L’Anse de Port Cros: drop the anchor in Mediterranean paradise to eat locally and hike with the humming cigales
Natural gem in the French Mediterranean waters, L’Anse de Port Cros requires a sea-bound journey worth the trip. From the Michelin Guide perspective the effort to travel to this sparsely inhabited protected island just for the meal would spark a star, yet at this leisurely set restaurant it is all about authenticity, not pomp, personality and wild creativity. Only the best local ingredients served at their most delectable flavours are served comfortably al fresco overlooking the charming port of Port Cros.
Yacht owners, moor at L’Anse de Port Cros to eat authentically and well, then hike the shaded rolling trails in the lush, well preserved National Park, to honour a free day well spent. Wear whatever is most comfortable, keep the glitz for La Gueritte, here the food is better and the space vast. We have been returning for years, our little secret we kept hidden from curious foodies in the virtual sphere. But, I feel like being generous this summer. Still strained by the dire global situation of increasing violence and death within our reach, we shall all savour every day, each precious holiday, and every meal out with a grand appetite before change swipes it all into the deep waters of unpredictability.
The name of the restaurant L’Anse de Port Cros means ‘Anchor of the Crossing Port’. Its location at the crossroads between the busy, car-free Porquerolles, the French military outpost and nudist enclave of Levant and the coastal towns and cities from Hyeres, Toulon, east to St Tropez, naturally lends itself to something appealing, luring the boats in for something simple but worth stopping by.
L’Anse de Port Cros offers nothing complicated, just delicious local bounty delivered every morning by the fishermen passing by the protected port of this lush Mediterranean island.
I wrote a poem inspired by Port-Cros:
All I see is blue joy
The clear sky of promises
Of undisturbed simplicity
Calm, straightforward reality
Turbulence far gone from my awareness
Fly, you and me in a liberated company
Set free the native imagination that was bound
By the complex constructs of culture in the rear
Of the mind seeking pain, restlessness and irrational fear
All I want is simplicity, what was lost in a city, here is found
For a light sweet finale, the summer red berry compote with whipped Chantilly cream and cinnamon at L’Anse de Port-Cros is best if you intend to be active after the lunch.
A hospitable tradition across the Mediterranean, here, each meal concludes with a shot or a sip, if you prefer, of rum, orange and pineapple juice blend with secret spices the chef keeps to himself.
Crossing by private boat from Hyeres, the Porquerolles island or Cavalaire-sur-Mer in the Var department takes only about 30 minutes to an hour. Boarding one of the seasonally scheduled ferries stretches the sail up to two hours, but if you hang around it pays off. We avoid the core of summer, rather sailing in May, June and September as the temperatures for outdoor activities are more balmy.