Continuing our week-long focus on Saint-Raphaël on the Western side of the French Riviera, we were pleasantly surprised to see more positive changes in this seaside resort-town.
As a local girl to Southern France, I have seen Saint-Raphaël improve over the years with the beautiful seaside Promenade with its palm trees, flowers and green grassy areas in front of the eastern beaches, with the renovated old port which extends this promenade in a classy way all the way to the edge of Frejus.
Saint-Raphael embellishes each year. Some say it is morphing into a little Cannes, yet unpretentious and without the paparazzi festival fuss.
What I had rarely seen in St Raphaël is a foodie scene. Well, times may be changing...
Last night, I was invited at Elly's Restaurant downtown Saint-Raphaël, close to the town's library and cultural center. It was delightful!
Only a handful of tables were busy, but that's not surprising on a Monday night. Service was attentive, quick and full of discrete smiles, all setting the stage for what was to come.
The 35 euro menu offered a choice of 2 different entrées, 2 main dish & 2 desserts. We tried them all!
Each dish was crafted between the crispy crunch of thin root vegetables and the juicy tuna tataki seared to perfection, or the chunky gambas with Piment d'Espelette over a smooth cream of broccoli. A pleasure for all senses.
The swordfish main dish was locally fished. Elly described where it was caught in the area and by which fisherman (nice catch, Olivier!). This added to the experience. It was very tasty and complemented by the tangy taste of confits vegetables tucked away in a little zucchini flower.
Desserts were no let-down. I opted for the "Oh La La Chocolat" chocolate cake filled with raspberry coulis. Not heavy, just sweet and sinful.
I could write about it for a few more pages, but it's best to try it for yourself.
Elly's isn't exactly new in town. Chef Franck Chabod et Eléonore Marion opened the restaurant in 2011. It has since caught the attention and positive reviews of the Michelin book of fine restaurants, among others.
Rumors have reached me that St Raphael hosts a few more new little culinary treats like Elly's, besides the classics such as La Brasserie.
So yes, Saint-Raphaël may well be on its way to becoming a foodie's place.
I'll need to find new special occasions to investigate and get back to you...