Capital of the French Riviera, Nice is a blend of beaches, history, architecture and delicious cuisine. A seaside city surrounded by rolling hills, Nice’s eateries delight in using local produce to capture traditional French and Mediterranean flavours, while playing with innovative new trends. In an update to our previous guide, we bring you 10 more unmissable Nice restaurants.
For foodies wanting to experience a day in the life of a meticulous chef, Michel Devillers’s restaurant on the quayside of the port of Nice is the ideal location. L’Ane Rouge proposes cookery classes starting with a wake-up call to select ingredients from the local market, followed by meal preparation and wine tasting with the chef himself. The classes offer a glimpse of the way Michel Devillers works, sourcing his ingredients from his own personal network of local suppliers including fisherman friend ‘Gilbert’, who continues the traditional method of line fishing to bring the freshest fish to the tables at L’Ane Rouge. Simply dining at L’Ane Rouge is of course an obvious and perfectly legitimate way to savour Deviller’s beautifully presented creative cuisine.
Gourmet, Fine Dining, Traditional, Michelin-Starred
After a prestigious career working alongside some of the most highly acclaimed chefs in France, Mickaël Gracieux opened L’Aromate in a former peanut roasting establishment in one of Nice’s main shopping areas. Gracieux is renowned for his imaginative and artistically presented dishes based on fresh ingredients and decorated with edible flowers and gold leaf. Only two years after opening, his highly artistically visual and creative cuisine earned him a Michelin star, making L’Aromate one of the best fine-dining experiences in Nice. His two menus, referred to as ‘Parsley’ and ‘Basil’ offer a host of imaginative options, including Gracieux’s signature dish consisting of crab with citrus fruit and ginger.
A trip to Nice would not be complete without sampling the local socca, an oven-baked pizza-style snack made with chickpea flour. Chez Pipo behind the port of Nice is unquestionably the best place to experience this local delicacy. Founded in 1923 by a certain Pipo, the restaurant has not changed an iota since the first socca was served here. The stone oven, a central feature of Chez Pipo, continues to turn out scores of socca per day that locals and tourists stop to savour amid the warm, friendly atmosphere of the restaurant’s interior, decked with photos of Nice during the Belle Epoque, or outside in the cool of the terrace.
Tucked away behind the seafront in the secluded Saleya courtyard, La Civette du Cours is one of the most sought after terraces in the old part of Nice, offering a place to enjoy a casual meal in the shade or soak up the sun while watching the world go by. La Civette du Cours is always bustling with activity, serving food from dawn to dusk. The menu is simple, offering a good selection of grilled meat, traditional Niçois dishes or snacks such as bruschetta to savour over a glass of chilled Provencal wine.
Located in the old part of Nice, Oliviera is an indispensable address for aficionados of the Mediterranean diet. Here the best varieties of locally produced olive oil are in great abundance. Whereas dishes are typically paired with wines, at Oliviera’s they are paired with olive oil, used not for cooking but to bring out the flavours of each of the simple elements used to craft the tantalising menu. Dishes vary according to season and the chef’s inspiration, with all ingredients sourced from the local markets and local farmers. Diners can taste the olive oils before choosing from the menu and buy their favourite aromas from the restaurant’s boutique or on line. Look out for the Caillette with sweet almond and artichoke aromas, or the 2014 AOP Haut Provence wafting with a blend of hazelnut, green apple and pepper.
Running along the quays of the port of Nice, the terrace of Les Pêcheurs offers an idyllic spot to watch the luxury yachts as they sail in to anchor and a wonderful view of the blue of the Mediterranean stretching out to the horizon. Its nautical interior featuring portholes, fish tank and wooden beams evokes the sea. The menu is also heaving with the freshest fish and seafood delivered by ‘Les Pêcheurs’ – fishermen – and transformed into gastronomic creations blending the taste of the Mediterranean with exotic flavours from the Indian Ocean. Look out for octopus carpaccio or sea bream fillets baked in banana leaves or the indispensable fish soup recipe from Marseille, la Bouillabaisse.
Perfectly situated on the busy Place Garibaldi, Au Petit Gari is a typical bistro style restaurant. Chef Marc Chevalier boasts the title of ‘Maître Restaurateur’, a stamp of authenticity sealed by the French state, and always takes pride in producing some exquisite traditional French cuisine. His dishes include prepared bone marrow, duck fillet from the Gers region, organic bass in spicy breadcrumbs and for a perfect ending, the freshest profiteroles supplied by La Maison Cappa, one of Nice’s best patisseries, and filled with Chevalier’s own chocolate ganache. With a well-stocked wine cellar and terrace offering a privileged view of Nice’s monumental Place Garibaldi, Au Petit Gari is a perfect place to linger while soaking up the true colours of Provence.
Tucked away behind the port in a more residential area of the city, La Roustide specialises in – and is famous for – its truffle-based dishes. The restaurant takes it name from the slice of toast rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with fresh olive oil that local workers used to eat after a hard day’s labour harvesting olives. La Roustide’s tasting menu offers a journey through the flavours of the Provence region, taking the taste buds from a two-fig gazpacho with foie gras to creamy baked potatoes or the fresh catch of the day, each dish blended with fresh locally harvested truffles. Its earthy menu, the warm glow of its dim lighting and its simple, kitchen style interior give guests the impression of being somewhere deep in Provence when dining at La Roustide.
Elegant with a strong feminine touch, Le Vingt4 is a restaurant where contemporary design rhymes with contemporary cuisine and tasteful decoration with tasty dishes. Also a wine bar, it has an extensive cellar consisting of a wide range of local, French and organic wines classified according to taste rather than region and carefully selected to blend with the light lunch or copious gastronomic dinner menus. Attentive to the health-conscious, Le Vingt4 offers an excellent selection of fresh meat and fish served with a great choice of sides ranging from gratin dauphinois to a healthy green salad or seasonal vegetables. With its pleasant outdoor seating and light lilac tones illuminating the interior, Le Vingt4 is a refreshingly airy place to dine and fun place to be on alternate Fridays with live music featuring local jazz and gypsy formations.
Voyageur Nissart is an indispensable address for traditional Niçois cooking in a traditional bistro-style setting at a reasonable price. Situated in the heart of Nice, Voyage Nissart is a family-run restaurant and has been serving food since 1908. For over a century, generations of the same family have been crafting a daily menu of traditional recipes based on typical Provencal ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergine and black olives and using the best produce from local markets. Look out for traditional colourful dishes bursting with flavour such as stuffed vegetables or Gorgonzola gnocchi.