TOP TABLE: NEAT, LA CROISETTE, CANNES

Location and view

Neat is at 11 Square Merimee, 06400 Cannes, France (00 33 49 399 2919). They leave the lush red carpet, year round, so you can wave to your adoring public from the top step. From the terrace, there's a splendid view of the old port and the 17th century church above Le Suquet.

Service and clientele

Brits, Brits, Brits. There are quite a lot of them because the chef, Richard Neat, is from Surrey. The pace is leisurely because everything is cooked fresh.

Design

Paris chic comes to Cannes. Crisp white linen, tableware by Villeroy & Bosch. Lots of attention to detail. Neat.

Romance factor

Excellent, if you're wearing Dior and dining with your agent - or the Eurocrat who stopped you on La Croisette and offered you a part in his next movie/play/life.

Best table

To the left, above the stairs on the plum banquette.

Snoot factor

Apart from the annual International Film Festival there are countless festivals and excuses for partying and the restaurant is booked weeks ahead.

Menu

Precision and originality in several different price formulas, featuring super-modern French cuisine.

Wine list

Designed by Bruno Asselin, formerly head sommelier at Le Manoir au Quat' Saisons, Oxford, the list includes both French and New World.

Price

Lunch during the week 140F-180F (pounds 14-18), dinner 220F or 270F at the weekend. Tasting menu and `a la carte between 400F and 500F, plus wine.

Oh yeah, and the food

Plump langoustine, followed by veal with figs and finished off with passionfruit souffle. "Neat is so handsome he can be in my next movie," promised the agent, lighting up a Cohiba.

Margaret Kemp

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