Whispering a world of relaxed glamour, everything at La Villa Madie is achieved with a knowing confidence, having mastered Mediterranean cuisine to a fine art.
Opening in 2006, it's the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Cassis: a laid-back yet decidely chic corner of the Côte d'Azur, where life bobs along as slowly as the playfully bright pointus (traditional Provençal fishing boats) that line the harbor. Sunbaked owners with deeply saturated tans leave their boutiques unattended, men decked in a rainbow of linen shirts play boules in the pine-shaded squares all day long, and ladies of leisure perch on the sun deck chairs on the promenade apéro in hand, watching the world go by. The pace is positively horizontal — and that's entirely why you go.
La Villa Madie is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in petite Cassis: a laid-back yet decidely chic corner of the Côte d'Azur, where life bobs along as slowly as the playfully bright pointus that line the harbor.
Cassis, all cornflower blue afternoons and sorbet shuttered streets that pop in the sunlight somehow gets considerably less attention than its flashier counterparts — much to the delight to the les Français who often summer here before la rentrée returns. For the discerning yacht charter guests, this presents a wonderful opportunity to soak up the authentic South of France, and make the most of haute-cuisine offerings like La Villa Madie in relative peace.
A 10-minute stroll from the harbor, hidden away in a palatial villa that basks in the shade of parasol pines, La Villa Madie is at the very least blessed with some of the best sea views you'll find in Cassis. Offering classically beautiful vistas of the Mediterranean, it overlooks the almost fjord-like cliffs of Pointe du Corton, with the almost diamond sparkle bouncing off the water in the summer sun.
But La Villa Madie is far from a view-hit-wonder: the food is exceptional. Helmed by Dimitri Droisneau, who cut his teeth at legendary gastronomic haven Eric Fréchon’s Le Bristol, before becoming Head Chef at La Réserve de Beaulieu (where he was awarded two Michelin stars) this is a place to linger over dinner.
Ultra-traditional with hints of modernity, choose from a 7-course degustation or go à la carte, where you might find octopus and squid ink gnocchi, beef and oyster tartare or fish carpaccio on the menu. The highlight during our visit was certainly the pigeon lightly perfumed with almonds, paired perfectly with a local rosé expertly chosen by the sommelier — whose expertise is an absolute must in a region where there is a rosé practically in every shade.
Visited and reviewed by Mairead Finlay
La Villa Madie
Avenue de Revestel-anse de Corton,, 13260 Cassis, France