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.
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.
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