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Restaurants In Nice - Anything Nice?


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  • 2 months later...

I'm leading a group of 11 Norwegian (True Vikings) food and wine buffs to the Nice area the 16th-19th of October, and amongst other thhings this is our preliminary meal schedule:

16th:

By car transferring to La Bastide de Moustiers (booked for the night) with degustation dinner (and have put 2 Le Montrachet 1979 Ramonet on hold).

17th:

Lunch: Bastide de St. Antoine in Grasse on our way back to Nice where we'll be staying at the Elysee Palace for two nights.

Dinner: La Meridiana in Nice.

18th:

Lunch in Vence; Jacques Maximin.

Dinner: NEED HELP! (Considering Ch. Eze or Beaulieu Sur Mer).

19th:

Lunch: Chantecler in Hotel Negresco.

Departing back for Oslo at 8pm.

I'd appreciate comments and inputs, but do remember thatr we are a rather large (although well behaved, contrary to popular belief) group and need to do some booking in advance.

We do NOT want Louis XV, most of us have been there and consider it a poor value, and the fiood in itself none too spectacular.

Also: If you do know of excellent vineyards or wineshops with degustations in the area, this will also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Viking, this is nicely planned. La Merenda could be problematic. It doesn't take reservations in advance and because it is a very small restaurant, the chances of getting a table for 12 is remote. If you can write or call, perhaps they can arrange something. It is also an uncomfortable place to eat as one sits on a stool with no back rest. I haven't been in five years or so since my last meal wasn't really good. Jonathan Day went there a few months ago, so his opinion would be more valid than mine.

As I have written here before, I think La Petite Maison is the best for Nicoise cuisine. It is spacious and of solid comfort. Service can be slow, however. You might also consider Clement Bruno's (aka Bruno) La Terre de Truffes. It is small but somewhat elegant. You would not be all at one table. The menu is limited, but with the dishes that go well with truffles. Hope that they have good white truffles. It is a rich cuisine there, but in truffle season it is fun.

I am also very fond of a small, year-old restaurant called Jouni. He's Finnish with a good CV: el Bulli, Ducasse in Monaco and Spoon in Tokyo, somewhere in Parma as well. If you called him or his partner Giovanni, he would no doubt be pleased to make you all a special meal you would most likely enjoy very much. It's a really relaxed place and a foodie oasis for good talk and information and opinion. The food tends to a blend of French and Northern Italian. However, you could discuss what you wanted Jouni to make.

For your last night, the best restaurant in the Beaulieu-Eze area is La Reserve in Beaulieu. The chef, last I knew, is Robuchon-trained. It struck me as quite good, but not great, and overpriced unless you order the degustation. La Chevre d'Or lost its two-star chef to entrepreneurship and no one ever talks about Chateau Eza's cuisine.

If you would be content tasting simpler wines of Provence and those made in the foothills of Nice (St. Romain de Belley), let me know. There is a wholesaler/retailer in Nice with nice premises and a smallish but well-chosen selection of good wine of the region (also Romanee-Conti, old Armagnacs, some Bordeaux and Ctoes-du-Rhones and other Burgundy). I will have missed you coming and going. By the way there is a Norwegian contingent who have bought villas in the Cap de Nice area.

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Thanks a lot Robert, have already made a booking for Jouni for friday, but prepared to move it to saturday if La Merenda comes through!

And yes: Your wine retailer sounds just like what we're looking for. My reference to the Montrachet does not necessarily reflect our level of "wine label conciousness", but rather that they have this exceptional wine on their list at a fairly good value (The Ramonet brothers consider 1979 to be one of THE best Montrachets ever). Local wines intersped with a more general selection would be great!

I tried Chez Bruno for lunch last year, but was not overwhelmingly impressed at the time, but then again, it was not the season for good truffles...

The reason I'm still looking at La Merenda is that I want something contrasting with the rest of the *studded itineary, and for wholesome cooking with a difference and without the trimming, I thought this to be perfect..

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Some notes on "wholesome cooking with a difference and without the trimmings":

La Merenda, Nice; Le Bistrot de Mougins

Les Arcades, Biot

Au Rendez Vous des Amis, Nice near Falicon

Robert is right that La Merenda could be difficult for a large group. It isn't really set up for a long, langorous dinner of multiple courses. I didn't find the stools especially uncomfortable, but then we weren't lingering there for several hours. You can't call them because they don't have a telephone, but you might try ringing the olive oil store next door (I think but am not sure that this is 04 93 62 20 72) to see if they would speak with M le Stanc about a group booking. I doubt they would, though, since this goes against everything he has set up at La Merenda. Note that bookings at La Petite Maison can be erratic as well -- we once booked a group of 13, only to have it suddenly cancelled on us. They did manage to fit us in, though, after an hour's wait. The food at both places is very good.

Another place you might try is the Restaurant de Bacon, in Antibes. It has lovely views of the bay, and the fish and bouillabaisse are fresh and fine.

Of all the places mentioned here, Les Arcades has the most character and joie de vivre. The food is good, too.

Jonathan Day

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

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I would add that we were disappointed with Maximin's place in Vence. The welcome and the food were both rather chilly. The whole place lacked panache and energy, though the food was technically fine. I am much more enthusiastic about Chibois in Grasse. Our visit to Maximin was almost 3 years ago, so it's time for a recheck. The burden of research...

Another option for dinner after your lunch in Grasse is Le Bistrot de Mougins. It has character and charm, and they offer traditional dishes (civets and the like) that don't often make their way to fancier menus.

Jonathan Day

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

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I had lunch at La Bastide des Moustiers two years ago and just loved it. It's very pretty, but the food (at lunch at least) was quite casual. There's a lovely chef's garden behind the restaurant and the rooms are charming yet still quite luxurious. After dinner you can have all sorts of drinks at the bar downstairs along with assorted mignardises and a slice of the BEST tarte Tatin I have ever tasted (and I have tasted and made hundreds of these babies). The town of Moustiers St-Marie is just stunning (buy some plates). You are in for a treat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Robert --

I find myself in the happy position of having to travel to Nice for business, leaving tonight, and will be staying over a couple of days for fun. I wonder if you'd reveal the name and location of the of the wine shop to which you referred in your very helpful post. And, since we are rather budget-minded, any suggestions you had on a moderately priced place with an outdoor view of the sea would be much appreciated.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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None of the good restaurants in Nice look at the water. You will need to take a taxi or train (1 Stop) to Villefranche sur Mer, with about 20 restaurants draped around the port. One of the ones we have enjoyed is Le Nautic; it may be quite chilly when you go, however!!

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The wine shop is on the rue Henri Barbuse and the last name is Bessie or close to it. For a hotel on the Promenade des Anglais, that's a tough one. Laperouse may be a bit out of your price range and all the rooms don't offer a sea view. There's the West End that may be less, and that's right in the middle of the Promenade, while Laperouse is at the bend at the far end (Actually on the Quai des Etats-Unis near the old port.) For luxury modern closer to the airport is the Raddison. Better located is the Meridien. Great location. Maybe as a chain hotel you could get a deal. God know they all need the business.

I hope I'm not too late. Bon Voyage

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Forced to stay at the Sofitel - due to my colleagues preference for business facilities over charm. No matter, we will seek charm in the streets and hillsides of the Cote d'Azure -- not to mention the wine.

Thanks.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The Sofitel, while short on charm is more than serviceable and well staffed. It's also conveniently enough located. I would not advise the restaurant however unless it's much improved. Of course that was about ten years ago.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Lunch: Chantecler in Hotel Negresco.

The restaurant and hotel can only be described as high camp. The food is unfortunately not very good - I had a fairly nasty meal there last Christmas. Maybe this was because it was low season - either way - don't expect 2 stars - or even one for that matter.

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Aside from eating, are there any cultural stops planned? I'd certainly recommend a day trip to St.-Paul-de-Vence for a visit to the Maeght Foundation and a stroll through the village itself. And of course there's La Colombe D'Or there. I really wouldn't miss the opportunity to visit here - one of the most beautiful villages I've ever seen. I have a print of a watercolor of the village up on the hill behind the ramparts proudly hung in the hallway of my house. I sigh every time I pass it... :smile:

Check out This link or This link for a photo tour of St. Paul-de-Vence to whet your appetite.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Speaking of the Fondation Maeght (pronounced "Mag") there continues until early November a terrific exhibitgon of Soviet avant-garde painting and sculpture from the teens through the 1920s. There are many works from provincial museums that you may never get the chance to see otherwise. I was in heaven.

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A less talked-about jewel is the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton (My namesake!!) a quirky building with many of his works including the famous Innamorata series.

Menton itself is also a breathtakingly gorgeous seaside town, and the inner streets of the old town wind up to the fantastic square on high with 2 churches, the St-Michel and the Penitents Blancs with a spectacular view of the bay and the Port.

A visit to this often-neglected-by-tourists Village and you will discover why I chose it as my nickname!!

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Thanks again for good advice, we're stioll working on finalizing our plans, and I'll keep you posted as well as trying to write up a trip report at the end..

La Merenda seems to be dodgy for advance reservations, even the local Amex concierge couldn't get one as she turned up at their door... So it might be Jouni for friday night, or Au Rendez-Vous des Amis..

Blind lemon: (Great name btw, did you pick it up from Cheech'n Chongs Blind Melon Chitlin'? :biggrin: )

As for Chantecler; I was there for lunch last year, and I do agree that it might not be 2* quality, but provides excellent value for lunch, not dinner.

Katie:

Yes, we will be stopping by St.Paul de Vence, off season it should be less crowded than usual, but many of our group's members now find it a wee bit too tourist oriented.

Busboy:

Please let me know what you thought of Robert's wine shop recommendation (After you've finished carrying out all the DRC wines).

And finally: As a newbie to eGullet: Great forums with lots of similar minded enthusiastic Gastronauts(TM registered) providing lots of helpful info, thanks!

Edited by The Viking (log)
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Further to Jonathan's comment on Maximin, we also found the welcome slightly chilly when we went there in the summer of 2002. We had booked a month or so in advance and checked that they could cope with vegetarians, then phoned up the day before to confirm both the booking and that we were vegetarian, and yet they still seemed rather surprised when we announced that we were vegetarian on the night itself. That said, after some toing and froing, they put together a really fantastic menu for us which was significantly cheaper than the other menus on offer (somewhere in the 60-80 Euro range). We also heard the chef bollocking someone in the kitchen, and wondered if it was because they had neglected to tell him about our preferences... The standout dish was a gratin of cocoa beans in cream and herbs, though the cheese course (which was not listed on our menu) was also great as it came with some lovely dried fruit and roasted garlic which oozed its juices.

It sounds, Viking, as though you are very familiar with the cultural sights in the region, but let me just mention Matisse's Chapelle du Rosaire, if only so I can remind myself of how wonderful that place is, even in spite of the mobs of fellow tourists who were there along with us last summer.

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The wine shop is on the rue Henri Barbuse and the last name is Bessie or close to it. For a hotel on the Promenade des Anglais, that's a tough one. Laperouse may be a bit out of your price rnge and all the rooms don't offer a sea view. There's the West End that may be less, and that's right in the middle of the Promenade while Laperouse is at the bend at the far end (Actually on the Quai des Etats-Unis near the old port. For luxury modern closer to the airport is the Raddison. Better located is the Meridien. Great location. Maybe as a chain hotel you could get a deal. God know they all need the business.

I hope I'm not too late. Bon Voyage

Robert, the wine shop is Robert Bessi, and the address is 3, av. Henri Barbusse.

I would also like to put in a good word for the Hotel Frisia, in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. We stayed there for 6 nights in the beginning of September, and it was super. We looked right at the sea, had a very large room, a very large terrasse, a brand new giant bathroom, a/c, easy parking on the street, and the staff was possibly the most friendly and helpful we've ever experienced in France. I will definitely go back!! All this for the UNBELIEVABLE price of 125 Euros!!

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Jonathan, we tried to go to this place the first week of September, on a Tuesday, but I guess they feel that September is "out of season" so they were closed.

The good news is that your directions were perfect, I found it with no problem, no wrong turns. The other good news is that right next door is a place called Restaurant Simon. A beautiful outdoor courtyard was 3/4 full, so we decided to go. Also, a very interesting hillside neighborhood, high above Nice towards the back country. We had a very nice meal, we had moules as an appetizer, then we had a stockfish dish, and a carre d'agneau that was perfect. It seems this restaurant has been serving food for over 200 years, all in the same family, back many generations.

When we left, it was dark, of course, and the neighborhood is very atmospheric, very quiet, yet so close to Nice.

Thanks for directing us up to Rimiez, even though your place was closed, Simon made it worthwhile!!

Restaurant Simon

182 Avenue Rimiez

Nice

(Use Jonathan's directions!)

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Don't you think these places are extremely difficult to find? And even eGullet is almost more in higher hemispheres to talk about this sort of places.

But I wrote this week about a place in expensive Brussels where they offer a great 3 courses menu for 19,60 € as well, and that I also visit because of the very interesting, not very known but very good wines. People just tend not to believe me, although I write mostly about Michelin starred restaurants.

And then I went to an "innovative" cuisine (according to Michelin) in Northern France the next day, which was highly disappointing and to me very old-fashioned. We paid 30 € a meal for this ordinary meal...

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Restaurant Simon looked (and smelled) good when we walked by, and after Menton1's review it is now on my list of places to try.

A problem with many of these "little gems" is that their menus and wine lists are often very short. So you need to have several of them on your list of bonnes addresses, or dining can get a bit boring!

Jonathan Day

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

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VIKING,

One place you could try out is the new restaurant of Delacourt, the guy who made Chevre d'Or into a two star restaurant. He has opened a restaurant in Falicon. It is a designer style restaurant (must have cost a fortune to create) with a view that almost matches that of Chevre d'Or. The food is very good at reasonable prices. Last time I was there there were two menus, one at 35 euros and one at 45 euros. For that you are served four to five courses of well executed cooking made with fresh products. It is not spectacular but I do not know any place in this region where you eat that well for that kind of money. The sommelier is Frank Thomas who is one of the most talented young sommeliers in France (His price collection is impressive). The wine selection has a slight touch of "new restaurant", that is to say rather small. I am sure that if you call them in advance they will be able to do a special event for you, considering it is a newly opened restaurant that should be keen on getting customers.

The restaurant is called Parcours and is in Falicon. 04 93 84 94 57.

When my glass is full, I empty it; when it is empty, I fill it.

Gastroville - the blog

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I had a less positive experience at Parcours than did Jellybean. It is an interesting choice if you go with a friend or a couple, but for Viking's purpose, I don't think he and his group would be too happy. There is really no choice in food, and the wine list is a joke, although I didn't see anything about a "Price Collection" Would you elaborate, Jellybean? I agree that the food is nicely made and it is a value for the money. I just don't like eating with one hand tied behind my back, on top of which I am a foe of tasting menus except when reasons for taking it are overwhelming.

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I don't know the restaurant or its wine list. I suspect "price collection" may well have been a typo for "prize collection" referring to a small group of excellent bottles. I trust Jellybean will elaborate on that. I'm a fan of tasting menus and while they are not always equally successful, they have many advantages. Not the least of these advantages is the balance of the composition of the meal. For any group of eight or more eating together, there's the advantage that it's far easier for a restaurant to ensure every dish reaches the table in perfect condition than if they are trying to get several different dishes out at the same moment to the same table. For a group whose interest is the food, I think a tasting menu provides the opportunity to share as repast and to discuss it on equal terms.

Unfortunately, Jellybean's first post is a restaurant recommendation for one that most of us don't know. Thus it's going to be difficult to weigh his advice. Nevertheless, it seems like an address worth knowing, even more so with Robert's comments about value. I don't understand the reference to "eating with one hand tied behind my back." Is that because there is no choice in the menu? Some of my favorite bistro meals in Paris have been at restaurants with limited choice and even with only one set menu for the evening. This is a very subjective thing, but I'm happy to reserve at a place that offers no choice, if it comes well recommended. I also suspect that a group of twelve could arrange a menu in advance, allowing for some dependency on what's in the market that day.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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