12 Places to Eat like a Local in Nice
There’s no denying that food tourism is increasing and any yacht charter guest to the French Riviera will find Nice a culinary stopover worth making.
From fantastic local markets to excellent restaurants, Niçoise cuisine takes diners on a sensory journey that mixes Mediterranean specialities with strong flavour influences from Italy, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the rest of France.
You’ll find inventive uses for vegetables (beignets de fleurs de courgettes, lightly battered and fried courgette blossoms), authentic classics (ravioli Niçoise, pasta filled with the Provençal version of beef bourguignon) and plates for the adventurous foodie such as trulle, a dish similar to black pudding with rice, chard and pig’s blood.
Nice has an incredible number of restaurants ranging from street vendors to authentic bistros and Michelin-starred establishments, so it can be overwhelming to whittle down where to dine. If you want to eat like a local and find the dishes the locals love, here are our suggestions below for 12 top places to visit.
Bistro d’Antoine, 27 rue de la Préfecture, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 85 29 57
Excellent food at great prices, Bistro d’Antoine is extremely popular serving robust dishes such as veal with tuna sauce and Perugia sausages with brown lentils. We also think it’s a fine contender for the best lobster risotto and salade niçoise in town. They don’t have a website, but call by in person well in advance or book via telephone as reservations are recommended.
Les Garçons, 3 Rue Centrale, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 80 87 90
The motto for this restaurant is ‘Relax. Eat. Enjoy’ and once you enter this industrial and urban-decorated eatery you’ll be right at home.
Downstairs is a vaulted ceiling lounge area with armchairs perfect for sinking into before a night out, and the menu features tasty dishes such as Moroccan-spiced burgers and roasted camembert. Head here before a Friday or Saturday night out in Nice and don’t miss ordering a manzana verde schnapps from the Basque region.
Voyageur Nissart, 19 Rue Alsace Lorraine, 06000 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 82 19 60
The fact that this restaurant is located away from Vieux Nice means it slips away unnoticed from many diners in Nice. Unless you’re a local that is.
Locals in the know flock here to this unassuming bistro near the train station for the warm welcome from the owner, no-fuss food (red mullet, sautéed lamb with thyme, marinated peppers etc) and good value menus where a hearty 3-courses will get you change from €20.
Le Plongeoir, 60 boulevard Franck Pilatte, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 26 53 02
Many visitors to Nice seek out reservations at La Reserve, the beautiful Art Deco-styled restaurant overlooking the entrance to Nice Port, however Le Plongeoir can truly steal the limelight for location because it is set atop the rocks itself for the historic diving boards that are part of the cultural heritage of the city.
Open 7 days, Le Plongeoir is a fine choice for a light lunch, romantic dinner or sunset drink with an incredible view and unique location.
Acchiardo, 38 rue Droite, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 85 51 16
Situated a short walk from Palais Lascaris, Chez Acchiardo doesn’t need to reel in tourists because it fills up with locals effortlessly who go there for the rustic Niçoise food such as pissaladière, stockfish and osso bucco.
Unpretentious, authentic and crowded, this family-run restaurant is worth a mention just for their petits farcis (peppers, courgette flowers, and onions filled with minced veal, pork or beef, bread crumbs, and vegetables). No website so telephone in advance to reserve a table.
Le Bistro du Fromager, 29, rue Benoit Bunico, 06000 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 13 07 83
Cheese lovers take note – if you love cheese, this is the place to go. Stepping down into the vaulted dining room is like entering a cave of cheese (around 40 different types) accompanied by natural wine.
Every dish has a cheese-inspired highlight; classic fondue, tartiflette, raclette, steak covered in cheese through to a unique pasta experience where it’s flambéed in a giant hollowed out Parmesan wheel in the middle of the restaurant. Reservations necessary.
La Fougasserie, 5 Rue de la Poissonnerie, 06300 Nice. . Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 80 92 45
If you’re looking for a snack or to buy bread, this should be your ‘go-to’ boulangerie. Delicious baguettes, croissants, pastries as well as local specialities such as tourte de blettes, pissaladière and pan bagnat are all served by friendly staff.
Chez Pipo, 13 rue Bavastro, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 55 88 82
It would be difficult to write an ‘Eat like a local’ article about Nice without mentioning socca! Socca, is a pancake made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt and locals have their own thoughts on who serves the best.
You’ll hear varying opinions from ‘too thick’, ‘too oily’, ‘too thin’ ‘too crispy’ – this is fast food French-style and meant to be served as street food in a paper cone with lots of pepper and a chilled glass of rosé!
Not far from Nice Port you’ll find a busy restaurant with vintage photos of Nice on the wall, this is our recommendation, Chez Pipo, who have mastered hot socca since they first opened in 1923.
Oliviera, 8 Bis rue du Collet, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 13 06 45
Make a date to stop by this olive oil store-cum-restaurant. It is overlooked by many because it is first and foremost a retail store selling exceptional olive oils. The owner Nadim is passionate about his oil; the small menu is flavourful and each dish is matched to a complementary oil to highlight the taste. We recommend the aubergine starter, the vegetarian stuffed courgette flowers and lapin (rabbit) stew.
Alounak, 3, rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, 06000 Nice Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 85 86 50
Alounak offers a great dining option for groups that have both meat-eaters and vegetarians with a well-priced menu featuring tajines (with meat or seafood), vegetarian dishes and a dedicated vegan menu. The saffron ice cream and mint tea are a lovely finish.
Vinivore, 10 Rue Lascaris, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 93 14 68 09
Located in the Port district, this fabulous restaurant has a small menu with wonderfully presented dishes executed superbly. The wine list is extensive, the duck is sublime, and the ‘comme une tarte de citron’ is their delicious deconstructed version of the famous lemon tart. Highly recommended.
Alto Resto, 21 rue Barla, 06300 Nice. Telephone : +33 (0)4 83 39 35 57
If you’re looking to try a few different dishes, Alto Resto has a changing menu of unique tapas dishes such as tempura prawns or truffled eggs served alongside great pizzas. Friendly service and a funky décor make for a great local eatery not on the tourist radar. The lunch deals are all well priced; it’s worth noting that the minimum order if paying by bank card is €15.
This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke, who with over 10 years travel industry experience loves to share ‘must-do’ destination tips and hidden spots to discover in France and beyond.
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