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Restaurants In Nice - Anything Nice?


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Evidently La Petite Maison is not far from the Beau Rivage, where we'll be staying--there was a recommendation for the restaurant on the tripadvisor.com site. So that goes on the list. La Merenda is one I've been curious about for years...perhaps this time we'll get there.

Thanks, all; I'll post reviews on our return.

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Last year we had the pleasure, thanks to Robert Brown, of joining him at La Petite Maison. It was an exquisite meal. From the artisan bread laid right on the tablecloth like a place setting, to the "as good as Bresse" roasted chickens, the place was wonderful. Always packed with locals as well. Make sure to make a res. La Merenda is quirky and fun, if a little uncomfortable. Daube Provençal is the dish to order here. (Beef stew).

Le Safari is a fun place to eat late right on the Cours Saleya, and if you take a 10 minute walk east on the Quai to the Vieux Port, you can try La Zucca Magica, another quirky place with no menu, they just keep bringing out courses. Quite good, with cute "citrouilles" adorning the walls. (Naturally). If you will have a car, I can also recommend a place up in the hills of Rimiez that I discovered thanks to Jonathan Day...

Don't miss the street food: Socca, Pan Bagnat, Pissaladière. Unique to Nice!

(I also stayed 2 years ago at the Beau Rivage, hope your experience is better than ours!)

Another great internet source for you is the Guide Gantié:

http://www.guidegantie.com

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we have family in nice, and so have gone there at least once a year for the past 6 years. i agree with all that has been said but i would add a little restaurant off the tourist path. it was recommended by our french daughter-inlaw's parents. a young couple own and work there and it is low key, not very expensive and worth a visit. le comédien on 16 rue delille phone #04 93 92 72 08 it is open every day for lunch and dinner except sat lunch.

another good and local restaurant off the beaten path is aphrodite. i can't remember or find the card for it but it is close to avenue juan medecin, i think. there is a good tourist bureau along the promenade anglais that should be able to help you with info. if you have enough time try to take the train to monaco. great clean place with a very interesting garden and acquarium

in nice go to the chagall, and matisse musees- again get info at the tourist info office.

have fun and i may have some more info by mid september when i return, as i am leaving tomorrow for nice......

bon voyage,

aliénor

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I echo the recommendations for La Merenda. My spouse and I spent five weeks in and around Nice - frequently returning to La Merenda - excellent food - eccentric service - great location - an always interesting clientel.

There are two sittings in this small restaurant - 7:00 and 9:00. Should you be in the neighbourhood and find them closed - shove a note under the doorrequesting a reservation - it worked for me!

Don't miss the stuffed sardines, the pasta pistou, and the daube.

Forget wine pretensions - should you enquire you will be given two choices red and white! (both good local selections)

Enjoy

While in Nice, you might want to visit Menton to the East and just over the Italian border - Ventimigllia (especially on a Friday for a great open-air market) - quite different from Nice.

Don't be reluctant to use the trains - they are cheap, efficient and frequent.

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The Beau Rivage was entirely remodeled last winter and since then has received very good reviews at the tripadvisor.com web site. So we're hopeful.

Now all I have to do is whittle those recommendations down for our 2 lunches and 2 dinners! The rest of our time we'll be dining at the home of friends who live near Grasse and with whom we'll be checking out La Table de Mon Moulin.

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I am broadening my list. Fortunately, for me, I will be able to try more of these places than Jean, as I will be in the area for 10 days!

I'm pleased to read the note about taking the local buses and trains as I had been told that it is the way to do it. I have an apartment in Villefranche-sur-Mer and was told to catch the bus very nearby and would be in Vieux Nice in about 15 minutes, via a most scenic route! I did hear that there was some road/tunnel construction near Monaco and the trains might not be that reliable..also that it might be finished by the 1st of October..will see......

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The Beau Rivage was entirely remodeled last winter and since then has received very good reviews at the tripadvisor.com web site. So we're hopeful.

Now all I have to do is whittle those recommendations down for our 2 lunches and 2 dinners! The rest of our time we'll be dining at the home of friends who live near Grasse and with whom we'll be checking out La Table de Mon Moulin.

If you'll be near Grasse, you might try the Bastide St Antoine; I have had some fine meals there. It's pricey (two stars) but can perform at a very high level. They have a non-smoking room, something still rare in France.

In Mougins, near Grasse, ALain Llorca, the new chef/owner of the Moulin de Mougins is doing interesting things. Lunch is good value: € 58 for champagne, wine, three courses (plus amuse-bouches and pre-dessert), mineral water, coffee, mignardises. He has held to former chef/owner Roger Vergé's concept of "cuisine du soleil". The lunch we had there was light, pleasant, with lots of energy and no technical flaws. I have yet to see what he would do with a dinner from the carte, wines from the main list, cheeses, or the "ronde de tapas" which is a somewhat el Bulli-ish round of twelve small dishes, e.g. mussels with colombo spices and kiwi, warm foie gras with old vinegar reduction and "barbe à papa" (= candyfloss = cotton candy).

If you venture east, stop in La Turbie for the Hostellerie Jérome. Simple but very good.

Also worth checking out in Nice is Terres de Truffes (= Trufflesville), Clément Bruno's truffle boutique and restaurant. It's almost adjacent to La Petite Maison. Truffles in every course, including dessert. Even though this is the wrong time of year for truffles, it's a diverting place to eat at least once.

Jonathan Day

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

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Thank you for the additional places. I will also be going to La Table de Mon Moulin to check out Silva along with some other places on trips to the "hinterland".

I had the pleasure of dining in Mougins when Verge was still there. It was a treat. I plan to try Fue Follet in Mougins..it is a favorite of Underhills..we enjoy many of the same places, both for lodging and for dining.

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  • 2 months later...

Bonjour,

I'm a Washington DC egulluteer travelling to Nice with my spouse for the first time. Any advice on restaurants (all price ranges) and sites to see would be greatly appreciated. We're staying between the airport and the old part of Nice and will have a car. Thanks and I know I've come to the best place.

Jay

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One of the best meals I had in Nice was at Le Miranda (sp.?) I don't have the address with me but I found it through another page in egullet. I will look for it tonight. I believe the owner used to run the 2 Michelin star hotel restaurant across the street and got fed up with the high volume and opened up his own place with less than 20 seats. They are only open for dinner, closed Sunday and Monday, they do not have a phone, to make a reservation is somewhat of a secret, you have to talk to the man in the olive oil shop next door to the left. And he will give them your name and time preference. I ate there 3 times and every night it was full. the restaurant itself is tiny, there are basically two tables and every one sits very close, I met a ton of great people there, after I told one person I was a cook from the us just traveling and eating, every one started passing plates around for me to taste. One of the most memorable meals I had there was braised veal face. Please let me know if you do eat there. And I'm sure you will have an amazing time.

"Only the tougne tells the truth..."-F.A.

revallo@gmail.com

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When I die, if I am good, I will go to Nice. This thread will give you a good start, I believe there are others with more updated info, as well. Be sure to eat the street food as well as the haute cusine.

Have fun!

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I was in Nice several years ago with a friend and I dragged her to a MEXICAN restaurant we saw when we were walking around. (Poco Loco, 2, rue Dalpozzo is the address and as a side note they also have a restaurant in Cannes as well called Mexico Loco) We had been out of the states for about a month and I can't live w/o a taco from time to time. Now I know you aren't going to Nice to eat a taco salad with tuna in it :biggrin: but while my friend didn't like it and wouldn't have gone if I hadn't dragged her, I thought it was fun to try the local food turned into another type of food. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you need a taco - I would go there :blush:

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One of the best meals I had in Nice was at Le Miranda (sp.?) I don't have the address with me but I found it through another page in egullet.  I will look for it tonight. I believe the owner used to run the 2 Michelin star hotel restaurant across the street and got fed up with the high volume and opened up his own place with less than 20 seats.  They are only open for dinner, closed Sunday and Monday, they do not have a phone, to make a reservation is somewhat of a secret, you have to talk to the man in the olive oil shop next door to the left. And he will give them your name and time preference.  I ate there 3 times and every night it was full.  the restaurant itself is tiny, there are basically two tables and every one sits very close,  I met a ton of great people there, after I told one person I was a cook from the us just traveling and eating, every one started passing plates around for me to taste.  One of the most memorable meals I had there was braised veal face.  Please let me know if you do eat there.  And I'm sure you will have an amazing time.

I don't believe the olive oil guy actually takes reservations, he didn't the night we ate there, but he told us to hang out and wait for the evening shift to begin and ask whoever opened the place up. My wife and I found a little cafe with a view of La Merenda's front door and ordered a demi-pichet of the local pink and waited until someone (who turned out to be our waiter, later) rolled up a scooter and opened the place up. I wandered over and scored us a table for the early (American :laugh: ) seating -- we were jet-lagged -- paid for the pink and wandered around the vielle ville until it was time to eat.

By the way, the olive oil guy has some damn good oil. Italian, though, and not French.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Bonjour,

I'm a Washington DC egulluteer travelling to Nice with my spouse for the first time. Any advice on restaurants (all price ranges) and sites to see would be greatly appreciated. We're staying between the airport and the old part of Nice and will have a car. Thanks and I know I've come to the best place.

Jay

LA MERENDA - an institution - a great choice - recently returned from a 5-week vacation in Nice and environs. Excellent food - an easy to navigate wine list - red or white!

On our first visit, I shoved a reservation request under the door in the late morning - early afternoon - for the second evening seating... later in the day, I dropped by La Merenda in the hope that I was able to secure a reservation - Did indeed.

The stuffed sardines are great - so too is the Daube ... actually everything. We had to make additional reservations to sample the menue.

Enjoy

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Jay, La Merenda is indeed a fine local restaurant, but there are many, many delicious places to eat in Nice and environs. A few steps from La Merenda is La Petite Maison, which takes reservations in the ordinary way and has very good Nicois food. A few steps further takes you to Terres des Truffes (Truffleland!) where even the apple tart after your meal is flavoured with truffles. And the towns around Nice have many good restaurants -- Monaco, La Turbie, Cannes, Grasse, Mougins...the list goes on and on.

Aim the search engine at the France forum and look for some of these town names, plus Cote d'Azur, South of France, Provence. You'll find many relevant threads with useful information.

Jonathan Day

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

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I haven't been to Nice since 1993 and, therefore, have no useful restaurant info to impart, but I just want to encourage you to try local specialties, including those which you might find in street stalls and not in restaurants, such as Tourte Blette, which is a delicious confection that - no kidding - features Swiss chard. The Nice I remember was filled with a variety of different types of eateries - Nicois, those featuring cuisine from other parts of France, Italian, Tunisian, Vietnamese, etc. I found both Jewish and Muslim Tunisian bakeries selling delicious Tunisian sweets made with date paste, fig paste, almonds, hazelnuts, honey, etc. Explore, and have fun!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I trust you will look for and find the person selling socca, a thin chickpea plour pancake, in the cours Saleya. Socca can also be had in little places that specialize it.

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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Here's the best dining advice you can possibly have if you are staying in Nice (or better yet further east), have a car, and don't mind driving up to an hour each way (which probably means going for lunch). Go to Italy: specifically these restaurants:

1. Balzi Rossi. An excellent Michelin one-star with inventive Ligurian food. It is literally yards over the border in Ventimiglia. Use the "Basse Corniche through Monaco, Rocquebrune and Menton to get there. In Menton join up with the road on the sea.

2. Baja Benjamin. Stay on the same road and soon after Balzi Rossi you will see the sign. The restaurant has slipped a bit, but its enchanting location on the sea and its tropical gardens make this a memorable visit. The food is still very good.

3. Via Romana in Bordighera. For this you take the autoroute in Nice and get off at Bordighera, the exit after Ventimiglia. Ask directions to the restaurant (in the Hotel Londra) because it's not on the main drag, but above. Delicious seafood and a nice prix-fixe lunch menu. It's perhaps the most refined of these three.

Back in Nice, the dining scene is notably mixed. La Merenda is worth a visit, but not every dish is a winner. Throwing a note over the transom does work, I can confirm. Otherwise, check in around 6:30-7:00 or toward the end of the first seating, say around 8:30 and see if there's a spot for 9-9:30. The tomato tarte is superb if there's any left and the pasta with pesto I like also.

La Petite Maison is the best cuisine Nicoise in town. Lunch is more peaceful; dinner can be crowded and rather noisy with slow service. Order the roast chicken on the supplemental menu. Make sure they give it (the menu) to you. It is made to order and takes 45-50 minutes. Therefore put your order in as soon as the waiter makes contact with you. It comes with delicious pommes purees. One chicken is enough for two, even three. Before, order the hors d'oeuvres Nicoise, a really nice array of classics--petits farcies, breaded and fried squid, artichoke salad,etc. Also the truffle risotto is tasty. Reserve the morning of, especially for dinner. This is the hangout for the local swells.

Grand Cafe de Turin is a basic, no-reservation, classic turn-of-the-century seafood restaurant. It is very popular with locals and tourists. Service is like the old Ratner's---perfunctory and functional. Oysters are delivered on Tuesdays and Saturdays and are the items to order along with crevettes and mussels. A simple bottle of Muscadet fills the bill and keeps it low. It's open straight through for lunch and dinner. Be prepared to wait a bit in peak hours, especially at dinner.

Our other spots:

Kei's Passion, a little place behind the Palais Mediterrane owned by a young Japanese chef can be very good, although not every dish on the smallish menu is a hit. It's friendly, though, and you can eat well for not a princely sum.

For couscous La Gazelle d'Or in Cagnes-sur-Mer on the beach road (look in the phone book and book ahead.). Sometimes it's closed for no apparent reason (lack of reservations?). Couscous Royal (lamb three ways) is the only dish available. It's well above average and real comfortable for the tummy.

La Table de Mon Moulin in Le Rouret (45 minutes from Nice) is much written about elsewhere in the France forum. Not super-great but can be tasty snd a good deal. It's the luck of the draw as one meal fits all.

Upscale, I haven't checked out Le Moulin de Mougins since Roger Verget sold it to Alain Lorca. Nor have I been to Le Chantecler in the Hotlel Negresco since Lorca left. I hear the new chef Michel del Burgo is tempermental and not always at work.

At Ducasse in Monaco, it looks like the Principality has cut back on it. It's now a rip-off catering to rich culinary know-nothings. The Robuchon Atelier in the Hotel Metropole may please you one time, but that's all. You can do better for your money. It works better in Paris. The food is shallow, made in advance for the most part.

The best restaurant in the Alpes-Maritimes may well be Hostellerie Jerome (don't pronounce the "s") in La Turbie. It's a Michelin two-star where the cooking is solid and restrained. The choice is on the limited side, but there is a fairly-priced fixed menu that offers highlights of the chef's repetoire. I like the San Remo prawns with lemon sauce and the raspberry tarte. Follow the signs to the post office and park in the lot there. Look for a stone building by the post office and climb the exterior staircase. Or ask directions.

Loulou is Cagnes-sur-Mer is suffering... Maximin is the most hit-or-miss place around. The guy is unpredictable and red devils seem to continue to rule his life. It can be excellent or a travesty. Avoid La Domaine du Chateau St. Martin in Vence for all its worth.

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OK, while we're at it here are a few more.

In Mougins, try Côté Mougins, a new place located outside the old village, and Le Bistrot de Mougins, and old standby in the village. Most of the restaurants in the old village are decent, with the exception of Feu Follet, which has slipped badly. We had a very pleasant lunch at the newly opened Moulin de Mougins under Llorca. At lunchtime for EUR 58 you get 3 courses, wine, mineral water and coffee. The cooking was bright and precise.

In Le Rouret, Clos St Pierre can be good at lunchtime.

In Cannes, try the newly opened Mantel, 22, rue Saint Antoine. Noël Mantel, the chef, was a student of Alain Ducasse. We had a well prepared and fairly priced lunch there.

In Biot (you do pronounce the "t"): Restaurant Des Arcades. The menu is OK but the off-menu daily specials can be outstanding -- ask the waiter what's good that day.

Happy hunting!

Jonathan Day

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

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Don't miss the Maeght Foundation on a short trip to Saint-Paul-de-Vence! Or the Chagall museum in Nice. Two of the most beautiful museums I've ever visited.

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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You might also consider a visit to Villefranche for lunch or dinner on the harbor. You should arrive before sunset if you go for dinner. It is a remarkably unspoiled setting, right next door to Nice. We had two very nice dinners at La Mere Germaine. The fish was very good and the service was great. If you drive, they have a valet, although finding your way down to the harbor can be a challenge. http://www.meregermaine.com/index_en.htm . There are other more casual places as well. The Chapelle St. Pierre across from the Hotel Welcome (which is superb) is well worth a visit. As is the Matisse Chapel in Vence.

In Nice, after lunching on the Cours Saleya, make sure you take the elevator up to the Chateau park, where the view is wonderful in all directions. You can see L' Ane Rouge on the old port from there, and remember it for dinner.

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