Dior des Lices is the verdant crown of polished hedonism in St Tropez. Envisioned by the multi-Michelin French chef Yanick Alléno of the Pavillon Le Doyen in Paris, and by LVHM backed 1948 at the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, beautiful surroundings meet luxury are in sync with his gastronomic style at the Dior café. This is where the well-dressed meet for an evening aperitif, afternoon patisserie, or a luxurious meal staged on the al-fresco carpet of joy. On weekends, live music gigs vary from soft guitar tunes through vocal chansons as well as smooth English songs.
Design, naturally covets any fine aesthete’s eye — art installed in the garden, exclusive Dior dishware, branded pastries — even the butter gets its Dior stamp. By using luxurious ingredients overall, Dior des Lices pampers the well-heeled clients. This summer, the sun-lit social space that turns into a romantic restaurant in the evenings, was further plushed up. The bar was reshuffled into a cosy music lounge, a new tailed carpet added a cleaner feel, while more plump chairs increased comfort. Bellow are pictured the more simple plates at Dior des Lices prior to its recent luxing-up. Further down follow the most recent dishes.
Contemporary renderings of Mediterranean food
The menu at Dior des Lices changes each season in St Tropez. Some dishes remain familiar, but the gazpacho might include a new twist, the brioche of the burger may be updated and the risotto instead of the usual rice may be replaced by spelt or kamut. Some of the food was more delicious before than certain recent renderings on the carte. The friendly staff listens, so I am confident in them ironing any creases up for the years to come. For the food I prefer lunch, for the atmosphere, the evening setup is much more entertaining.
Before the meal, creative savory snacks arrive with an order of a cocktail (house specials include champagne spiked cucumber fizz), wine (French) or a glass of champagne (Dom Perignon vintage or Moet Chandon). The fresh bread comes plain with its southern accompaniment in the liquid form as an olive oil, the superb Brittany butter is served upon request.
Our favourite plates at Dior des Lices in St Tropez include the gazpacho. This year elevated with a cucumber, strawberry, tomato and basil leaf skewer, wild strawberries and a basil sorbet for a more powerful refreshing effect. Perfect at a scorching summer lunch. The lunch salads are clean yet original. We love them all. The Nicoise with an added raw courgettes and quail eggs instead of the usual chicken’s is my husband’s must lunch on.
The Bucolic salad with raw cucumber, fennel, zucchini, and grilled avocado with broccoli florets, seasoned with fresh oregano leaves and yuzu vinaigrette and is superb accompaniment to a heavier plate such as the burger. The later can be upped by an aged cheddar, grilled ceps or grilled pork belly. To the buttery brioche splattered generously with ketchup (unfortunately soaked the bottom part of the bun to a mushy pastry), a leaf of lettuce, a succulent slice of tomato under a chunky beef patty, we added the melted cheese. Served with perfectly crisp fries, the salad came in handy. We were disappointed by the unmatchable Burrata with spelt grains, and bland green nut-free pesto.
The menu slightly changes at dinner when the superb, lean steak with mashed potatoes and grilled giant cep mushrooms, some extra pasta (linguine with lobster are superb) and other more weighty dishes replace some of the lighter lunch plates. We loved the steak, cooked medium plus rare upon request, served with a decadent sauce that you can add abundantly over the lean beef fillet. At dinner once I got the order wrong as either my ultra-chic Dior eggs with caviar were horrible – the cold runny egg ruined all my pleasure from the expensive caviar cum smoked fish and sour cream dish. Also the Asian lobster ravioli had missed the Asian fragrant point as they were bland and undercooked. The superb French Comtè cheese and bread fixed my palate on that weak night!
Luxurious French wine list nods to St Tropez glam
The wine list is intensely influenced by the LVHM stable. A Moet by the glass, Domaine Lambrays Burgundy, and Cheval Blanc for the fortunate, but also some local rosè not breaking the bank. The coravin allows pouring a €160 glass of the Clos de Lambrays Grand Cru Monopole Pinot Noir or Petit Cheval, the second label under the Cheval Blanc star.
Sweet afternoons at Dior des Lices
House-fresh fragrant iced-tea, Nespresso coffee, iced upon request or spiked with a scoop of ice cream as I like it in the summer are perfect at lunch. The sorbets ventured into uncharted waters with creative flavors easily competing with the local ice cream sweetheart Barbarac.
The afternoon tea treats at Dior des Lices in St Tropez are very popular thanks to the pastry chef’s elegant skills, with the Dior choux and eclairs landing on every other table. Very good, not the best, but I am a perfectionist and choux fanatic, beware. Breakfast offer includes the classics like the French viennoisserie, egg dishes, bread and jams, next to freshly pressed juices.
Alléno’s team translates his twists on some French, but mainly Italian dishes with an overall precision. From its inception over five years ago, we have enjoyed the evolving culinary offerings served in the lush garden. Open from late spring, throughout the summer until early October the provençal house of Dior feeds your aesthetic soul with updated decadence for today’s tastes.
13 Rue François Sibilli, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
+33 4 98 12 67 65
Daily from May until second week in October 10am-midnight