You can find lists of the top-end restaurants anywhere, but it is the little gems in this middle category that are so elusive, with moderate prices but excellent value. The following restaurants in Vieux Nice offer a level of quality far exceeding their price range. Many don’t have websites so see the map below for how to find them.
Four of my favorite restaurants in Old Nice come from the same owner, Armand Crespo, who continues to amaze with each new eatery, all with 5-star food at 2-star prices, no website, and an unflagging commitment to quality and inspiration.
The first was the foody mainstay and still wildly popular Bistrot d’Antoine, which features high-level renditions of country-French classics. Feel free to be adventurous here because it is all so delicious that you can’t go wrong. Even a simple salad caprese is a revelation here, made with 10 different varieties of tomatoes. Reservations a must: 27 rue de la Prefecture, 04 93 85 29 57.
Next came the Comptoir du Marché (the Market Counter), which, as its name implies, is all about fresh inspiration from the local produce market. The changeable daily menu is vast, prepared before your eyes (if you are seated in the back dining room) and at very affordable set prices: 7€ for starters, 13€ for mains, and 6€ for desserts. Rue du Marche, 04 93 13 45 01.
From the same owner comes the two best new additions to the food scene in Old Nice: The Bar des Oiseaux (5 rue Saint Vincent, 04 93 80 27 33) which specializes in delectable creative gourmet fresh pastas, and the brand new Peixes (‘Fish’ in Portuguese) on 4 rue de la Opera (just off Place Massena 04 93 85 96 15) which specializes in fresh fish, ceviche and tartares. Both are very moderately priced, especially in relation to their top-quality offerings and truly outstanding chefs.
La P’tite Cocotte Tucked up a tiny side street, they are well worth the effort to find: three delicious courses for just 16€ at lunch and 25€ at dinner from their weekly changing menu that depends entirely on what’s in season and on Chef Cedric’s whim. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this is another of my favorites that stays open on Sundays and Mondays. 10 rue Saint-Augustin, 04 97 08 48 61.
Cote Marais is another little gem with an almost cult following, that you would never find unless you were looking for it. With top-tier cuisine that rivals its Michelin-starred cousins, the 31€ formula for a 3-course dinner of anything on the menu is actually an incredible value. Serving dinner only, closed on Wednesdays, cash only, no website, reservations a must. 4 rue du Pontin, 04 93 80 95 39.
L’Oliviera Nadim can be spotted at the Cours Saleya Market at the crack of dawn, chatting and choosing the day’s produce from the growers themselves. His passion is olive oil, and you feel it the minute you cross the threshold into this open-air haven from the bustling Old Town. It starts with a sampling of oils to taste with bread, then the menu where every item is paired with a complementary olive oil. While a bit pricier than some of my others picks, the cuisine, the education, and the passion make the experience well worth it. Prepare for a long relaxing meal, with the ambiance of being a guest in his home.
Chez Juliette on rue Rossetti, has an eclectically stylized décor with a creative-leaning menu, using a lot of savory/sweet combinations; I especially like their various duck preparations with sauces made from honey or cherries. It’s a little pricier than the others, but has a hip/kitschy interior ambiance with great paintings, and a nice terrace with mosaic tables. They’re closed Tuesdays, which makes them one of the few good restaurants in town open on Sundays and Mondays. No website, reservations a must: 04 93 92 68 47.
La Rossettisserie For comfort food with a warm homey feel, this is the place, with a delectable selection of spit-roasted meats for 17.50€, served with roasted or mashed potatoes or ratatouille; and at lunch comes with a bonus of an excellent tomato salad starter. It’s sooo good! They serve lunch and dinner; reservations recommended, and specify if you want a private table or the long communal table where you can make new friends. (Just off Place Rossetti near the Cathedral) 8 rue Mascoinat, 04 93 76 18 80
Cours Saleya is mostly filled with wall-to-wall tourist-traps, hawking overpriced industrial fare to tourists that they know will never come back anyway. But if you are set on dining on Nice’s most famous street, there are a few decent ones tucked in between: Le Safari is the grand classic with good quality if rather overpriced, or try its little sister next door, La Civette du Cours by the same owner but with bistro prices. For generous portions of fresh Italian fare try La Voglia and La Favola (both located at the base of Cours Saleya), and the upscale La Cambuse by the church has a local following, as does Caffé dell’ Arte for hipsters, and Blast for Nice’s best burgers.
- Nice’s Top-tier restaurants
- Cheap Eats in Nice
- Local Nice Specialties and where to try them
- Food Finds in the Old Town
- Where to Eat on Sunday and Monday in Nice when most restaurants are closed
- In the Kitchen with the Chef: Cooking Classes in Nice
- The Best Top-End Lunch Deals in Nice (Michelin edition)
Here’s the map: click on the markers to see what’s where…
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