Here are some fun little restaurants in Nice that are not only delicious but very easy on the budget…
Chez Palmyre was run by a mother/daughter team since 1926, but it changed hands 10 years ago when the 93-year-old mother died and the 77-year-old daughter decided to finally retire. Now it’s Philippe that runs the show, keeping the country store ambiance and friendly prices, while chef Vincent, who’s been coming here since he was a child, elevates grandma’s cuisine to something wonderful. Three courses, lunch or dinner, 21€. The menu changes daily, there’s no website. The restaurant is tiny, and only open Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri, so call well in advance +33 4 93 85 72 32. 5 rue Droite
If Chez Palmyre is full (it usually is), Le Petit Lascarus just next door, has really upped their game, and is a good second choice with a fun ambiance and homemade French/Corsican cuisine. + 33 6 38 16 81 78, 5 rue Droite.
Head seaward on rue Droite and you will find Le Banthai, which serves excellent homemade Thai cuisine with super-moderate prices: all main courses are only 12€. Their tiny street-side cafe location on one of Old Nice’s most colorful rues makes for a very sympa dining experience. One caveat: French are not used to spicy food, so as Thai food goes it might be milder than you expect, but just ask for the condiments and spice it up yourself. 29 rue Droite, +33 9 73 57 19 06.
…And now by popular demand, they have opened another Banthai Seafood, on the other end of Old Nice, with mostly the same low prices, all of the quality, and a much larger seating capacity. 9 Rue Pairolière, +33 9 72 81 81 23.
Tucked away in a tiny square, Le P’tit Resto is well worth searching out. French cuisine with a healthy twist, high quality market-fresh ingredients, a very creative chef, and reasonable prices, all add up to an amazing meal. And top it off with their excellent 3-course menu for just 23€, and you have a deal. 2 Rue Place Vieille, +33 9 72 83 41 58
Just around the block, on rue Droite across from the church, is Restaurant du Gesu (Gesu is Jesus in Nissart). This is a loud and fun Nice classic with very simple local fare at bargain prices. Cash only, no website, no reservations.
If you can’t get in here, try Acchiardo just down the street a little farther, another crowded noisy family-owned eatery cut from the same, very local, cloth (…but Acchiardo is a bit more upscale, not quite as budget-oriented, but does take reservations: 04 93 85 51 16). Both Restaurant du Gesu and Acchiardo are open for lunch and dinner.
On rue de Collet, you’ll find two recommended restaurants with great deals-for-two. 100% Sushi has a 3-course menu-for-two for 29€ including miso or salad, then a 24-piece sushi platter to share, and finishing with brochettes of chicken or salmon. Just across the rue, the same owners have La Halle, an Asian-fusion restaurant which also has a multi-course menu-for-two for 29€.
Socca is the fast-food of Nice, and whereas you’ll find it served up all over the Old Town, all locals agree that for the best socca, it’s Chez Pipo in the Port, hands down. Come graze on socca, pissaladiére, tapenades… you will leave full and satisfied for around 10€ a head. They’re super popular and they don’t take reservations so get there early, especially for dinner. 13 rue Bavastro.
BEST SNACK BARS
When in Nice, you must have moules frites… a steaming bowl of mussels in a delectable sauce and served with French fries, eaten using a shell as tongs to pull each successive mussel from its shell. Not everyone agrees with me, but my favorite moules frites is from Lou Pilha Leva at Place Centrale, where they serve their moules in a fabulous saffron cream sauce for just 8.50€. No pretense here: you line up, order at the counter, then elbow in to the outdoor picnic benches and enjoy your moules under the sun with a glass of rosé.
Right across from Lou Pilha Leva is a the wonderful La Falafal, with lots of creative vegetarian (and not) offerings. You can stuff the pita of your dreams, but my favorite is the baked artichoke crown platter, served with 5 different sauces. Super bargain, super delish. 13 rue de Collet.
Chez Theresa Socca This little lunch-time socca stand in the middle of the Cours Saleya market is practically an institution. For just 6.50€ the no-nonsense Theresa will serve you up a slice of socca, a slice of pissaladiére, and a glass of rosé, and you will be set for the afternoon. Closes when the market closes at 1pm, and the line can be long, so get there early. Click here to see the socca being delivered. Locals will admonish me that the best socca is Chez Pipo (see above), but Theresa’s improvised cafe in the middle of the marche makes it an experience and a show.
A new trend in fast food here is tacos, but don’t be fooled, the ‘tacos’ at these fast food outlets are nothing like an actual taco, but more like random ingredients wrapped in a grilled filo square! The only true taco stand is 100% Tacos, serving authentic Mexican street food from a tiny storefront on an almost hidden side street. One taco is 3.50€, but for 10€ you get 3 tacos of your choice (I recommend the caramelized pork) with choice of authentic, spicy condiments, plus a soda (…or better yet, upgrade to a Corona). Take out only, open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday, 1 rue du Pontin, near Palais du Justice.
The best pizza in Nice is a hotly disputed subject. Many would say it’s Pizza Cresci, which has been serving its legendary pies at 34 rue Massena for over 60 years; pizzas so massive that they can only give you half, and even then it covers half your table.
…But others would say (me included) that the best pizza in Nice is from Les Amoureux, a little family-run hole-in-the-wall tucked behind the Port that will transport you straight to Napoli. Their signature heart-shaped pizzas are… Bellissimo! Find them at 46 rue Stalingrad, one street in on the east side of the Nice port, but reserve well in advance (+33 4 93 07 59 73) as the place is always packed…and they only bother to answer the phone from 6-6:30pm! If you can’t get in here, Pizza Cresci seats over a hundred, so even if it’s packed, there is enough turnover that you can usually get in one way or another. +33 4 93 87 70 29.
An amazing little find in Old Nice is Al Taglio (‘by the slice‘ in Italien) on 42 rue Droite, a few streets in from Cours Saleya. Specializing in Italian-style thin crust pizza-by-the-slice (so super affordable), their pizza choices range from classic to fabulously (and deliciously) creative, so mix it up and try something new! The ingredients are high-quality and fresh, and their pride in their product is palpable. I love this place.
Another more traditional stand that has been serving up thick-crust style pizza-by-the-slice in the Old Town for years is Stuzzico, on 4 Rue Saint-Gaëtan, near the Cours Saleya market.
The most popular pizza to-go is Pizza Pili on the corner of rue de Gesu and rue Benoit Bunico. From their classic pizzas to their most creative (recommended), it’s the best take-out pizza deal in Nice for just 7€ and always has a crowd. They have a couple of street-side tables, but for the best ambiance take it to the beach for a sunset pizza with a bottle of rosé.
MORE LUNCH-ONLY SUGGESTIONS
Café Marché is tucked away on a side street just steps from its namesake, the open air market Cours Saleya. With a country motif and fresh herbs adorning the tables, you know your in for something fresh, delicious and comforting. The menu changes daily but always features a homemade soup, a burger du jour, and a tartare du jour… yum! They also do a Sunday Brunch…
Walk up near the top of rue Rossetti and you will see Banh Mei, a tiny Vietnam-street-food inspired cafe with a limited but carefully chosen menu of salads, soups and sandwiches, all between 6-10€. Each comes with your choice of slices of rare-cooked sesame beef, Peking pork, sliced caramel chicken, or sesame prawns. … and then try their signature ‘bubble tea’ if you dare! Their outdoor tables offer a perfect view of the Cathedral and Place Rossetti. 6 rue Rossetti, open 11:30-4pm.
Best bagel? After spending a few years in the US, two local girls came back to bring the delights of New York to Nice and opened Emilie’s Cookies. They make awesome bagels, and for just 5.50€ you can treat yourself to a ‘Salmon and Garfunkle’: a salmon-avocado-cream cheese bagel dream in a ‘Central Perk’ coffee-house atmosphere. There’s one at the Port, rue Albertini, and Vieux Nice at Palais de Justice. …Oh, and don’t forget dessert!
Boulangerie Multari is renown for their pastries, but they also have a large choice of inexpensive delicious salads, cold pastas and sandwiches to take-away or eat there, and they have around thirty tables set up inside and outside just for that purpose. Find them on the edge of the Old Town, on Boulevard Jean Jaures near Place Garibaldi.
La Banane, just off Cours Saleya, features the local specialty pan bagnat (Nissart for ‘bathed bread’: bathed in olive oil!). It’s a Niçoise-style tuna sandwich, popular since the peasant days. Eat in or take-away. 6 rue de la Poissonnerie
If you are on a tight budget and are tempted to go fast food: for the same price you can try fast food Niçois-style at Rene Socca, whose popularity is attested to by the ever-present line. It’s not gourmet, it’s fast food, but for between 3-4€ you can try and share all sorts of local specialties including zucchini flower fritters (beignet de fleur), local-style meat-stuffed vegetables (petit farcis), a hearty beef stew (daube) over polenta… and then enjoy them on the family-style communal tables. 2 Rue Miralheti near Place Garibaldi.
See Related Pages:
- Nice’s Best Medium-priced restaurants
- 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
Here’s the map: click on the pointers to see what’s where…
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