I recently spent 4 days in Cassis preparing day trips for small groups. I tried several restaurants and wineries and wanted to pass on my thoughts, since I occasionally see questions about this gorgeous little spot.
In general food and wine Cassis is more expensive by about 30% than many parts of Provence but I guess you are paying for the chance to eat along the beautiful port, or drink the wines from the Mediterranean. But go back to the smaller streets away from the port and you find excellent food at good prices; it will also be cooler if you don’t want to have lunch in the hot sun.
Cassis is practically all hills so driving is not easy; parking is impossible on week-ends so you have to look for paid parking lots above the town. IF you are coming from Marseille there is a bus.
Chez Gilbert: excellent fresh seafood, the best soupe de poisons I’ve had in recent memory, very nice service, excellent half bottle of Clos Ste Magdelaine. But very expensive. (134 euro /$185 lunch for two with no dessert and one half bottle of wine.)
Clos Sainte Magdelaine: rue Revestel. Supposed to be a 13.5 euro tasting charge, but “Anne Marie” received me and didn’t ask for anything. (I did buy 6 bottles as I was leaving.) She is very friendly, knowledgeable, and we had a good time. She even helped me find someone to fix a flat tire. And I really enjoyed the wines; tasted 2009 and 2010 white, and the 2010 rose. Wine is 13 euros a bottle.
Chai Cassidain: 6, rue Séverin Icard A wine bar on one of the smaller streets. In the afternoon they have tastings of local wines; free if you buy a bottle. Starting at 5:30 til at least 9 pm you can pay for wine by the glass. I had several great champagnes, along with some local wines. The tasting list is not long but still quite worth it.
Patisserie Sucr e Delices, 4 Rue Alexandre Gervais, (http://www.visit-cassis-360.com/coste...) owned by a former pastry chef of the Pourcel Brothers.
Fleurs de Thym: a “gastronomic” restaurant on a quiet and cool side street (18, rue Michel Arnaud) this place has been excellent the two times I went there. Very pretty Provencal dining room, with a small terrace. Menu was about 30 euros. Can be a little slow but worth it. Book ahead for week-ends.
Le Grand Bleu: smallish place at 12 quai Baux, with terrace and inside seating. Family owned and run and an excellent value. Great “moules a la Provencale” the day after the bad ones at Nino; very well prepared whole “merlan” (whiting?) at half the price of a whole fish a Chez Gilbert. Good service.
Bonaparte, 14 r Gén Bonaparte: Saw this one on Chowhound so I had to try it. Very reasonable prices. Very good, though not excellent cuisine (the salad nicoise was doused in red wine vinegar but otherwise good salad); the fish was very good. The gregarious owner, who is starting his 40th year there, wanders the dining room chatting with customers after service.
Paternel: Enjoyed the wines and the views, but the owner, who was in the tasting room, wasn’t terribly helpful or pleasant. About 11-13 euros a bottle.
I don’t know where Chez Nino got its wonderful reputation but I had a terrible meal there. Very unappetizing presentations. Hard, over-cooked “moules a la provencale” and a less than ordinary fish. Mediocre service.
Villa Madie: I had a reservation to eat here but after reading the very inconsistent French reviews (http://www.linternaute.com/restaurant...) and talking to a friend who had eaten there, I cancelled. Not willing to take a chance with such an expensive meal.