Out in Nice: A Buffa Transformed and a Buffet of Great Dining
LA BUFFA EN FETE
We watched rue de la Buffa transform as we put up with the noise and mess of the construction for months…but it was well worth it.
Thursday evening, Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, entered the Jardin Alziary de Malaussena on the corner of rue Docteur Baréty and rue de la Buffa along with his entire entourage, walking into a crowd of waiting residents, in order to inaugurate the new green beltway along the Buffa axis. The work has just been completed, giving way to another completely metamorphosed street.
It’s part of the program to create kilometers of bike paths surrounded by trees and shrubs, designed to ease traffic and offer a greener, more peaceful living environment. What this has done to transform the city is overwhelming.
To mark the occasion, all residents were invited to a free festive evening in the presence of the Mayor, enjoy musical entertainment, experience creative workshops for the kids, and partake in a Nice-style buffet. Estrosi is a handsome man who oozes charisma. He is the ultimate politician, working his way slowly through the crowd shaking hands with everyone and kissing a few along the way. I was one of those to score a handshake…at the very least.
Since the launch of the east-west greenways in Nice in 2019, Estrosi claims that the benefits in terms of improved quality of life are undeniable: 20% to 40% fewer vehicles on the roads per day depending on the route, three to five decibels for noise pollution less and 10% to 20% less pollution. We residents notice the difference. Anyone visiting the city after years of absence will be astonished by the beauty of these new and enhanced throughways.
Other streets and lots of other projects designed to improve life in the city are in the works. We’ll be watching. For more information about the major projects of the city of Nice in progress, visit this website.
DINING OUT IN NICE
Last week I promised I’d write about 10 great restaurant choices in Nice and already offered up two of note you simply must try:
1. Peixes (2 of the same restaurant in different locations):
– Peixes, 4 rue de l’Opéra
– Peixes, 5 rue Bonaparte
2. Le Safari: 1 Cour Saleya
Be sure to read about both of these in last Monday’s Nouvellettre® .
The other eight are the following—but note that the list is not complete by any stretch of the imagination—there are so many I’d love to list (!). And, the list is not in any particular order. Should you patronize any of these, do not hesitate to tell them that “Adrienne” recommended it!
3. Le Comptoir du Marché: 8 Rue du Marché
Le Comptoir du Marché is another one of Armand Crespo’s restaurants and fabulously delicious. It’s very French offering somewhat typical bistro fare, but always creative and way above the fray. The best tables are in the back room where you have an eye on the kitchen and can watch the ballet of the good-looking young chefs as they prepare each dish with grace and style.
4. Le Victor Hugo: 1 rue Berlioz, +33 4 93 87 11 58
Le Victor Hugo has no website, no Facebook page, no nothing. It’s a small neighborhood restaurant run by a woman chef named Michele who is accompanied by her two bulldog sidekicks. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, but it’s exceptional, even if a little more expensive than your average midday meal. It’s not for tourists. The locals go there with their little dogs who benefit at the end of the service when Michele sometimes brings them leftover goodies. I love everything about this restaurant…from Marguerette, the oldest of the two bulldogs who sleeps under the banquette at the back, to the table-clothed classy dining, to the pan-fried potatoes that are impossible to resist.
5. CHEZ RITHO: 12 rue Halévy
When we started patronizing Chez RiTho as long ago as 2009, its name was Portovenere. The same owners, Riccardo Pavani and Thomas Russo, for some odd reason, renovated the premises this past year and changed the menu. It didn’t seem to need it, and now it looks more like an ice cream parlor than an Italian restaurant…but you can still count on it to be delicious.
Friday night, they surprised me by serving up a whole grilled sea bass, knowing that I prefer to eat the whole fish than a filet. Their new menu eliminated the whole fish as most people aren’t as adventuresome as I am when it comes to dissecting seafood (my New Orleans upbringing), but I really missed it and complained. They must have noticed that I wasn’t coming quite as often and this was a way of winning back my heart. (It worked.)
Bonus: there is curbside entertainment from the gay bar across the street as the drag queens who perform there hang out and create their own antics!
6. LA VILLA MASSENET: 10 rue Massenet
La Villa Massenet has won our hearts, too. We began hanging out there when we were working on Le Palais du Soleil and discovered that not only was the food very good, and not only did they offer a “plat du jour” at a bargain, but their service was friendly and atmosphere close to perfect. I’ve already mapped out a table I like just inside, at the window where it’s quiet, where I can see everything going on. They offer a whole “daurade” (sea bream) or sea bass daily, grilled to perfection. It’s not on the menu per se, but you’ll see “peche du jour” and that’s usually it. Once I discovered this, my heart melted.
7. BISTROT D’ANTOINE: 27, rue de la Préfecture
This was Armand Crespo’s first attempt at a restaurant in Nice, and look what it got him…now with six under his belt. We first knew him as the chef at Le Cigalon in Valbonne, the chic, good-natured, mischievous Michelin-starred restaurant in the Cannes area. Now, in the heart of old Nice, he’s transformed himself into a charming innkeeper. He’s funny, lively, warm and affable, creating a new food fare, turning away diners, smiling at everyone, and advising on the wines of the moment. His wife runs Le Bistrot d’Antoine. The waitstaff have been there forever, a testament to Armand’s good management skills.
8. LE GALET: 3 Promenade des Anglais
The Baie des Anges is lined with private beaches and seaside restaurants. One can try them all and find the best of the bunch, but Le Galet is closest to where I live. It manages to construct an elegant spot out of what is normally just rocks. The food at all of them comes at a price—let’s face it, you’re buying real estate when you choose to dine by the water’s edge. Some think it’s lovely to put a row of shrubbery between you and the water, which defeats the whole purpose of being seaside. Leave those for the others. At Le Galet you can count on the food being acceptable and the atmosphere and service just perfect.
9. SOHO: 16 Rue Halévy
Rue Halévy is just one restaurant after another starting from the corner at rues Masséna and France all the way to the Promenade. They aren’t all very good, that’s for sure, but it’s fun to try them out and test them for yourself. A brand new one on the block is Soho. It’s quite lovely and inviting. As it turns out, quite good. But, this review is the result of only one try…so who knows if it can live up to its good first attempt.
10. TCHITCHOU: 29 Av. Georges Clemenceau
This is a restaurant you won’t just pass and think much about, but be sure to put it on your radar. It has a Facebook page, but it doesn’t need anything more than that to keep it booked up. Family run, specializing in Niçois specialties, you will feel like you landed at home and mama’s taking care of you.
• It’s best to reserve in advance at all of these. Use my trick: call and say “This is so-and-so (your first name),” then proceed to ask if they have a table free for the day and time you want it. What happens is that they will think they are supposed to know you, so that when you do show up and say “Bonjour, I have reservations for so-and-so at such-and-such a-time,” they will treat you as if you’re a regular and remember you the next time, too. It works! And this is why if you say “Adrienne recommended you,” they will know that “Adrienne” is me!
• I make no judgment here on price. Most are reasonable, average-priced restaurants, but always expect to pay more at the seaside.
• This list is limited to a few of the ones I tend to patronize. Feel free to discover many more on your own.
INFLATION AND THE COST OF LIVING
Last Wednesday, Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial, led our Second Quarter Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum on the subject of “Inflation and The Cost of Living.” If you weren’t able to attend, you needn’t miss out on the information from the webinar—it was recorded in it’s entirety, so feel free to watch it and pass it on to your friends.
Here are two ways of watching:
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. We host or speak at a number of events each year. To see what we’re up to next, please see the Events page on our website.