Written June 13, 2013.
If you are looking for a bargain, look elsewhere. Everything in St Tropez is more expensive than it should be, more expensive than even Paris. However, the truly high-end exquisite resorts and restaurants are all outside of St Tropez village. In town, you’ll find a more casual dining ambiance with great people watching.
Le Colombier Hotel, just on the outskirts of the old town and an easy walk to Place des Lices and the old port, has comfortable rooms in a charming courtyard setting. We reserved late and ended up in a larger triple with an ample sized bathroom that included one of those tiny European showers. Good water pressure, however. Make sure to bring your own soap and shampoo as they only supply those small packets found at cheaper establishments. The towels and bedding, in contrast, are quite nice. The typical over-priced continental breakfast includes nice croissants and mediocre coffee.
Pesquiére, set in a scenic corner of the old town with views of the St Tropez bay, is much more of lunch or casual dinner place. Still, it attracts the designer bag clutching crowd. The restaurant is one of a family of three restaurants all located on the same quiet corner.
The food is acceptable but not great, consisting of more prepared dishes than made-to-order. We started with the fish soup. A traditional Mediterranean preparation, it was good and not too salty but lacked the depth of flavor of a truly great fish soup. The anchoïade on toast was a full flavored and a generous serving that would be better shared as the salty anchovy paste can be quite overwhelming. The tapenade stuffed sardines were also good – served in small casserole dish they appeared more like a starter than a main.
The seafood risotto, however, was terrible. Mushy, cheesy rice with bits of seafood mixed in. Looked more like something you would find prepackaged in a jar than cooked in a restaurant. Come here for the view, casual atmosphere and people watching, but skip the risotto.
Au Rendez Vous (04 94 97 60 15) located at 6 rue Eglise, near Place des Lices is the ultimate in shabby chic. The servers, presumably the owners, dress in worn jeans and denim overalls. Monsieur has a rather surly attitude but is attentive, polite and efficient. The garden setting is a mish mash of worn furniture, tacky tableware, kitschy placemats and slate boards with the suggestions of the day hanging from the trees.
The food, however, is anything but shabby. We were first served an out-of-this-world green olive tapenade with fresh bread while we waited for our starters. The frog legs fresh hot, garlicky and barely cooked, were as tender as tender can be. The octopus salad served with a pesto dressing was intensely flavorful. For mains we tasted the rougets, 4 little fish perfectly cooked and simply plated with small portions of white rice and ratatouille, and garnished with a broiled tomato. The dorade royale (fish) was plated the same as the rougets and was the only disappointment of the evening as it was a tad overcooked.