Not a War Zone: A New Take on Tradition in Nice

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In Vieux Nice, there are dozens of places to order the classic menu: an appetizer, main, and dessert for a set price. There are also dozens of casual spots to dig into the Niçoise specialties: stuffed vegetables known as farcis, anchovy/onion pizza called pissaladiere; and socca, a chickpea flour pancake served simply, dusted only with black pepper.

But at one spot, L’Atelier à Nice, you’ll find modern, inventive cooking and an updated classic so forehead-slappingly obvious you’ll wonder why no one ever thought of it before.

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Here, the chef cooks individual socca in pie tins and tops them with delicious combinations like shimp/burrata/arugula, smoked duck/fois gras, tuna tartar/ginger/avocado, and thai beef/basil/chili. Socca had perhaps been the last flatbread in the world to be stuffed with something… and here they’ve finally done it.

The entire menu is interesting, with a full section devoted to gnocchi – including gnocchi carbonara, perhaps the richest dish I’ve eaten all year (and without any regret, for once), tossed with lardons, an eggy cream sauce, and topped with pan-fried pancetta. They also have a nice selection of simply grilled meats and fish a la plancha, all put together in the open kitchen that anchors the small dining room.

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Desserts are among the most creative in Nice. No profiteroles here (quel horreur!) but you will find parfaits of thyme ice cream, citrus coulis, and gingerbread crumb; or a trifle that tastes exactly like an elephantine Ferrero Rocher.

This is a tourist town, and it’s easy to pay tourist prices for average food – but here it’ll be you and the locals, the price tags are palatable (soccas are around 15€), and you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into something truly special.

L’Atelier à Nice
17 Rue Gioffredo
06000 Nice, France
+33 493 85 50 74
 
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