We had a total of 5 meals in Nice over the course of 2.5 days, mostly Italian or French food, and a lot of seafood. We didn't find the food in Nice to be quite as good as other parts of France - mostly because the restaurants tend to cater more towards tourists and tend to have a ton of options on the menu instead of just a few seasonal things. The prices of the meals were not super inflated for being such a touristy place, which was nice, but we definitely had some meals that were better than others. On average, expect to pay between 20-30€ per person for lunch at a restaurant, and about 25-35€ per person for dinner.
If you're going during peak tourist season in late spring or early summer, make sure you make reservations ahead of time or you'll be frustrated walking around. Most places open for lunch just from 12 pm - 2 pm and have one seating only, and dinner in France usually starts around 8 pm and lasts until 10 pm, with one seating as well. So if you have somewhere in particular you want to go, make sure you book ahead of time. There are a few places in Vieux Nice that will have "service non-stop" and will serve food all through the day, just in case you can't find anything else or want to eat at odd hours.
On our first night, we had Italian food because it was the close to our hotel, and I was craving some pasta. To be honest, I've had better Italian food elsewhere, even in the States and in Toulouse, and this was nothing to write home about. The pasta didn't seem particularly fresh to me, nor was it homemade, but at least it was reasonably priced and the dinner was quick.
I got the squid ink spaghetti with seafood and this was fine - the seafood was fresh and tasty but I didn't find the tomato sauce super flavorful - it needed something a little extra. It does come with mussels, clams, some calamari and one big shrimp. If I came back here again, I probably would get something different.
Kevin got a piece of lasagna with a side salad, but this was disappointing. The lasagna didn't taste particularly fresh and had been microwaved - but not enough, because the inside was still cold. The layers of pasta were also soggy and quite the opposite of al-dente.
Overall, if you can't find anywhere to else to eat, this is fine, but I wouldn't come out of my way to eat here. I've had much better Italian food elsewhere. This was probably my least favorite meal out of the weekend. 3 out of 5 stars.
Address: 8 Rue Dalpozzo, 06000 Nice France
Telephone: +33 4 22 09 07 70
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 12 pm - 3 pm, 6 pm - 10:30 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Reservations: You probably don't need reservations here as it's pretty casual and can fit a decent amount of people.
This was definitely one of the fancier places we ate at during our trip. Make reservations ahead of time, as the restaurant is small and probably books up quickly. It's your typical traditional French food with a touch of gastronomy. The prices weren't too outrageous as the prix fixe was 38€ for 3 courses, or 55€ menu for 5 dishes. We opted for the 3 course menu and it was more than enough food.
We had velouté every day when we were in Nice (guess it was the season), and this velouté of topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke, which is more like a potato, and not really like an artichoke despite its name) was delicious. It had a lot of cream in it, but it had small pieces of crunchy bacon at the bottom that were a nice complement to the soup.
The main course was duck breast with roasted apples, chickpeas, and hazelnut mousseline. The chickpea/hazelnut mousseline was a nice savory and nutty combination that I've never had before, and paired nicely with the sweetness of the roasted apple. The duck was cooked perfectly and had a nice, crispy skin.
The dessert fell short for me; I normally love profiteroles, but I think I like it best when it's just the traditional choux pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. The homemade mango ice cream was delicious on its own, but kind of overpowered the rest of the dessert when it was combined. Kevin had a crème brûlée and it was just okay - it was served cold and the texture was a bit grainy and not really smooth.
Overall, a good French tasting menu, with generous portions and reasonable prices. It was a good taste of French food, but probably not somewhere I'd come back to repeatedly on subsequent trips to Nice. 4 out of 5 stars for me.
Address: 17 rue Smolett, 06300 Nice France
Telephone: +33 4 93 56 00 13
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 12 pm - 2 pm, 7 pm - 10:30 pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Reservations: Make a reservation ahead of time as the place is small.
Le Tire Bouchon
After wandering around in the rain looking for a place to have a Sunday lunch without a lot of success, we found this place had a table for 2 and a menu du jour. The prix fixe menu was 20€ for an entrée + plat, or plat + dessert, or 25€ for the 3 courses. The restaurant itself was a bit dark and super narrow, and a bit claustrophobic, but the food was pretty decent.
- Avocado and Shrimp - This was okay, it was like an acidic avocado puree, with mayo and shrimp mixed in, and one shrimp cut in half on top. The avocado mixture was a bit too acidic for my taste - it was fine if I ate with bread, but I was expecting more of a chunkier, fresher avocado than a faux guacamole dip thing.
- Velouté de Potimarron - This pumpkin cream soup was really good; it was creamy (all veloutés are since they are made with cream), but it had a good flavor, and there were little chopped up pieces of hazelnut at the bottom which gave it a nice texture and complemented the pumpkin taste well.
- Salmon ravioli with anchovy foam - I was a little apprehensive ordering this since I don't really care for anchovies and thought this would be salty, but I actually really liked this dish. It was a tad salty from the anchovies, but not too much, and there was a decent amount of salmon in the ravioli. The skin of the pasta was pretty thin, and more reminiscent of a wonton wrapper than an Italian pasta. Like most ravioli dishes, there were only 5 raviolis, but it was still a decent amount of food. If you're hungry, I'd opt for the duck or s
- Magret de canard / Duck breast - Kevin ordered this and he really loved it. The duck was cooked well and it came with a small side of potatoes au gratin. The serving size of the au gratin was small, but it was enough as it was really rich with the cream and the butter.
- We got the homemade profiteroles, which had 2 pieces of profiteroles, with vanilla ice cream, and a little jar of chocolate sauce to drizzle on top, which tasted homemade and not too sweet. The choux pastry of the profiteroles was fresh - it was crunchy and firm on the outside and soft on the inside. The dessert was simple, classic, and not too sweet and it was nice to be able to control the amount of chocolate sauce poured on top.
Overall, good for a lunch if you can get the menu du jour. Pretty traditional French food served here, at reasonable prices. Expect a lot of meat and seafood dishes, with not a ton of vegetarian options for the menu du jour.
Address: 19 Rue de la Préfecture, 06300 Nice France
Telephone: +33 4 93 92 63 64
Hours: All days of the week, 12 pm - 3 pm, 7 pm - 11 pm
Website: Le Tire Bouchon
Reservations: We were able to walk in without a problem on a Sunday afternoon, but I imagine during peak season you'll want to reserve, at least for dinner.
We had dinner here and it was more of a casual, younger ambiance, with a metal, industrial interior - it had kind of a grungy, hip feel to it. The place had dim lighting, was small and a little loud, and the tables were pretty close together, so it's not a very fancy, romantic place.
They have 4 appetizers to choose from, about 5-6 entrée and about 7-8 desserts to choose from and the prices are reasonable for dinner: 24€ for plat + entrée or plat + dessert, and 29€ for the 3 courses.
- Trilogie de betteraves / Beets cooked three ways - There was one little dish of beet salad with green onions or scallions, a small beet poached or roasted, and a beet purée that went well with the bread. This was lighter and healthier than most appetizers you'll find in France.
- Salmon with Cajun seasoning and leeks - This was different than what you'd normally find in a French restaurant since I've never seen Cajun spiced things before. The salmon was a little on the small side, but it was still good and the caramelized leeks on the side were a really perfect compliment. This dish was tasty and really good, but just a bit on the smaller side compared to all the other main dishes that were meat-based (from what I saw other diners getting)
We skipped dessert, but it looked pretty good - they had things like a chocolate lava cake, a praline crème brûlée, spéculos tiramisu, and financier with a passion fruit center.
Address: 3 rue Centrale, 06300 Nice France
Telephone: +33 4 93 80 87 90
Hours: Friday - Sunday, 6:45 pm - 11 pm, Monday - Thursday, 6:45 pm - 10:30 pm
Website: Les Garcons
Reservations: Make reservations ahead of time on their website as the place is small.
I wrote a more detailed review of La Langouste, but as a quick recap, this was our favorite place in Nice and we would definitely come back here again. Located a little further away from the Promenade and touristy area (but not too far, just a 15-20 minute walk), this place caters more towards locals and has a more seafood-centric menu. It can be a little pricey during dinner, but if you come in on a Monday-Friday during lunch, 2 courses for lunch costs 19€ and 3 courses costs 24€.
- Poached egg with lentils and mushrooms - The egg was perfectly cooked, and while the lentils and mushrooms didn't look super appetizing, they were delicious and perfectly seasoned.
- Velouté of courgettes - The cream of zucchini soup was delicious and a pretty generous size. It wasn't too creamy, and it went well with the little bit of mint on top.
- Fish with black rice and orange butter - The texture of the fish was perfect and flaky and while it had a lot of butter sauce (in true French fashion), it was delicious.
- Chicken with soy glaze - This was one of the best chicken dishes I've had in France. They don't serve chicken often at restaurants but this was cooked perfectly and the texture was great: moist and juicy.
- The chocolate dessert had a chocolate base that was a cross between a brownie and cake, but more dense than a cake. It wasn't too sweet, and was topped with a white chocolate mousse, and surrounded by many different textures of chocolate. It was beautifully plated and delicious - if only we had gotten two instead of one to share!