Out of all the restaurants my wife Jun and I were to visit during our honeymoon/summer vacation in Europe, I did have the highest expectations from La Chevre d’Or. A friend of mine who had visited southern France a few years ago highly recommended that we stay in Eze, a beautiful hill village overlooking the French Riviera, telling me he and his wife had stayed at a gorgeous hotel Chateau de la Chevre d’Or and they had a restaurant that any foodie should definitely check out. In our itinerary, we didn’t end up staying at the hotel ($800 and above per night sounded a little bit too much for us given that we were already traveling all over the place for two weeks), but I did make a reservation for the restaurant. La Chevre d’Or is as classic a fine-dining French restaurant as it gets. There is a strict dress code (all gentlemen wear jackets and no jeans or shorts are permitted), and all the professionally dressed staffs certainly look like they have a ton of experience in the hospitality industry. We arrived just a little earlier to have a cocktail at the hotel’s outdoor bar (I highly recommend taking in the stunning sight of Cap Ferrat and the surrounding coast even if you don’t have a chance to dine at the restaurant), and were then led to a breezy dining room with windows overlooking the same sight we had just seen outside. The ambiance of the restaurant certainly won us over. It was, however, the food that made our experience at La Chevre d’Or truly special.
The meal at La Chevre d’Or, consists of both a tasting menu and a la carte options, but each a la carte dish is already prohibitively expensive so why not just go for the tasting menu? The full tasting menu is at 250 euros per person although you can also take out a couple of dishes and pay 215 euros per person instead. We opted for the shorter tasting menu, but that didn’t mean we will leave home feeling still hungry. In fact, there were a variety of amuse bouche bites and snacks that came to us. A gorgeous bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was poured, and only then we started with the savory course, starting with this gorgeous dish of girolle (also known as chanterelle mushroom) marinated with hazelnuts, blue lobster and a type of plant known as lovage. It was one of the best appetizers I’ve had in recent months, especially with the way the texture of crunchy lobster in the center worked so beautifully with the mushroom and hazelnuts, while the flavor was also very balanced to my liking. If I had a dish like this every month, I would certainly be one happy foodie. Artichoke, which stuffed delicate caviar on top, came on top of broth perfumed with lime; the slightly citrusy feel to the dish somehow found a way to balance the slightly salty caviar and the effect was quite delightful.
Initially, the texture of glazed grouper, which came with fresh almond, wild spinach raviolis and saffron jus, wasn’t appealing at first because of rather firm texture, but over time it grew on me and I am very regretful that neither Jun nor I remembered to take the photo of this winner. The best savory dish of the night came last. Jun and I do not eat lamb very often because of its gamy feel that can overpower our palate. Well, the one from La Chevre d’Or would change the mind of anyone who feels the same about lamb. Roasted lamb saddle, accompanied by elderflower and zucchini flower, was one heck of a meat dish, and I don’t know what magic the kitchen to neutralize the gaminess. It chewed like a superbly cooked beef with no smell of game at all! This was one of the best meat dishes I’ve had this year, or maybe even the past three years. For dessert, we had a dish named “Vison of a Riviera Lemon,” where you can open up a lemon shell to reveal a delightfully deconstructed lemon tart with lemon sorbet on the side. It was refreshing and perfect for a summer meal, and really made us marvel at the kitchen’s creativity in putting together dishes that not only look aesthetically pleasing but quite delicious as well.
The dining room at La Chevre d’Or is not big, and the restaurant with its two Michelin-star fame is probably one of the most popular fine dining options in the French Riviera area, so I highly recommend booking the restaurant in advance (the restaurant requires a credit card deposit in advance of 50 euros per person to hold the table). As noted above, the dining room has a romantic aura that you can’t skip if you are in the area for a trip with your significant other (in fact, most of the tables in the dining room were couples or couples going on double dates). There is an extensive French wine list, and there are surprisingly several bottles that were in the realm of reasonableness in terms of price. Do yourself a favor and don’t be afraid to order a bottle that goes over 100 euros for this glorious dining experience. La Chevre d’Or is undoubtedly one of the best dining experiences I’ve had this year. It epitomizes the finest of French dining in southern France, period.
KenScale: 9.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 9.0/10)
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 9.5/10
- Ingredients: 9.0/10
- Flavor: 9.0/10
- Texture: 9.0/10
- Value: 8.5/10
Address: Rue du Barri, 06360 Èze, France