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Restaurants In Nice - Anything Nice?


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Two casual spots I recommend are Le Safari in Vieux Nice, right at the base of Chateau Park. Had a wonderful two hour "snack" there consisting of Bagna Cauda, Pizza and a bottomless carafe of local pink.

Even more casual, Brasserie Lescalle on the harbor. They serve five or six different variations on Moules Frittes.

And I certainly second (or third) the previous recommendations for La Merenda and Cafe de Tourin. But I don't believe anyone mentioned that La Merenda has no menu. They serve only one (or two?) prix-fixe dinners per night. At least that's the way it was three years ago.

Best regards,

Skip Lombardi

http://www.skiplombardi.com

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La Merenda has a menu but it changes daily -- it's written up on a chalkboard which they bring round to each table.

Fenocchio is another interesting glacier (sorbet and ice cream shop) in Nice -- it's at the end of the flower market. In Cannes, there are wonderful ices at Vilfeu, on the rue des Etats Unis.

We really should compile a guide to the South, just as the Italy forum does for Florence, Rome, etc. These questions crop up again and again!

Jonathan Day

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

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Mr Food--

Pay particular attention to the comments of Robert Brown-- not only does he know Nice, but he has impeccable taste in restaurants!

(Jonathan Day ditto) :smile:

One comment is that I don't think I would go all the way to Italy on my first trip. There are plenty of excellent choices in Nice and environs to try without the long drive.

The only notable place I think they missed is Christian Plumail's L'Univers, a beautiful place with lovely creative cuisine.

L'Univers

54, blvd Jean Jaurès

(near Place Massena)

Edited by menton1 (log)
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Menton1, thank you for the kind words. I hope you're right. Jonathan, this will give you something to do this summer: compiling the guide, I mean. Don, thanks for the ice cream tip. It's one I don't know. I suspect, however, that Villfeu is unbeatable on the Cote.

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Jonathan-- as long as we're at it, I think it that those two restaurants up on the hill in Rimiez that we both discovered (independently) are worth a reprise mention. The directions are daunting, but both are a nice surprise when you get there!

Funny, we hardly talked at all on Eg France last summer about Nice, and now that winter is upon us, it is being discussed-- are we now throwing back to the winter popularity of Nice in the 30s? :wink:

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One comment is that I don't think I would go all the way to Italy on my first trip.  There are plenty of excellent choices in Nice and environs to try without the long drive. 

M1, I would support Robert in his advice to travel to Italy. Not because the food in Nice and on the Côte d'Azur isn't good -- it is -- but because the trip to Italy is fun and interesting.

First, you experience a dramatic change in landscape and architecture when you go into the tunnel in Menton and emerge in Italy.

Second, when travelling to Italy, even just over the border, you realise that why the best food in Nice is as good as it is. It's simple, taken from good fresh ingredients, not overly prepared or processed, a cuisine focused the products themselves. In other words, it's more Italian. A quick trip to Italy brings this to life and provides new insights on the dishes when you get back to France.

Finally, the market in Ventimiglia is very good. The drive from Nice can be unpleasant because of traffic jams, especially on Friday when the market is in full swing. In that case, the best approach is to take the train. It's slow but relaxing, and it brings you right into the centre of Ventimiglia.

Jonathan Day

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

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I'm still of the thought that the first time in Nice does not require the 1-hour drive to Italy. I do agree that the Ventimiglia market is unmatched, maybe overwhelming-- about 400 vendors. Some good deals, some not so good. Parking is extremely difficult. Without the car, you can't buy much. Choose your poison.

Italy does look different-- this part of Western Liguria, as Robert says, is like a grade-B movie set. A little tattered, a littly dirty, a little rusty. A big sea change from clean, perfect gardens, well manicured Southeast France.

Jonathan, what are the names of and directions to those 2 places we discovered in Rimiez?

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Jonathan, what are the names of and directions to those 2 places we discovered in Rimiez?

Restaurant Simon, 182 avenue de Rimiez tel 04 93 84 40 61

Au Rendez-Vous des Amis 176 avenue de Rimiez tel 04 93 84 49 66

You leave the A8 at exit 54 (Nice Nord) and work your way on ave de Gairaut toward Falicon. Eventually you'll turn right on the D114, which is the avenue de Rimiez.

Get yourself a good map and take a couple of tranquilisers before setting out. The route is bloody difficult but both restaurants are worth the journey.

Jonathan Day

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

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In Vieux Nice we always return to L'Ecurie for a meal; it's at 4, rue du Marché, toward the top of the little streets leading off the Cours Saléya. Nothing fancy, but very tasty offerings--including sometimes, as a daily special, farcis Niçois. The pastas are excellent, and I especially like the salad with garlic croutons and dressing.

However, we were totally turned off by the rudeness of the woman (the owner?) at La Petite Maison when we asked about a reservation for the following evening and so did not eat there as planned.

Local friends introduced us to the Café de Turin and its delicious seafood--don't miss it if that's something you enjoy.

Beyond Nice in the old village of Mougins is one of our very favorites, Le Feu Follet. The prix-fixe prices are moderate and the food innovative and excellent, in a pleasant setting. The restaurant is family owned and operated, and it shows in the welcome and service. We've taken our French "family" there several times, and they pronounce everything delicious; it's a comfortable place for family dining, too.

Edited by Underhill (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Le Petite Maison-the femme formidable could not have been more welcoming- The appetizer of shaved white truffles over a custard of egg and heavy cream was fabulous. Very enjoyable evening but not inexpensive but then nothing was given the pitiful dollar.

A fun lunch at Le Safari on their outside patio was a perfect place for people watching

Brasserie Flo- a chain but excellent with white glove service. Impressive room that once was a cinema. We sample from their festival of foie gras

menu. A wine bargain was an outstanding pinot blanc from Alsace at 14 euros. Unfortunately, I can't remember the producer

Les Cave de Anges (think that's right) is a wine store with a back area with a few tables where the everchanging menu is on a chalkboard. Grab a bottle off the shelves or enjoy their excellent if limited selection of wines by the glass.

The chef uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare deceptively simple meals. Seems to be an in spot for the locals.

Edited by mr food (log)
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A fun lunch at Le Safari on their outside patio was a perfect place for people watching

Brasserie Flo- a chain but excellent

Curiously, my last post was about the Flo chain. I'm not as critical of them as others and suspect they've saved a few nice brasseries in Paris from extinction. I haven't been in any of their attempts to export the concept to other cities or countries.

I fondly remember a pizza at le Safari. Perhaps it wasn't really a memorable pizza, but I enjoyed it as if it was.

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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Although it's some time away we are planning now for my father's 80th birthday. It will be right at the end of August and we will be staying just outside St Paul de Vence. But we have wheels. So the big decision is: where to go for the celebratory meal ?

La Colombe D'Or in St Paul is an obvious contender but I've heard it said that the food never quite lives up to the setting or the art. Is this true ? And failing that, where else ?

Ideally what are we looking for is, well, the usual things: impeccable food; delightful setting; graceful service. Unsurprisingly, Dad's vote is more likely to be swayed by classical accomplishment, rather than cutting edge modernity (loved Auberge D'Ill would have hated Gagnaire !). Budget can approach extrvagance but is not unlimited (E200/head 'all in' is probably reachable but not much more). Lunch or dinner. I'm guessing that rules out Louis XV.

Oh and just to make it particularly difficult for France, it would need to be open on the last weekend or Monday in August !

Finally, I have, of course searched the backposts but, perhaps more so than any other French region, its hard to sift from these a shortlist that fits the bill and wins consistent support across the famous diversity of e-gullet opinion.

So, please. All suggestions hugely appreciated. And if we pick yours I'll save you a bt of cake !

Regards,

Gareth

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I'll be interested in your diner at La Bastide de Moustier. Though I enjoyed our stay there, I was very disappointed in my dinner, the toughest lamb. This was the only disappointment in a place that I looked forward to.

Back to the Colombe d'Or for a third time.

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

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Here's another one to add to your list: Mantel, 22 rue St Antoine, in le Suquet in Cannes; telephone 04 93 39 13 10.

Noel Mantel, the chef, worked under Ducasse. The cooking is fresh and well balanced, with good ingredients; the courgette flower beignets are beautifully light. Mantel's cookery is just slightly Italianesque. The restaurant is small but elegant. We've dined there three times and enjoyed it a lot.

Jonathan Day

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

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And another, Il Lago at the Manoir de l'Etang, in Mougins. The Manoir is a lovely, old 20 room hotel, near a small lake ("l'etang") filled with waterfowl, a bit outside the old village. They formerly had a decent but not particularly special French restaurant.

Now the entire hotel has been redecorated in lighter and more modern tones, and the restaurant has become Italian -- but this is close to what you'd find over the border in Italy. The chef and brigade come from Naples. We had an outstanding chick-pea soup, a very good risotto, and simply but correctly grilled lamb chops and entrecotes, with beautifully selected porcini. Dessert, a souffle of Limoncello, was almost perfect. They don't have a set menu, so you can compose your own from antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci -- a pleasant change after too many set menus priced so that you would hesitate to order from the carte.

You might not travel from Italy to go to Il Lago, but it's a good addition to the many restaurants in the area. And for those seeking a hotel in these parts, the newly decorated Manoir de L'Etang looks like a winner.

Il Lago, 66 Allee du Manoir, in Mougins -- telephone 04 92 28 36 00. You leave the village, heading for Valbonne, but at the first roundabout follow the signs for the Manoir de L'Etang. It's no more than a 5 minute drive from the village.

Jonathan Day

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

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Gareth, it sounds like you may want to consider some of the luxury hotel dining rooms such as those of the Juana in Juan-les-Pins, or the Majestic, Carlton and Martinez in Cannes. This is as aspect of Cote d'Azur dining I don't get into much, having tried only the Juana and the Majestic, and not recently either. I have had mixed results at Jacques Chibois' hotel-restaurant in Grasse (Bastide St.Antoine), but people generally like it. To my mind, there are no restaurants down there that would knock your sox off, although you can get lucky. I also have come to believe that the Louis XV is a dying quail and a monmental rip-off. I wouldn't bemoan anything about not going there.

The Colombe d'Or is fine for having drinks at the bar and looking at the pictures in the dining room. Eating lunch outdoors is pleasant, but this is no culinary oasis.

Some of us like La Table de Mon Moulin, even though there is no choice in what you will eat.

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Gareth, it sounds like you may want to consider some of the luxury hotel dining rooms such as those of the Juana in Juan-les-Pins, or the Majestic, Carlton and Martinez in Cannes. This is as aspect of Cote d'Azur dining I don't get into much, having tried only the Juana and the Majestic, and not recently either. I have had mixed results at Jacques Chibois' hotel-restaurant in Grasse (Bastide St.Antoine), but people generally like it. To my mind, there are no restaurants down there that would knock your sox off, although you can get lucky. I also have come to believe that the Louis XV is a dying quail and a monmental rip-off. I wouldn't bemoan anything about not going there.

The Colombe d'Or is fine for having drinks at the bar and looking at the pictures in the dining room. Eating lunch outdoors is pleasant, but this is no culinary oasis.

Some of us like La Table de Mon Moulin, even though there is no choice in what you will eat.

Robert,

I have read your review from last summer on Le Louis XV and to be quite frank I am not sure I understand why you think it is a dying quail or why you say it has hit the skids. In your review it seems like not much was to your liking but there is no explanation why.

To quote you from another occasion:

We experienced some slippage in a few restaurants. As I reported earlier this summer, Le Louis XV, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Monaco has genuinely hit the skids. I don’t think it’s the fault of executive chef Franck Cerutti, either. When he tried for a few years to have his own restaurant, Le Don Camillo,  while working at the Louis XV, he had the best food in Nice. It is clear he is not getting the resources in Monaco that he once had, and, of course, Ducasse is too busy to give the Louis XV the attention he used to.

I am quite sure that Frank Cerrutti will not stop laughing if you ask him if he lacks resources. Although you are more than welcome to have your opinion, even if I get a sense you never miss an opportunity to take a piss on Le Louis XV for the sake of it, I think it is fair that Gareth is enlightened that your opinion that Le Louis XV is a dying quail or has hit the skids is hardly the prevalent opinion amongst people with some authority. Even if we completely discredits my opinion in this matter, which Gareth can read here, the fact remains that Le Louis XV is one of only very few restaurants that is top rated by virtually all the French restaurant guides. When they last year asked the top French food journalists which restaurants should be downgraded from three stars, Le Louis XV was one of only a few that did not receive any votes at all. I know that it is one of the favourite places for some of them. To Mr. Hayler (scroll down on the page) who has eaten through all the three stars of Europe, it is his number one favourite. There is more but I stop with this. In the light of the rather resounding positive ratings of Le Louis XV, it is quite fair to ask for that an opinion that Le Louis XV has hit the skids or is a dying quail should be little more elaborated than being supported by just sweeping assertions that certain dishes were not to ones liking or that Cerrutti lacks resources. Personally, I find this lack of resources issue enigmatic since I have no clue what resources you have determined he is lacking.

If it indeed is a dead quail, I am quite sure it is a fat one that was a fed on superb green peas from the old lady in San Remo and that it is stuffed with pristine black peak of the season truffles from Alpes de Haute-Provence.

Lunch at Le Louis XV is doable under the budget Garth has indicated. The multiple-choice lunch includes simple but correct wine, water and coffee.

Other restaurants on the Riviera worth trying is the very simple but charming le Cabanon in Cap d’Ail with a fantastic setting on a small peninsula in Cap d’Ail. Food is very simple, inexpensive but often very good and almost always prepared with super fresh ingredients. It is mostly patronised by locals and few tourists finds it due to its somewhat secluded location. The wine choices are limited and service can be slow.

As for restaurant la Terrasse in Juan les Pins, mentioned by Robert, it could be noted that it is closed and consequently lost its two stars this year. I have no news as to why or if it will reopen in another shape.

I would agree that la Colombe d’Or is no culinary oasis to say the least.

Hostellerie Jerome in la Turbie is a very good informal restaurant that serves food that can border exceptional but it is quite irregular. My most recent meal there was a bit of a rollercoaster with some exceptional dishes and some prepared with less than fresh seafood and a few obvious execution misses. But it is still worth going to and on a good day it is one of the better restaurants on the Rivera after Le Louis XV.

Gareth may also consider crossing the border and try one of the seafood places in Italy.

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

Gastroville - the blog

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I've been around fine art, academia and the world's greatest restaurants before the new reigning prince of Monaco was born. I don't "take a piss" ever on any restaurants or with anything that I have ever written about food, art, or design. I do enjoy, however, taking a piss in the fin-de-siecle public loo at the Hotel de Paris, but that has nothing to do with the Louis XV.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm too lazy to dig up the past Nice/Cote d'Azur topics. Therefore I'm starting a fresh one.

For several years I have passed a little restaurant in the Place Garibaldi that always intrigued me. Last summer I ended my curiosity and went there for dinner. Its name ( or double name) is Humbert/La Petite Alsace, and not Humbert (W.) Humbert. You will find it at the end of the arcade that marks the beginning of Rue Catherine Seguran where many antiques shops are. As the name implies, Humbert (which I believe is the owner-chef's last name) specializes in Alsatian cuisine, particularly several varieties of choucroute including a seafood one that I haven't yet tried. It is the kind of restaurant that is more for the locals; part-time Nice residents like myself; those who are dying for Alsatian cuisine; i.e. adore choucroute; or want to be reminded of what bistros were like 20 to 30 years ago. This is opposed to those who want to try the local cuisine while passing through, in which case I can't recommend the restaurant as helping to fulfill your aim. The portions are copious, to say the least, and I could find no skimping or cheating on anything in my three meals to date.. There are also bistro classics like terrine of foie gras and another of pork with a sauce of cherries. I also have had a good escalope deveau a la creme. However, the main event is the classic choucroute garni with a giant ham hock, several pork sausages, boiled potatoes, a thick piece of boiled ham, and a huge pile of cabbage. You can easily share one, which is what you can say about many of the dishes on the rather extensive menu. My wife proclaimed a tarte de fromage blanc as her all-time favorite of the genre. The restaurant requires patience as there is only one person serving the relative handful of tables and Humbert and a helper in the kitchen. I find La Petite Alsace a little jewel and one of a breed of bistros that is inexorably dying out to be replaced by le menu establishments. The wine list is modest and fairly-priced. We find the Riesling Kabinett at around 20 euros suitable for most everything on the menu.

Furthemores: La Merenda of Dominic le Stanc has been in peak form. The former two-star chef of Le Chanteclair at the Hotel Negresco has this little classic cuisine Nicoise bistro humming, contrary to the way I found it several years ago. Our most recent meal had as its most memorable event a 90 minute blackout that extended from Marseilles to Beaulieu. It was the only time I've been at La Merenda when you could have walked in at 9:00 and immediately sat down at a table. My wife and I were the only ones who stuck it out, giving us the opportunity to have a long conversation with Dominic. As many know, La Merenda has no phone and doesn't take reservations. There are a several ways, however, you might get a seat:

1. Get there early---say before 7:00 PM

2. Throw a note over the transom the afternoon of the evening you want to go.

3. Ask during the first seating if there is a place in the second seating

4. Try again around 8:30 to see if you can slip in between seatings if you are willing to eat in an hour. It's filling a spot between the departure of an early arrival and the arrival of a late-reservation holder. This is what happened to us on a second inquiry drop-by.

5. Don't give up. If turned away the first time, give it another try 30-60 minutes later.

6. I never tried it, but ask for a reservation for the next night. It could work.

To resuscitate an old recommendation, we feel for now that the best Nicoise meal is the roasted chicken and pommes purees at La Petite Maison. Preface them with the assortment of hors d'oeuvres Nicois (petits farcies, marinated red peppers, artichoke salad, breaded squid, and more) followed by a shared order of the risotto with summer truffles. The chicken is always on a supplemental menu that you may have to ask for; and as I posted recently, order the chicken as soon as your waiter makes your acquaintance. It's a 45-minute preparation. One chicken really is plenty for three people given the rest of the meal. The owner is a bitch on wheels, but pay her no mind. We have been at least 15 times and she is finally giving us grudging respect. Celebs get treated well here. It's that kind of place. Yet, it's one of the best run restaurants in Nice, though it can take a nod and a prod get the bill.

We had the misfortune of losing our dear friend Sandro Kroo, an Auschwitz survivor and a towering figure in philately who, beside writing many books, amassed an enormous stamp collection and curated the collection of the philately museum in Monaco. He also owned an apartment in the Palais-Hotel Materlinck where he would often invite us for lunch or dinner. We always found the cuisine rather banal and overreaching. However a couple of months ago Sandro's widow and love of his life invited us and a mutual friend for lunch. Whether we engaged in the phenomenon of wanting so hard to like the food or was solely the food itself, it was the first time that we experienced a delicious meal at the Maeterlinck. Of course we like to think it was the latter, and I think my wife and I have been around the block enough times to be able to invoke emotional distance in order to judge the cuisine on its merits. I believe there is a new chef there, which probably accounts for the difference. In terms of ambiance, there may be no more overwhelming spot in the area, if not beyond, for al fresco dining. Often I would stare at the number tattooed on Sandro's forearm and then look around at the privileged surroundings and out at the open sea with big private pleasure boats passing by, and reflect on his remarkable life while seeing in front of me the symbols of its extremes.

I didn't take notes, but almost every dish we had provided pleasure. The one negative, and a substantial one at that, was the terribly long wait between courses; so much so that I had to go inside and speak to the manager a couple of times to give him my "this is why the gourmands are dining in Spain and Italy" refrain. However, the service regained its footing after the main course and we left very contented, I didn't see the bill that I wanted to pay because our hostess. being a regular and a resident, took care of everything beforehand. I imagine, though, that your looking at 125-150 euros a head before wine and small gratuity.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 1 month later...

We'll be spending a Saturday night in Nice (old town) in late June. Any restaurant recommendations would be appreciated.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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