I make time for chia seeds and kale smoothies like the next person, but sometimes a healthy handful of almonds just doesn’t cut it. I am weak for a plate of gnocchi Daube with all its beefy richness and melt-in-the-mouth carby-ness. At the end of the day, some foods are just worth getting fat for… like an edible hug after a long day.
Which Nice restaurant dishes are you currently having impure thoughts about?
There’s nothing like the comforting aroma of a Daube Niçoise to buffer the encroaching chill of winter, and this cosy family-run dining room in Vieux Nice is just the place for it. If you’re a first time visitor to Nice, the part you might be suspicious about is the merda dé can. You’ll be right to be suspicious… literally translated, it’s dog poop. But don’t panic, it’s nothing more than a raucous name for innocent little pillows of chard-flavoured gnocchi. When these melt-in-the-mouth morsels are soaked in the juices from the joues de boeuf, it’s a heavenly experience. And if it just happens to be served by one of the handsome brothers, so be it.
Acchiardo, 38 rue Droite, Vieux Nice
Be warned that this dish is not always on the menu. But when it is – oh boy. It’s come-to-bed carbonara. I mean look at it – LOOK AT IT! It’s obscene. When this dish is put in front of me, I am totally oblivious to what my eating partner is saying. It’s just a bunch of meaningless sentences strung together while I fantasize about being left alone in a room to hoover up every last strand of creamy, parmesan-pecorino lusciousness with long, loud slurps. There’s nothing I’d rather clog up my arteries with. ** CLOSED **
La Petite Syrah, 13 rue Cassini
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, le Bistro du Fromager is breaking hearts all over Nice. Cheese, cheese, candlelight and more cheese. Fondue au Comté 16 mois, Risotto parmesan fermier 3 ans,Tagliatelles flambées avec parmesan, Tartiflette… not to mention gooey Mont d’Or, the holy grail of French raw milk cheeses, pulled fresh from the oven. While they tell you that the Gruyère was aged in a cave, you can select a bottle of wine from the shelves behind you. Most of the wines are natural with little to no preservatives or chemicals so you can at least feel good about that while you’re scooping up half a cow. Le Bistro du Fromager, 29 Rue Benoît Bunico, Vieux Nice
The clue is in the title of this cavernous rotisserie near Place Rossetti. After spending 10 years working in the UK, owner and head chef Jean-Michel Caruana wanted to re-create the Sunday roast in France. And though there are no Yorkshire puddings, his roasts are divine. With only 5 main dishes on the menu —roast chicken, roast pork, roast veal, roast beef and roast lamb—Jean-Michel takes his meats very seriously, buying them from the Boucherie de la Tour and roasting them to utter perfection. As for the accompaniments, the mash is probably the best I’ve ever had, the sautéed potatoes are herb-laced gifts from heaven and the ratatouille is able to turn a carnivore into a vegetarian. You’ll be pleased you wore your fat pants.
La Rossettisserie, 8, rue Mascoïnat, Vieux-Nice
This place is not here to brag about anything – it’s no frills comfort at student prices. But if you’re craving a great pizza that really hits the spot or a generous bowl of gnocchi bathing in Gorgonzola (a marriage made in heaven) this Niçoise institution is worth the calories. The church view isn’t too shabby either. Food confession anyone?
Restaurant du Gesu, 1 Rue du Jésus, Vieux Nice
Remember the first time you tried green curry? If you’re not, you know, Thai, it was probably a euphoric experience. Now when was the last time you had great green curry ? If you live in Nice, you’ll be relieved to discover Le Banthai, whose Niçois owner lived in Bangkok for 20 years. This place really knows how to whip up fragrant, market-fresh, homestyle Thai curries, nems, Tom Yum soup and, of course, Pad Thai. YUM!* (*expression of enjoyment, not a soup).
Le Banthai, 29 rue Droite, Vieux Nice
Some weekends, after a bottle or three of Rosé, a bowl of muesli doesn’t cut it. Your delicate stomach begins to growl and you need eggs & bacon fast. Only a few places in Nice will satisfy, and Irish pubs aside, I quite like little Wazo for its off-the-tourist-path address (hello, scruffy jogging pants) and its build-your-own brekkie formule. You can have fried eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs with truffle oil, crunchy bacon, sausages, baked beans, hash browns, French toast… washed down with freshly squeezed OJ. God, I miss brunch. *sigh*
Wazo Brunch, 14 bis rue Defly
Côte d’Azur folk are very fond of Swiss chard (blettes) – so why wouldn’t they serve it in pie form? This unusual pastry is the most indulgent way to eat your greens I can think of. Accompanying the nutty green leaves are raisins, apples, brandy, pine nuts, lots of icing sugar and even a little Parmesan. And because it’s a savoury-sweet combo, it’s totally permissible to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dessert, or all three! You can pick it up in most Nice boulangeries – or Chez Pipo has a pretty nice version.