I recently returned from one of the most delicious places I’ve ever been. My sister, Colleen, and I spent eight glorious days in Nice with no real agenda but to eat as much as we could and it was a whirlwind of French cheeses, pastries, and wines. It was a non-stop week of eating so much that upon returning my pants barely still fit from stuffing myself silly of all the rich, decadent things in this marvelous country (and lots of sparkling wine).
Beside the Opera House in Vieux Nice, the location couldn’t be better (and neither could the pastries!). We ate our way through many bakeries and this was our favorite in the city; we loved it so much that we visited three times the week that we were here. The pain au chocolat was the best we had while we were there (and I LOVE pain au chocolate so we literally had it every day). Their beignets and apple tart are also to die for and the adorable blue chairs outside for sitting are signature Nice (the same ones can be found lining the iconic Promenade de Anglais).
Family owned and run since 1927, Restaurant Acchiardo was a lovely little spot serving up Nicoise delights that we were lucky enough to just stumble upon. A good mix of locals and tourists, we were impressed with the service, food and ambiance here. I enjoyed the best tomato burrata salad of my life along with an incredible roasted red pepper dish.
3. Le Bocal
Time for a quick geography lesson – Nice is less than 20 miles from Italy so of course the pasta here is on point. The simple penne with tomato sauce pictured above was just heavenly y’all; this was one of my favorite meals of the trip. It was one of the least touristy places we ate, but still there were some English speaking staff (one of which was kind enough to read us the entire menu, which was written in French on a blackboard and changes daily).
4. Le Maquis
Forgive the horrible photo (it was dark and I took it with my phone because we were exhausted this evening and I didn’t have my camera). The photo is not at all representative of how truly amazing Le Maquis was. Pictured was the onion pie appetizer I had and it was truly exquisite. The puff pastry that the onion and arugula set atop was perfection. This was my favorite thing I ate the entire time I was in France. The rest of the meal was equally amazing; this is definitely a don’t miss. 5. Boulangerie Saint François
This adorable bakery was near our Airbnb and we popped in on several occasions for espresso and a sweet treat. If you’re looking for macarons in France (and why the heck wouldn’t you be?), I highly recommend checking this spot out!
6. Cose Cosi
This darling restaurant in Old Town Nice drew us in because it was so dang cute. We weren’t hungry when we walked by, but it was so charming we had to stop in for a glass of prosecco. The wine, atmosphere and service were all top notch and I could tell from the smells, dishes coming out of the kitchen and the delight of the other diners that the food, which is fresh Italian, was also wonderful.
Lunch at Jan was the culinary highlight of this trip for both of us. Colleen said it was the best meal she’s ever had and it was definitely in my top three. A Michelin star restaurant serving sensational multi-course meals with exceptional service awaits you at this gem. Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is a native of South Africa and serving up stunning creations that celebrate South African hospitality inspired by local produce from the markets of the South of France. We opted for the full seven course menu for lunch and I’m so glad we did. The price was 124 euros ($141 USD) per person and worth every penny. Food lovers – this is a MUST when visiting Nice.
This is another can’t miss experience when you’re in Nice. At Oliviera, the adorable owner walks you through the menu and pours olive oil tastings to go with the fantastic food. The olive oils are from all corners of the French Riviera, including his very own made from olive trees just a few miles from the restaurant! This pesto tagliatelle was absolutely to die for, y’all, and you can purchase the olive oils to take home with you! You can also order them online here!
9. Le Fromage
There are fantastic cheese shops all over Nice and our favorite was a little one in Old Town named Le Fromage. It’s absolutely necessary you pick up some cheese (and wine and fresh bread!) for a simple meal while you’re here. We enjoyed this delicious spread of cheese, charcuterie and baguettes on the balcony of our Airbnb.
10. Carpe Diem
Cozy yet elegant with a relaxed atmosphere, Carpe Diem is another delicious gem in Old Town Nice. The cuisine here is fresh, classic Italian (remember we are right next door to Italy!) and simple menu items like the burrata salad will leave you one very happy diner! The star of the menu for us, was the Five Cheese Gnocchi – a MUST order when eating here!
11. Boulangerie du Lycee
This bakery was a bit of a walk from our Airbnb but it was every bit worth it for the divine pastries that awaited us! Here you’ll find excellent pastries (like my beloved pain au chocolat) and wonderful service at one of the oldest bakeries in Nice.
12. Lou Pastrouil
This is definitely a touristy spot and we stopped for the location and the ambiance – to sit on the streets of Old Town Nice and sip champagne while people watching. The delicious Nicoise salad we discovered was just an added bonus. It took us a week to finally have a Nicoise salad in Nice and this one was wonderful! I read mixed reviews of this place online but we thoroughly enjoyed our bubbles and snacks here.