Dining in old Nice

Jun 3rd, 2006, 06:13 AM
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Dining in old Nice

Todays, NYTimes:
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 06:58 AM
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Thank you, Mimi!
A perfect article for me!

You have been such a super resource for me on planning my trip. (16 more days....)
dina4 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:26 AM
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Oh, and wondering if you've tried any of the places in the article.
Thanks, Mimi.

dina4 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Hi Dina, Not yet but later this year....
We did stop at the Alziari shop, it's one of my favorite olive oils. After the tin was empty, like the previous ones I removed the top and planted herbs in it
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:51 AM
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And here's his article on Cote d'azur. We're planning on trying the 'Calypso."

cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Just finished this piece. Maybe one of you can explain something to me. At Lou Ballico, Bittman recommends the poutne omelette, when in season. I thought poutine was a Quebecois dish with cheese and potatoes and pork. What does "poutine" mean in Provence?

He makes a good point about how many people perceive "French" to be a cuisine, rather than a catchall term for the amalgamation of various regional cooking styles to be found within the country.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:22 AM
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a poutine is a small river fish also called nonat.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:25 AM
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sorry, alevin, these are tiny like bait.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:27 AM
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Merci! CC you are always informative.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 12:56 PM
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Thanks - we'll be in Nice three weeks from today. We've dined in Old Nice maybe 12 times - and never had a decent meal. A few were un-eatable (stinkey Moules & overcooked Dourade). Hopefully this will help. I have my eyes set on Alziari - we've bought quite a bit of their olive oil & soap.

Stu Dudley
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Jun 3rd, 2006, 01:26 PM
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That's great Stu, I'll be eager to see where you eat. We won't be there til the end of August. L'Escalinada, looks tempting.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 09:04 PM
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cobbie is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 07:50 AM
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We were recently in Nice and found nice, casual restaurants in Vieux (sp?) Nice. Sorry it's so long, but my trip report is pasted below in full, including names and addresses of the restaurants we enjoyed:

"Nice, three nights in May, 2006

We arrived in Nice in the early afternoon on Friday, via train from Venice. The trip had been long enough, and was complicated when the Italian train quit one stop before our mid-point destination of Genoa. The conductor walked through and told everyone we’d have to get off the train and catch another one. No explanation given, simply 'get off and go catch another train'.

We had been seated relatively comfortably, with my huge bag safely stashed away, and we only needed to go one more stop to reach Genoa. But, instead, we dragged our luggage off that train and onto the next one, as directed. It was packed, standing room only.

We all stood there about fifteen minutes on that train, when another conductor came in and said yet another train would leave first, and we should get off and catch that one. So we again dutifully picked up all our stuff, and hauled it onto the next standing-room-only train.

Finally, it departed and we arrived in Genoa. Luckily for us, our train out of Genoa was late, too, so we were able to catch it. (It reminded me of Rick Steves’ saying that Italy is like a tangled plate of spaghetti: it’s a mess, but we love it anyway!)

Our Hotel le Grimaldi (http://www.le-grimaldi.com/) was a short cab ride from the train station, 10EUR for myself, my daughter, my gargantuan bag, and her two small ones. We were greeted graciously at the hotel, which immediately struck us as a good find.

The hotel is actually two Belle Epoque buildings back-to-back. One side is much prettier to enter, as it faces a nice church. The other side is fine, too, but a bit boring. I think the side on rue Grimaldi is the plain one, and the other side on rue Maccarani is prettier.

The man at the front desk carried my bag to the room, and showed us around. There’s a business center on the ground floor, with free internet use on their two computers, and a free printer to use. (Also wireless in the lobby, I think for a fee.)

Our room was a ‘classic’, twin-bedded room, which was large enough, had a little balcony, a sparkling tile bath with fluffy bright yellow towels, and nice toiletries. It was 150EUR, plus tax and 10EUR per person if we opted for the hot/cold breakfast buffet. They suggested we check out the buffet (served till 10:30a.m.), and if we were interested the next morning, we could sign on for it. Their deal is that you have to buy it everyday to get the 10EUR rate. Otherwise, per day, it’s 15EUR.

So the next morning, we were happy to find hot eggs, proscuitto, yoghurts, cereals, cappuccino, assorted croissants, juices, etc. We thought it a good deal and quite convenient, so we enjoyed it each morning.

It's an easy walk to the train station (w/o luggage) from Le Grimaldi, and a slightly longer walk to the bus station. Easy walk of a few blocks to the grand promenade at seaside, just past the pedestrian zone. Also not far walking to Vieux Nice. The neighborhood felt perfectly safe, and we walked back to the hotel late each night.

For our first dinner, I had brought the name of a restaurant I’d found on Travel Talk, and the front desk agreed it was a good one, a local favorite in old Nice. It’s called Acchiardo, at 38 rue Droite in Vieux Nice. We headed over for their opening at 7p.m., and were very happy with it. Really friendly and attentive service, very quaint and casual atmosphere, with a good menu. I had a steak dinner, which actually included vegetables on the side. My daughter had two different salads. We had bottled water and a half-liter of house red wine. When the bill arrived for 28.50EUR, I thought they’d made a mistake because it was so much less than I’d been accustomed to paying in Venice, Florence and Rome. But, no, it was correct. (We would have maybe eaten there another night, but found out it closes on weekend nights, believe it or not.)

We walked all over old Nice, then through the pedestian area to the promenade and took that way back to the hotel. It’s such a beautiful walk at night. The Chateau hillside is all lit up, the palm trees are lit, and the waves look so pleasant. It was how we ended each of our Nice nights, with that walk back to the hotel.

The next day we decided to take the short bus ride on the #81, to visit the Villa and Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, near Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. (The bus is just 1.30EUR each direction, which you pay in exact change on the bus.) We didn't stop to see the Greek Villa, but it's also on that same bus route, near the Ephrussi. You can easily catch the #81 for your return trip to Nice, at any stop along the road.

It was a nice visit, especially to see the views of the sea down below on both sides of the hillside. I thought the price was a bit steep, at 9.50EUR for an adult, because the Villa isn’t really all that interesting (sorry!), but the gardens are pretty. There’s also a nice little café there, for a light snack or drink or meal, which was a welcome break from all our walking.

While we were there, a very strong wind came up, which caused quite a bit of white caps in the water below, and chased everyone in from the patio tables. The wind stayed with us for the rest of the day, but wasn’t terribly annoying.

From the Villa, we did the easy walk down to the port of St. Jean to walk around and check it out. There are nice boats in the little harbor, with cute restaurants and shops. It’s very tiny, so doesn’t take long to walk from end to end of St. Jean. We spent just about an hour and a half there, then caught the #81 back to Nice.

That evening, we returned to old Nice for dinner. We loved that neighborhood’s little streets, overall atmosphere, and cute shops. We found the Restaurant la Tapenada, 6 rue St. Reparate and had a very nice dinner. It was probably about 60EUR for the two of us, on their fixed price menu, with a bottle of house wine. Very nice little place, with friendly and attentive service. They even let my daughter trade her dessert for a salad. So she had two salads to start, one after the other, and they timed the arrival of our main courses perfectly. We were completely happy with our meal there.

The next day we decided we’d stick to the coast and see Antibes, which is a short 20-minute train ride from Nice. We were glad we’d chosen Antibes, as it’s beautiful. The sea wall makes a nice walk, and the Centre Ville is very charming.

We wandered its streets, shopped in a tiny clothing boutique, found a little place for omelettes (nothing special, but nice enough), then headed back to Nice by train after about four hours total. It was a good choice for a quick day-trip.

That evening we weren’t very hungry, so opted for the simple Pasta Basta, once again in old Nice. It was a nice meal, although not extraordinary. Good prices and decent service.

All in all, we were very impressed with Nice and the surrounding area. It’s a very pretty city, with a friendly attitude, sitting on a lovely shore. There are many options for things to do near Nice. We’d considered St. Paul de Vence and Digne, but with the beautiful clear weather, we were drawn to stay at the seaside, and were glad we did."

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