There are hundreds of restaurants in Nice – the only challenge in enjoying great southern French dishes, is which one to pick. They’re big on flavour in the south of France, the Mediterranean influence is tinged with a hint of Italian style. These four restaurants are in the centre, not expensive and all offer the very best of cuisine Nissard…
A Buteghinna – cooking likes maman makes it
Sophie, Marcelle and Evelyn have a deep love of tradition and food. This led the three friends to open a tiny restaurant in old Nice back in 1992. They had no kitchen, just a couple of electric hobs. They made traditional foods and the locals loved it. Over the years they’ve upgrade to a tiny restaurant that seats 10 maximum indoors and outdoor seating for about 20. They also have a take-away counter and locals stop by to pick up a snack like “maman used to make”.
Marcelle makes the desserts and believe me, you want to leave room for it… Sohpie makes the savoury food and Evelyne serves and keeps everyone happy with her beaming smile.
Blink as you pass their place, and you’ll miss it but you can’t avoid the delicious smells that waft out the door. They don’t want their business to grow bigger, it isn’t about making lots of money for them, it’s about good food.
“If we grow too big, we may lose our passion” says Marcelle. “This is home cooking – it’s personal”. It’s also absolutely delicious. It’s a Nice secret, one that the locals know but most tourists don’t notice tucked away on a beautiful alley opinion Old Nice. This is food like your grandma cooked if you were born in the south of France, Socca chips, tiny delicate pastries filled with seasonal veg, tourte de blette, a sweet tart made with, of all things – the vegetable chard (it works by the way, brilliantly).
They cook everything fresh in the tiny kitchen and only open for lunch.
If you want a true taste of Nice, a memory to cherish and an absolutely amazing eating experience accompanied with good humour and a big smile then head to A Buteghinna -which means in Nicois “the little place” and don’t forget to book your table, it’s very popular!
A Buteghinna 11, rue du marché: http://www.abuteghinna.fr/
La Storia – delicious taste of sunshine
Its location in the heart of old Nice makes La Storia a popular venue pretty much all year round. At No. 1 Cours Saleya it doesn’t get much better than this. In its touristic setting, service may not be speedy as the restaurant can get very busy – everyone wants to sit in this lovely corner of the market square. If you’re in a rush, let the waiter know. Better still, take your time, enjoy the sun, the scenery and people watching while you indulge in some tasty dishes which are not expensive. Moules, pizza, pasta are pretty good and with a 3 course menu at around 20 Euros – it’s a bit of a steal.
Sentimi – utterly scrumptious
Sentimi serves Italian influenced food in Nice and it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s not a touristy type place, this is where the locals go because they know the food is top notch and not at all expensive.
The courtyard setting with a huge olive tree growing inside the restaurant is absolutely lovely. The terrace seating on Place Garibaldi couldn’t be nicer. The menu is fabulous, I wanted to try absolutely everything on it and found it really hard to behave myself! I asked the waiter what the speciality is and he recommended ottima a type of pizza that you can’t get anywhere else in Nice. One word. Memorable. Okay more words – completely scrumptious. I’ve been to Italy many times, my Dad was from Milan and I have never had a better pizza anywhere. Go here on an empty stomach and make the most of it. I’d recommend you make a booking, they do speak English so if you don’t speak French, not a problem.
I could actually move to Nice just so that I could go to this restaurant.
Tip: Don’t leave without having the ice cream – it’s icy heaven.
2-4 Place Garibaldi FB: www.facebook.com/Sentimirestaurant
Restaurant Influence – a star in the making
A relative newcomer to the Nice food scene and it’s made an impact very quickly thanks to the young chef’s truly superb menu. A graduate of the Paul Bocuse institute (the most revered chef in France), everything is home made and has a secret ingredient – passion. It must have been very hard work to get this place on the map but the locals love it and no wonder, the chef’s deft touch and innovative dishes are knock out. The menu is not expensive but the food is of the highest quality, tasty and delicious – you’ll want to go back to time and time again.
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