We take plenty of meals in when we travel, so I usually don’t have tons to report. This trip was no different: 6 nights in Nice, 3 in Paris.
LaVigna – in the same building as the apartment we were renting so we thought, why not? We had a very good, 29€ 3-course lunch: fish soup, tuna with satay sauce (mildly flavored sauce but good) lieu noir with curry, washed down with a white Côtes-de-Provence; tarte citron and crème brulée to finish. Sat outside on a bright, sunny day with a view of the port. Good value, great service and worthy of a return.
Le Vingt 4 – We had dinner here with another couple, so I was able to taste 4 plats. We shared a starter of baked Camembert lit ablaze by Calvados. Warm, gooey, boozy cheese – what’s not to like? Mains were duck two ways (magret & confit), pork, rouget and monkfish done like a bourride, according to the menu, and cod. The duck dish was the winner, the pork was a bit dried out, and the two fish dishes were fine, but didn’t wow any of us. Service was very good; very casual, laid-back kind of place. I might go back for that duck dish, but otherwise would pass on a return visit.
A Casetta – Corsican – This was our last lunch, and we found it while wandering around in the ‘hood. I was craving pasta, and the penne with Corsican sausage and cheese did not disappoint. My husband had a risotto dish with mushrooms and sausage; and two glasses of Corsican red. Exactly what we wanted on this day. We enjoyed our chat with the proud proprietor, who provided very congenial service. I’d go back if in the neighborhood.
Speaking of the neighborhood, we really liked the Port area (thanks, Parigi – miss you on CH!) – not too touristy, plenty of provisions nearby, and an easy walk to the old town and market. Boulangerie Lagache was a daily stop for us (and sometimes twice a day) and we found a great fromage guy and butcher on the Rue Bonaparte, which is also full of restaurants and wine bars.
We got our socca fix from the vendor at the Cours Saleya market. Piping hot, with such a good texture and flavor. It made for a nice snack while wandering the market.
Lou Bantry – We struggled with eating on the water, and the usual trade-offs, but it was such a pretty day, and knowing we eventually had to go back to D.C. and winter made the decision much easier. We had a choice of 4 places, and wanted something more casual so decided on Lou Bantry. I had the roasted octopus special (perfectly cooked and tasty) atop smashed buttery potatoes with a smear of beet purée and squash purée, which I wanted more of. My husband had gnoccchi (light, fluffy pillows of goodness) with clams. The octopus special sold out shortly after I ordered it. Service was fun & friendly. I’d go back for a nibble and a glass of wine on the bay.
Le P’tit Cageot - We opted for the 3-course 29€ surprise menu, chef’s choice. My only problem with these kinds of menus is that we get the same dishes so taste fewer things. But this was a lovely, well-prepared, beautifully presented lunch – perhaps my favorite of the Riviera leg (thanks Laidback!!) Lentil soup with lardons and croutons to start with a bread-stick type thing that had a truffle- Mascarpone cream on it. The main was a beautiful duck breast with pommes purée and romanesco; and for dessert, a poached pear with nougat ice cream. Needless to say, a go-back-to place – the menu was small, but I found myself wanting to try everything.
Will try to report on the much-too-short Paris leg soon.