Château Saint-Martin & Spa, located between Nice and Cannes, overlooks the Provençal village of Vence and the shores of the French Riviera. Set in 32 acres, “Le Saint-Martin” restaurant was awarded two Michelin Stars in 2011. The lunch restaurant, while not as acclaimed, leads The Monster to hope he’s in for an exquisite meal.
It’s a gorgeous mountain setting where you walk in under a canopy of grape vines with white and red grapes waiting to be plucked. In a former residence of a commander of Knights of the Templar, the grounds, hotel and pool are tres chic for the moneyed to sequester themselves and relax. And for those of us pretending, to have a ridiculously overpriced lunch.
Starters include melon flavored with port, andalousian gaspacho with espelette pepper and crab thickened with guacamole or linguine “au pistou.”
Mains are meat and fish like grilled filleted chicken breast stuffed with herbs and lightly whipped potato puree or sea bream for two with rice with a dash of olive oil, white butter or sauce with herbs. These fish dishes are $150 so food does not come cheap.
Desserts are choices could be house made tartlets, raspberries with vanilla cream or homemade ice cream.
The garden setting is stunning on a beautiful French afternoon. It’s closest American relatives may be San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito or Carneros Inn in Napa for comparison.
The $50 chicken breast is fatty and disappointing. The Monster thought the French prided themselves on their superior cuisine? Eh, not so much.
The gaspacho is lovely but for $30 a joke of a portion.
The Caesar with shrimp The Monster is told is good but apparently Oceania does a better version on the boat.
Setting aside the food should match and sadly, irrespective of price, this isn’t close. Perhaps dinner is a revelation but lunch proves merely an expensive (albeit beautiful) excursion.
Why go? You have money to burn. Literally.
Monster rating: 2/5 Monstres
2490 Avenue des Templiers, BO 102, 06142 Vence, France