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Lesley C

Restaurants In Nice - Anything Nice?

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I'll be in Nice for one night and am looking for a good restaurant. I heard about a place called L'Ane Rouge or something along those lines, and a good new one-star (can't remember the name).

It doesn't have to be "the ultimate," but it would be nice if it were interesting, with memorable food.

Any ideas?

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Forget about L'Ane Rouge. It used to have a good bourride but it went downhill years ago. If interesting means from the Adria school, you want to eat at Chantecler in the Negresco hotel. I haven't been but Robert Brown has and you should send him a PM. The best restaurant in town is Le Petite Maison just outside of the market. It's traditional Nicoise bistro food and a fun place to dine. But certainly not anything inventive. And Bruno Oger of truffle and Chez Bruno fame has opened a truffle restaurant on the same street as Petite Maison. Otherwise surprisingly, Nice isn't the greatest restaurant town in the world. When I'm there I usually go out of town for dinner. And if you are willing to take a 12 km cab ride to Cros de Cagnes, you can go eat the world's best Soupe de Poisson and fantastic grilled fish or meats at Loulou. And further cab rides (35-40kms) will get you two star meals in Cannes or Grasse.

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Steve, you're amazing. Thank you, thank you. :smile:

Because of you I went to Gramenon, so I know I can trust your instincts. Thanks. :smile:

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It's Bruno Clément, not Oger, and the name of the restaurant is 'Terres de Truffes' (truffleland!). It's a small place. Every course, dessert included, is festooned with truffles. That's the main feature -- the cooking is good, but not extraordinary. La Petite Maison is very good indeed.

Bruno's place is on rue St François de Paule, the same road as La Petite Maison, near the flower market.

If you go to Cannes (20-30 minute drive from Nice, or you could take the train) try La Cave (see related thread in the French board). Not Adria cuisine, not by a long shot, but friendly and very good. In Grasse, worth trying two-star Chibois. But this is a longer (40 minute) drive from Nice.

La Merenda is getting some good local comment, after a period when people tended to dismiss it, but I have not tried it. This place has no telephone, so you have to walk in before the meal and book. This may be inappropriate for a short visit! Also it doesn't take credit cards. Have others eaten there in the last year?


Edited by JD (London) (log)

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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JD is correct. Bruno Oger is the chef at the two star (I believe) Villa de Lys in the Majestic Hotel in Cannes. Not a bad choice if you are up for the schlep from Nice. A nice thing to do in Nice is to walk through the market. It is really picturesque. It's everyday but Monday (when there is a flea market) up until lunch time. And the old town which is adjacent to the market is full of life and offers tons of funny tschochke to buy including some food stuff. Make sure you visit the Alziari olive oil shop on rue Francois de Paule which is the street that both Petitie Maison and Bruno are on and which leads into the market. Buy yourself a can of oil and a small bag of anchovy stuffed olives to munch on while walking through the market. They are to die for. Also on that street is Patisserie Auer which has been there since the year gimel. They are famous for their confit de fruits. I know how you pastry chefs are interested in these things :biggrin:. Also make sure you buy yourself a slab of socca at either the Chez Teresa stand in the market or at Rene Socca on rue Parioliere which is the main pedestrian street in the old town.

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we went to chantecler last summer for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it, they do a bargin lunch incl: wine which we went there for but once there all opted for different set menus..

fantastic food, wine, 4 hour lunch..ended up £400 for 4 adults and child..Totally forgot that there was sunshine outside !

on the same trip we went to La meranda (the chef was the previous chef at chantecler)

very rustic, chalkboard menu, 3 starters,3 mains,3 dessert..a choice of red,white or rose

had ratatouille, herbed cheese with rocket, legumes farci and daube with amazing socca

desserts, poached peach and a goats cheese..

have fun x


Edited by sarah w (log)

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Lesley -- Below is info on Bruno (see the latter half of the quote). As you can see, even the prices at the main restaurant (outside of Nice) are very reasonable. The selection is more limited at Terre des Truffes, but the dishes were nice when I visited last year. The only aspect I have wondered about, in connection with that restaurant, is whether they use frozen or other preserved truffles when applicable varieties are not in season. At TdT, be alert to the different types of truffles used when you order -- Melanosporum is the classic Southern French/Perigord black truffle, but other types of truffles are featured as well. The serving sizes are quite generous.

Bruno is the "Truffle King" described in the so-entitled chapter of Goose in Toulouse.

Another restaurant with rooms is Chez Bruno at Lorgues (3-5 rooms) [this is the main restaurant, and not the facility in Nice]; very roughly about halfway between Nice and Marseilles.  The place specializes in truffles.  Late this summer, I had lunch there with the below menu at 650 FF for Truffes Melanosporum (price would have been a very reasonable 320 FF for summer truffles).

Chou farci aux truffes, braise dans une sauce aux truffes (stuffed cabbage)

La pomme de terre des montagnes cuite en robe des champs aux girolles et creme de truffes (potatoes)

Foie gras avec des pommes vertes et des truffes, sauce aux truffes

Le miel aux truffes (honey)

Tarte tropezienne au leger parfum des iles (only non-truffled dish was dessert)

The previous day, I had had lunch at Terre des Truffes in Nice (close to the opera house), which is also owned by Bruno:

Le foie gras au torchon truffe a 10% a la Truffe Tuber Brumale, sa salade et son pain grille

La Brouillade aux truffes tuber brumale et truffes de saison  (velvety egg dish)

La pomme de terre en robe des champs, a la creme de truffes et truffes de saison (potatoes)

Ravioles de champignons de paris et foie gras, creme de cepes et truffes de saison

La truffe en feuillete au foie gras, poitrine fumme, Tuber Melanosporum (truffe en croute with black truffle)

Moelleux au chocolate, coeur de caramel aux Truffes Tuber Brumale; La tarte aux pommes, caramel de truffes; La creme glacee au caramel de truffes (shared) (chocolate, apple pie and ice cream, respectively, with caramelized truffle sauce).

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Lesley, my wife and I would narrow it down to between La Petite Maison and La Terre des Truffes. While Alain Lorca at Chanteclair is an interesting blend of himself and Adria, we found our dinner there not clearly focused and “hit and miss”. Some of it was interesting playing around with Nicoise cuisine and the rest, as we were to find out a week later, Adria inspirations without the whole Adria “gestalt.” La Merenda disappointed us last visit four years ago and we have not returned since.

La Petite Maison is the reference for Nicoise cuisine in a Nice restaurant. La Terre des Truffes is an ingenious example of restaurant creation. Neither restaurant has much charm, though La Petite Maison is lively and rather bustling. I recall the welcome and the service being more cold and snooty than it is now, and seems now more even-handed between the regulars and the tourists. La Terre des Truffes is small and elegant in a club kind of way; chrome and wood paneling. The menu at La Terre des Truffes is limited; five or six permanent dishes and three or four daily specials. Now is a good time to go with both white truffles of Alba and Truffes de Perigord in season. Prices are really reasonable for what you get, which are modest ingredients richly prepared with generous helpings of truffles. Of course they offer that which carries truffles the best: scrambled eggs; thick slices of potatoes in a cream sauce (our favorite dish); a warm salad of egg, ham, and lettuce; gnocchi with cream sauce; and a good “moelleux” of chocolate a la Michel Bras. (“Moelleux”, one of the more difficult words for Anglos to pronounce, need not be if you think of the classic Jewish joke about Moishe the Moyel + “euze”).

My wife finds that everyone we bring to La Terre des Truffes really loves it, as they have never encountered a restaurant quite like it. For a one-shot meal in Nice, she recommends that, as would I especially given the time of year. But a culinary professional such as you and your husband are, you may want to make a little survey of a classic, less-idiosyncratic cuisine. (Is there anyway you can have lunch at La Petite Maison and dinner at Les Terre des Truffes?) If so, I would each order one of the two assorted appetizer plates at La Petite Maison—the Nicoise appetizers and the seafood appetizers. Both are varied and plentiful, with just about every component delicious: the red peppers in oil and garlic, the petits farcies, amazing fried calamari, beignets, raw artichokes, etc. Main courses are less consistent. JD (London)’s wife had a risotto with summer truffles a few months ago that was very good (as much as I have a thing against summer truffles) and my wife usually sticks to pasta. Some of the offerings in the appetizer plates appear as main courses, so pay attention. Don’t miss the “gratin de fruits rouge” or any gratin made with berries. This is as good an example of this ubiquitous dish as I have ever had. Give it some time to cool. It arrives too hot to put in your mouth.

La Petite Maison is very popular. You must really book a bit in advance. La Terre des Truffes can get “complet” quickly given its small size. Is it just the two of you dining in Nice? I ask because La Terre des Truffes is ideal for sharing dishes among three or four people because the portions are copious. We always order four dishes for four people, for example, and pass them around. Because of the appetizer dishes at La Petite Maison, two people can taste much of the repertoire. The wine choice at La Petite Maison is significantly larger than that of La Terre des Truffes, although both establishments stick mainly or entirely, respectively, to bottles of the Southeast. Let us know what you decide and how it unfolds. Have fun.


Edited by robert brown (log)

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Wow, wow, wow! You are all so generous with your recommendations! Thank you.

There's a slight glitch in my plan, however, this is for Sunday night. I might be in trouble! :sad:

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Lesley, unfortunately both La Petite Maison and Terres de Truffes (other posters -- please note the correct if idiosyncratic spelling) are closed on Sunday. Terres de Truffes is listed in Gault Millau but not Michelin; La Petite Maison in neither. Both are well worth visiting on a future trip.

If you are out wandering, Fenocchio (place Rosetti) has about 999 flavours of very good ice cream, including interesting herbal mixtures like thyme, tomato/basil, rosemary...


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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If you need a Sunday opening, and want real Nicois food, I heartily recommend L' Univers, just off Place Massena. A beautiful restaurant, and go for the Daube Provencal, if you like a wonderful beef stew. Otherwise, grilled sardines (nothing like the American variety) are wonderful. Reservations a must. Don't miss the socca stands for lunch!! (I love pissaladiere as well-- onion tarts).

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Excuse me while I head out to jump off the nearest bridge. :shock:

Double drats! Menton 1 I'll definitely check out L'Univers.

Boy...I could already taste the truffles :sad: . Hopefully all those great suggestions will help others visiting Nice -- on a good day!

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Excuse me while I head out to jump off the nearest bridge. :shock: 

Double drats! Menton 1 I'll definitely check out L'Univers.

Boy...I could already taste the truffles  :sad: . Hopefully all those great suggestions will help others visiting Nice -- on a good day!

Leslie, I've discovered a website for L'Univers that may be helpful to you. It has the complete Menu Automne on it.

http://www.christian-plumail.com/plumail.html

Also be aware that Nov is truffle season, and Aups, about 2 hours away, can give you a truffle fix to last a lifetime. You can even take a half-day expedition with a truffle dog!!

But I have been to L'Univers more than once, and it has never disappointed. Bon appetit! (My avatar is a photo of the Nice-Plage!)

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Lesley, what's an hour between friends?

Locals have steered me away from L'Univers for value for money reasons primarily. But with Chantecler open, I think anyone who wanted to dine in the restaurant with the highest profile in Nice, especially when just about every other interesting restaurant was closed, it's a no-brainer with all due respects to Menton 1. If you are going to go down with the ship, at least make it a luxurious one. Regardless, there will be dishes among the more than a dozen that you will find interesting.

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Lesley, what's an hour between friends?

Locals have steered me away from L'Univers for value for money reasons primarily. But with Chantecler open, I think anyone who wanted to dine in the restaurant with the highest profile in Nice, especially when just about every other interesting restaurant was closed, it's a no-brainer with all due respects to Menton 1. If you are going to go down with the ship, at least make it a luxurious one. Regardless, there will be dishes among the more than a dozen that you will find interesting.

Robert, it's certainly OK not to agree 100% on these things; Certainly the Chantecler is a restaurant that is worth a visit. On the same subject, what is your feeling for Les Viviers? I have had a wonderful meal there as well.

On my many sojourns to Nice I have used the french guide, Le Guide Gantié. This one is so far superior to Michelin and Gault Milau, in my opinion. This is really a book for and by the french, so it seems to be much more objective than the others. See you on the Promenade!

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OK, I'd like to point out for any interested Nice visitors that EVERYTHING IS CLOSED IN NICE ON SUNDAY NIGHT!

I ended up in a touristy place eating fried lamb testicles, grey fish soup, and bad beignets. :blink:

At least the Chagall museum was amazing.

And by the way, I saw all those lovely restaurants mentioned. :sad:

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a) I accept this no use to you whatsoever (but you never know someone else might be in Nice on a Sunday)

and

b) You may loathe the chain of brasseries of which Brasserie Flo is one.

But, Brasserie Flo in Nice is open on Sundays (or was last year), the restaurant is in a converted theatre/cinema and is very well done, kitchen on the stage etc. The food was pretty good in a brasserie way, very good fish soup, good sea bass and rubbish rhubard crumble (ha something else we English are better at).

Granted it is not Chantecler, Univers de Christian Plumail etc.

Paul

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Gastronomie.com tells us that Jean-Marc Delacourt, the two star chef at Le Chateau de la Chevre d'Or in Eze-Village now has his own restaurant seven miles north of Nice in the village of Falicon. It serves a three-course and a five-course "menu" that he changes twice a week according to price and availability/seasonality of the produce. While the amount of euros of each menu isn't mentioned, Delacourt refers to it as "the right price". Plasma screens that depict the activity in the kitchen run the length of the dining room. With three plus Delacourt in the kitchen and two menus, it is a tightly-run operation. Nonetheless, this sounds as though it could be a nice addition to the dining scene given Delacourt's CV that includes being "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" in 1991, working at the Crillon and the Ritz and having as one of his two partners sommelier Franck Thomas, voted Best Sommelier of Europe. Stay tuned as they say.

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Menton, the name of the restaurant is Parcours.

Robert, I just saw your post. Perhaps this is a more updated article on gastronomie.com. Thanks so much again for the tip.


Edited by loufood (log)

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But Robert, I think your advice is best. I think a visitor to a village like Falicon is better off asking for the restaurant of Chef Delacourt!

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We all harbour romantic ideas, and for many of us these involve France and food. There is the small friendly place where the food is simple but wonderful. The sun sparkles on the brook from which the chef has just pulled a trout before sizzling it in butter and bringing it to the table. The vegetables were picked in the garden only moments before the meal. None of it costs very much and it's all good. It's all about "Provence", after all: warm sunlight, lovely colours, olive oil on everything, happy people, life lived at a gentle pace. Peter Mayle parlayed the romantic concept into book after book, and even Alice Waters was seduced by the idea of simple, unaffected cooking with perfect ingredients.

A cynic or deconstructionist might say that the romantic idea of simple, delicious food is nothing but a con. Our parish priest in Mougins likes to quote Derrida and to remind us that "Provence no longer exists" -- if it ever did.

Nonetheless, every now and then one of these romantic dreams comes true, at least for a short time. We stumbled onto Au Rendez-vous des Amis after arriving on a late flight and wanting to eat near Nice before restaurants closed. It was Sunday, so the choices were limited. It looked as though it might be tricky to find from Nice Airport, but we decided to chance it.

It was amazingly difficult to find -- in part because an entire series of identically named roads actually appears twice -- once halfway up a hill, and the other at its peak. We arrived frustrated and sweaty. But it was worth the detour; in fact it was worth the journey to find this place. We had reserved the last outdoor table of the evening, warning the owners that we weren't sure exactly when we would arrive: it would depend on the flight timing. "Don't worry," they said, "your table will be here when you are ready."

The menu is short and simple: EUR20 for three courses. I started with a tabbouleh with basil, my wife with ravioli, a dish for which this restaurant is well known locally. Both were superb: the ravioli meaty, with the pasta thin and very tender. The tabbouleh was the surprise: the flavours almost exploded as you tasted them; the basil was both worked into the tabbouleh and also served in a thin purée on the side.

Both of us had chicken flavoured with pastis and served with a rouille sauce; the menu identified the farm from which the chicken had come. We ate every morsel of a very large platter; the chicken was surprisingly flavourful and the sauce almost perfectly balanced. You are offered a choice of vegetables: ratatouille, creamy polenta, potatoes of various sorts. Again, we both had the ratatouille, though I am now sorry we didn't take one serving of the polenta. The ratatouille was lovely, each vegetable coming through clearly. Dessert was a bowl of cherries, poached in syrup and served with a scoop of ice cream dusted with pralin. Delicious, but not as outstanding as the other dishes that evening.

Simple, good, and appropriately priced: the Robert Brown/John Whiting school of gastronomy. These places still exist, no matter what the cynics say. This one is well worth seeking out.

Au Rendez-Vous des Amis

176 avenue de Rimiez, Nice

Tel 04 93 84 49 66

Closed Tuesday and Wednesday out of season, Wednesday in season

Directions: exit the A8 at "Nice Nord" and follow Route de Gairaut toward Falicon. At Falicon, turn right onto avenue de Rimiez. But arm yourself with a good map of Nice before trying this: the place is not easy to find. The nearest landmark is the Clinique St Georges.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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