears to be Mediterranean restaurant heaven. Dimitri cut his teeth in leading gastro havens such as La Tour d’Argent, Alain Senderen’s Le Lucas Carton and Eric Fréchon’s Le Bristol, before becoming Head Chef at La Réserve de Beaulieu where he was awarded with two Michelin stars. Impressively the feat has now been repeated in 2014 at La Madie. Marielle is Restaurant Manager, overseeing a relaxed environment with friendly, efficient service.
At La Villa Madie you can enjoy the full gastronomic experience or enjoy a more classic bite at their bistrot, La Petite Cuisine. Both offer sensational views across the bay through panoramic glass windows or from outside on the terrace when the weather allows.
Naturally there’s an emphasis on fresh seasonal and local produce – the gastro menu offers local beautifully presented sea-bass, red mullets and baby squid accented with earthy, aromatic Mediterranean flavours of chick-pea, fennel, aubergine and verbena. But it’s not all seafood: for example there’s a taste of rural Normandy about the rabbit stuffed with Black Truffles served in a sweet chard leaf. Discovery menus start at 75 Euros per head.
For a lighter lunchtime meal or a simply for a lighter budget but in the same stunning setting, La Petite Cuisine menu offers classics such as beef steaks and Caesar salads or try a generous serving of prime red tuna steak, cooked lightly to perfection and accompanied by a delicious caponata of eggplant. Or how about the more down-to-earth Lyonnaise confit of pork belly followed by a cooling iced vacherin of seasonal fruits? Main courses up to 26 Euros, desserts 12 Euros.
On a perfect October day the terrace soon filled up, mostly French on the day I was there. It’s no surprise this place is popular. Like the couple who run the show, La Villa Madie has some winning combinations working in its favour. Relaxed elegant dining, inventive cuisine and a delightful location. Highly recommended.
La Villa Madie, Avenue du Revestel, 13260 Cassis. Tel: +33 (0) 496 18 00 00. Private parking on site. NB: La Petite Cuisine is open Saturdays only from mid June to mid Sept.
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