Le Figuier de Saint-Esprit 14, Antibes, France

Le Figuier de Saint-Esprit 14, rue Saint-Esprit, or 7 promenade Amiral de Grasse (two entrances), Antibes 06600, France, 33-4-93-34-50-12

An extraordinary dessert at Le Figuier

While my family was in Provence this summer, Kathie Alex, our friend and a fellow cooking teacher, suggested that we book lunch at Le Figuier de Saint-Esprit, a fairly new restaurant in the picturesque coastal town of Antibes. The chef, Christian Morisset, she explained, was exceptionally talented, and was a genius at using the freshest ingredients in the market. We called for a reservation on the spot. The “figuier” refers to a large fig tree that stands tall in the center of the restaurant’s enclosed terrace, while “Saint-Esprit” refers to the church for which the street is named. Facing Antibes’ ramparts, and overlooking the Mediterranean, the location could not be more beautiful.

But the menu was even more captivating than the view. I could return again and again to this place. Every dish was a work of art, beautifully crafted with a perfect balance of flavors. After tasting the amuse-bouche, a chilled purée of white beans topped with a scoop of fresh crab and a drizzle of basil oil, it was clear that we were not to be disappointed.

Highlights included an amazing first course of shelled lobster, radishes, and artichokes and another of a sublime foie gras served with homemade fruit chutney. An entrée of sautéed turbot on a bed of tomatoes, carrots, and fennel startled our palates. For dessert, an extravaganza consisting of three irresistible chocolate confections, almost caused my almost nine-year-old granddaughter to swoon, but the medley that included 9 variations on red fruit–strawberries, raspberries, red currants, cherries, all summer fruits that the French adore—was not only imaginatively presented, but seductively flavored.What an end to an exceptional meal in an exceptional locale!

Our prix-fixe lunch was around 62 euros without wine–not inexpensive, but absolument worth the price!

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