Finding that perfect place to eat at various times in the day is great fun when you have such a mix of cultures, residents and visitors in a town like Nice. New restaurants are popping up all the time, and some have been for years and years. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me, both with my young family, on a romantic evening with my wife, with friends or just on my own.
Follow the sun
One of the great sports in Nice in winter ( and to an extent Autumn and Spring ) is finding that spot where the sun shines for that morning coffee, lunch and if you’re lucky, teatime. Nobody likes the shade, unless its summertime when the locals happily give the sunny seats to the tourists. Made Dogs & Englishmen and all that jazz..
The Monaco side gets gorgeous evening sun and Ma Nolans terrace is always very busy come 5 o clock ( the sun and happy hour combination ). There are loads of other restaurants to enjoy on this side of the port ( Quai des Deux Emmanuels) which doesn’t have the traffic that the other side does. There is a a great new cycling cafe at the end of the port called Cafe du Cycliste which will feed you, cloth you ( in cycling gear ) and rent you a top end bike to tour the Cols of the Riviera with.
For cheap and cheerful but always decent grub try La Barque Bleue – stays open late so if you’re looking for something after 10, this is often open until midnight.
This part of Nice is going through a big development and new places are popping up all of the time so experiment.
Giuseppe e Pepino, a brasserie/ice cream parlour, has a huge, sunny terrace in Place Garibaldi and offers a breakfast menu, snacks at any time of day, home-made ice-cream, etc. It is consistently great value and has a lovely house Rose that is cheap as chips. Its all about the terrace ( especially at lunchtime ), but the inside is really chic and a good option in winter.
A Nice institution calls Garibaldi home and this is Cafe de Turin. Going strong for over 100 years this is the place if you like shellfish. Not everyones cup of tea but if you like old school Parisian cafe culture with lots of fish, this is the place to go.
The street that the apartment is on is absolutely blessed with great places to eat. We LOVE Comptoir Central Electrique which is across from the apartment and is a refurbished electrical shop. The boss man was nabbed from another great restaurant nearby ( La Rosalina ) and is very friendly and remembers people. He is a bit of a hipster but in a good way and makes this a very trendy local. This is one of the the most popular places with the beautiful crowd in Nice, but I have always found it very friendly and they have a super cocktail list and a great wine by the glass list, as well as a very reasonable food menu – more fun night out than gourmet meal but very good. They also treated the kids like royalty so don’t be put off. We often find it a great place to get that nightcap as its about 15 steps from the door of the apartment.
Cafe des Chineurs
This is at the top of the street where Bonaparte meets rue Cassini ( just before Place Garibaldi ). It is in the bottom floor of the recently renovated Hotel Geneve and is always busy but worth the crowds. Think 50s American burger joint meets French new wave 60s but with affordable food and a great organic wine list. Once again, super hip but super friendly.
Super cafe near Chineurs – VERY busy at lunchtime with lots of Ferraris outside. Not exactly child friendly but the coffee is amazing and they have a wonderful bakery. Good for mid morning sun on the small terrace.
Au Vieux Four
Many people have written about this place and why not. Around the corner from the apartment on Place du Pin, this is an institution in Nice. Consistently voted the best pizza in Nice, great for takeaway or sit down. VERY reasonable and a huge hit with the locals.
The new street that everyone is talking about ( around the corner)
There has been a lot of new and exciting wine bars and restaurants opening up very near Bonaparte as you head down to the port. Down around rue Lascaris there are some great spots – Jan is top end, Vinivore is classic French and has a great wine list.
We had friends who came back recently and they were raving about Gusto at 12 rue Lascaris. Service was a bit slow they said but the wine flowed and the food was amazing. There are new places popping up along this strip so just follow your nose. This is the next place to really become popular so see it before its trendy. We ate in a lively little Corsican restaurant on the corner of rue Lascaris & Francois Guisol whose name i can’t remember. Big wines – very old school but a great buzz and the food was excellent. But all along this street ( Lascaris ) there are some super little places, so see what the special of the day is and follow your nose.
Lunch ~ Cours Saleya
Tourist central but there are some gems among the rip offs. two in particular are Safari, La Cambuse and La Voglia, near Ma Nolans just off the main square. . I’ve them covered in another blog but all are worthy of serious consideration. Safari for lunch and the others more so for the night time. All have excellent terraces with Safari & La Cambuse getting lunchtime sun.
For cheap as chips Pizza, Gesu is hard to beat. Right beside the beautiful Elise de Gesu on rue Droite, this does what is says on the tin. Fresh pizza and pasta with great service. Lots of shouting and shapes but all part of the experience. Cash only, no website, no reservations. Just turn up and hope its not packed, but even if it is – wait!
We came across a great little rotisserie restaurant just off place Rossini called La Rotisserie, although the name above the door tells you it is a Boulangerie. Basically, they only server meat cooked in Rotisserie style and then you pick the trimmings. Really great value and the underground cellar is very cool during the hot summer. Arrive hungry.
A guest raved about Terres de Truffles on 11 rue St Francois de Paule which serves all of its food somehow infused with truffles. I haven’t been yet but i am assured it is a wonderful experience.
If you like Olives, then Oliviera is a must visit.They sell it and have a small restaurant that they pair great olive oil and wines with great local food. You’ll find it tucked away on 8 bis rue du Collet, near the tram line but in the old town. The chef is a bit of a character and you’ll get free theatre with your dinner. A fun night out.
Olive & Artichoke is nearby on 6 rue sainte Réparante and is superb. Reservation is essential and must be done online. I’m sure you can call in and book as well if you’re wandering around in the day time.
Bistro Antoine on 27 rue de la Préfecture is a must visit. But book ( 04.93852957 ), and book early. Incredibly popular with locals, visitors, celebs and anyone who loves great food.
The old town is touristy so there is a lot of average places to eat with not so average prices. I mentioned a few gems on Cours Saleya but another great street is rue de l’Abbaye, one block in from rue de la Prefecture, which is lined with lovely Italian and Corsican restaurants, with the right prices. As always, follow your nose.
What’s Hot in Nice
Nice is fast becoming a mecca for exciting young chefs who want to make their mark and the following are getting rave reviews. To quote the great Ernest Hemingway, it is a bit of ‘moveable feast’, so keep an eye on the reviews, but as always – ask the locals.
I’ve a little more research to do on this part of the blog, but i am open to comments on where to try and to include.. Bon appetite.