Jean-Charles Perino is the co-founder of La Compagnie, an all-business class boutique airline that flies between New York and Paris year round—and recently added a new seasonal route to Nice in the South of France—for less than half the price of business class flights on commercial airlines. Though the Côte d’Azur is a well-known destination (after Paris, it is the second-most visited region in France with over 11 million tourists each year), there is still much to be discovered—especially if you’re a food and wine lover.
Leave it to Perino, who’s been vacationing in Southern France since he was a kid, to know some of the region’s best hidden gems. Below, some of his favorite restaurants and wineries near the Mediterranean Sea, from charming Nice to Le Pradet further south.
Le Bocal in Nice
A simple, fresh, restaurant with homemade food. You can eat either on one of the very few tables at the restaurant or take your food away and eat on La Promenade in front of la Mediterranée. The menu changes everyday.
Uva in Cannes
Uva is my favorite. It’s somewhat more sophisticated, but serves great food in a relaxed atmosphere. Should you want to stay overnight, try Hotel Verlaine, an old provincial house fully rehabilitated in 2018—boutique style, but warm and quiet.
L’Oursinado in Le Pradet
If you drive further west on the way to Cassis or beyond, a few kilometers before Toulon, this is restaurant is a must see/eat. My favorite fish soup on this side of la Méditerranée. The fish is amazing and the scenery is unique: a pine-tree protected terrace above the sea.
Clos Cibonne in Le Pradet
If you want to taste a special rosé wine, I would suggest Clos Cibonne in the Var region. It’s a small vineyard with very powerful and aromatic wines.
Le Pacha du Sloop in St. Jean Cap Ferrat
Another best kept secret. Chef FiFi is a character from St. Jean and will welcome you with great fishes and a nice tuna tartar right on the harbour.