La Vague d’Or is the gastronomic restaurant of the luxurious 5 star hotel Résidence de la Pinède in Saint-Tropez, France. Résidence de la Pinède is located just outside the centre of Saint-Tropez and is one of the few hotels with a private beach in the jet set resort at the Côte d’Azur. The hotel breathes luxury and is a haven of privacy, relaxation and French hospitality. The gastronomic flagship of the hotel is La Vague d’Or restaurant, managed by Executive Chef Arnaud Donckele. The restaurant is located at the rear of the hotel and offers stunning views of the pool and the bay of Saint-Tropez.
The interior is, just like the rest of the hotel, classic French and luxurious. Gold, brown and grey are the main colours and the whole is elegant and very comfortable. During summer and when the weather permits, the restaurant is entirely moved to the terrace. This way, guests can enjoy the extraordinary gastronomic delights at sunset and under the stars. A unique experience.
Chef Arnaud Donckele gained experience in French top restaurants such as Gourmand-Prunier in Paris, Louis XV in Monaco, Plaza Athénée in Paris, and Lasserre in Paris. Arnaud’s kitchen philosophy is based on three simple yet essential principles: the best local products available, a never-ending respect for the producers, and creating a unique dining experience for the guests. This sounds obvious, but few restaurants manage to bring these values to life like La Vague d’Or. The reasons why this restaurant stands out are equally simple. Firstly, Arnaud is not only selecting the very best producers and cultivators from the region, but he also supports them with initiatives that make their business more profitable. For Arnaud, the producers are the big heroes. A good example is his close friendship with cultivator Jan, who owns an enormous garden just a few kilometres from the restaurant. It is here that the Chef gets his vegetables and spices and his good relationship with Jan enables him to closely follow the growth process of his ingredients. This way he simply gets the best produce available.
Secondly, the team at La Vague d’Or is remarkably professional, highly skilled and extremely friendly, creating an unforgettable experience for the guests. The Chef himself has been working at the restaurant for ten years and together with Food and Beverage Manager Thierry Di Tullio he decided to focus on high-end gastronomy. In a few years they managed to create one of the best restaurants in France. Thierry’s Assistant Franck Perroud is in charge of the wines, together with the charming Head Sommelier Celia Russo.
The dishes coming out of the kitchen are based on the French cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Products are the star and are served recognisable in the plate, accompanied by ingredients whose production has been followed by Arnaud from A to Z. They come directly from the producers, without intermediaries. Most dishes are finished at the table, creating a show and an experience for the guests. An example is the ‘Yellow chicken breast slowly cooked in bladder’. The dish, with an impressive inflated soufflé, is served on a side table and cut in front of the guest. It is then finished with Zitone pasta, delicately stuffed with foie gras, artichoke and black truffle, as well as the thighs and the wings of the chicken and a broth, infused like a tea, served separately in a unique gravy boat.
The desserts are worth an extra mention as they stand out in terms of flavour. Pastry Chefs Guillaume Godin and Juan Leiro prove to be experts in the art of crafting sweet delights. They excel in creating light and flavourful desserts, which offer a perfect ending to Arnaud’s meals. The dessert “leaves to leaves”’ is composed out of twelve citrus fruits like orange and bergamot, some seasonal and some candied by the team, served with lemon ‘gourmande’, mint and a cold lemonade. It is fresh yet spicy, and it demonstrates a thorough knowledge of combining delicate flavours.
Top quality products and an equally qualitative restaurant team are expensive, and this is also reflected in the price setting of the dishes and the menus. Restaurant La Vague d’Or offers a memorable restaurant experience at the French Riviera. The unique location, the superb team and the well-executed, ingredient driven food guarantee a dinner that you will not forget.
Written by Sven & Adriaan