Whether you’re in the mood for a little grilled fish at the water’s edge or want to eat steak on a 10-floor-high terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, Nice’s main boulevard, the Promenade des Anglais, offers it all.
The Promenade des Anglais was built by the English – hence its name – in the 19th century as a route to stroll beside the seaside. Today, locals and tourists alike use it to walk their dogs, read their books, jog or just take in the view, ideally at one of the many restaurants that line the walkway. With over seven kilometres of boulevard, there are lots of food options to choose from.
Watch the sunset from the rooftop at La Terrasse, Le Méridien Hotel
La Terrasse, on the 10th floor of the Méridien Hotel, is a rooftop bar and restaurant in Nice that offers exemplary views over the Promenade des Anglais. It has great service and a delicious array of drinks – they can be expensive, but they are worth it for the view. The restaurant menu suits the varied international crowd that visits, with options ranging from burgers and sea bass to oysters and caviar.
Le Mesclun, which is decorated with fresh flowers and modern decor, faces the Promenade des Anglais and customers can people-watch through its huge windows. There are two choices of three-course menus for both lunch and dinner offering great quality French food at reasonable prices. Think rabbit pâté, followed by mashed potatoes with truffles and beef and a crème brûlée to finish, all washed down with delicious wine from a local vineyard.
Plage Miami is a relaxed private beach with bar snacks and a simple, but well-cooked, French lunch menu (it doesn’t open for dinner). Pay for a sun lounger under a turquoise-blue parasol and enjoy finger food with a beer. Or head to one of the many shaded waterfront tables for the day’s fish special, such as sea bass with salad, or a meat option, like lasagna and french fries. The staff have a sense of fun – this is a beach restaurant, after all – and, with its small playground and large kids’ menu, it’s also a great place for children.
Le Negresco Hotel is the most famous place to stay in Nice, possibly even the entire French Riviera; for over a hundred years, it has featured in movies, hosted celebrities and catered to every whim known to the international jet set. Le Chantecler is the hotel’s Michelin two-starred flagship restaurant, which harks back to an older time; the fine dining room is elegant with woodwork dating from the late 18th century. The maître d’ is friendly and irreverent and the experience is intimate with food flambéed and carved for you personally in front of your table. The in-house pastry chef adds an extra special touch.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a hotel as famous as Le Negresco would have a few mouthwatering food options to choose from, and La Rotonde is the sister restaurant to the more upmarket and lavish Le Chantecler. It’s a whimsical and fun brasserie – the restaurant is decorated as a baroque carousel complete with painted horses, hence the name, La Rotonde, or, roundabout in English – and it offers à la carte and tasting menus. La Rotonde caters for all meals throughout the day, so you can even enjoy breakfast among the ponies.
Blue Beach Plage is one of many private beaches along the Promenade des Anglais where you can reserve a sun lounger and benefit from waiter service while dipping your toes in the crystal clear sea. At lunch or dinner time, you can sit at one of the outside tables, which are adorned with navy blue parasols, to enjoy classics such as moules- or entrecôte-frites or choose the healthier option of fresh grilled fish and salad. The service is attentive and friendly and the restaurant is unpretentious with stunning views.
Opt for the three-course seafood menu at Le Koudou
Restaurant, French, $$$
Le Koudou is a short walk from the interesting Masséna Museum where you can gaze at Napoleon’s death mask and ornate 18th-century artefacts from the Belle Époque, the period of time when French society underwent massive cultural and scientific change. The talented chef at Le Koudou focusses on seafood and meat-based meals, such as salt-encrusted sea bass and risotto with scallops and prawns or a steak dish with a trilogy of three different sauces. The lunchtime menu is wonderful value for a three-course meal.
Just a few steps from Place Masséna, a beautiful central square in Nice where the Mardi Gras carnival takes place, you can walk to this beachside restaurant that caters to everyone. Plage Beau Rivage has both a calm ‘zen’ area as well as a ‘party’ area with a DJ. There are also several different menus depending on hunger levels and your mood – choose from the snacking menu while lounging on your towel or eat nibbles with a drink at the bar from the apéro-dinatoire menu (pre-dinner drinks and tapas-style food). If you want something more substantial, pick a table and opt for the restaurant menu to find delicacies such as duck with Tasmanian pepper or fresh lobster linguine. They also do a great brunch.
Les Jardins du Capitole offers a starter, main course and dessert at a great price and unlike many French restaurants, which often close between lunch and dinner, it has a continuous food service throughout the day so it can be a magnet and saviour for hungry tourists in Nice. It’s a brasserie that wears many hats, serving everything from breakfast through to bar snacks when the piano bar gets going in the early evening.
With its white parasols and matching tablecloths and chairs, Le Voilier is a stylish venue for all-day food options. Spend a day at the beach on a very classy sun lounger starting with breakfast (pastries and fresh orange juice) before moving on to a long, leisurely lunch. Choose from a delicious pizza or a healthy salad, which are very generous, and a nice cocktail or bottle of wine from an extensive bar list. Le Voilier (which means sailboat in English) closes at 6 pm – so there will just be time for a quick swim before heading off.