Flaveur is a fairly small place, seating about 20, with a very styled and pretty bright interior . It is striking but a lot of hard surfaces that could make the noise level high in addition to the soft background music. Steel and wood cutouts decorate the room in various patterns, one being a fish skeleton. The small tables are nicely spaced and appointed with a runner rather than a full cloth but a wonderfully large napkin. Service is friendly and helpful but some of the pacing is a bit slow, probably to folks like me who ask a lot of questions and our waiter never rushed us off. But trust me, the food is worth waiting for. The menu is a tasting one and you can pick 3, 4 or 7 courses. Wine pairings are available. We chose the 4 course and selected our own bottle of wine. Continue reading
La Merenda, Nice, 10/20/17
La Merenda is a small place with a chalkboard menu and you either have to go by or try and get someone to answer the phone to get a reservation, which is a must. Tables are covered by a paper runner, small and closely put together along each of the facing walls. They are close enough that you will probably end up in conversation with your neighbors which really adds to the experience as a number of nationalities were represented there that evening. At the end of the room is a tiny kitchen which produces all the food served by one nice waiter for seatings at 7:00 or 9:00 at dinner. He was friendly, helpful and amazingly efficient – attending to your needs yet not making you feel rushed. The wine selection is limited – about a half dozen wines. Portions are generous and we ordered way more than we could eat but wanted to be able to sample a number of the chef’s dishes. Continue reading
Restaurant JAN, Nice, 10/19/17
Restaurant JAN seats only 24 people with a South African chef that uses local ingredients. It has been in business for 5 years and 2 years ago received a Michelin star. The room is tasteful with small tables that are appointed with large lovely napkins and soft eclectic music plays in the background. Staff is friendly and helpful. It is a choice of 2 tasting menus (12 or 5 courses) at dinner and a 3 course menu is also offered only at lunch. Continue reading
La Palme d’Or, Cannes, 10/19/17
La Palme D’Or is a 2 star Michelin in the lovely Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. There is a separate door and elevator to access the restaurant or you can get there from the hotel lobby. Cannes is a short train ride from Nice, if you do not wish to stay there. We were there for lunch on a beautiful day and so were treated to a terrance seat overlooking the stunning beach, blue water and multiple yachts view. I’m not generally an outdoor seating lover but this would change anybody’s mind. Not a bug, a wonderful breeze and a great canopy for shade perfectly compliment the view. Service is most attentive and helpful as well as friendly. The menu is presented in the form of a cube with the various tasting menu options on each of the 6 sides and a pullout page of a la carte options. Continue reading
Les Deux Canailles, Nice, 10/18/17
Open for 5 years, Les Deux Canailles is a small place with about 10 tables lining two sides of a rectangular room. They offer nice pillows for back support for those sitting on the benches along the wall. Some of the kitchen is open on one end of the room. Background music along with interesting art on the walls gives the place a cozy feel. Service is friendly and helpful but the cloth napkins are woefully small. The menu offers a chef’s tasting menu or a smaller fixed price (with some choices) option. We chose the chef’s tasting. The wine list is quite small. Continue reading
Mauro Colagreco, Restaurant Mirazur, Menton, 10/18/17
Mirazur is a 2 star Michelin place on a hillside in Menton, a short train ride from Nice and within shouting distance of the Italian border. The restaurant is on the second story of a building that overlooks the water and hillside – a beautiful backdrop for the stunning food by chef Mauro Colagreco. If you’re lucky you will snag one of the tables that sit aside these windows but the interior tables also can enjoy the view, it just seemed less dramatic. The first floor has a small bit of kitchen, bathrooms and some more lounge type seating where you can enjoy coffee or after dinner drinks if you prefer. Buenos Aires born Chef Mauro Colagreco opened Mirazur in 2006 and received his first Michelin star just one year later. The second star was awarded in 2012. They are open for lunch and dinner but do close for a winter break. They offer a number of different tastings varying the number of courses included and you select which you want when you make your reservation. Service was attentive and friendly. Continue reading
Le Chantecler, Nice, 10/17/17
Le Chantecler is located in the elegant Le Negresco Hotel. It is an ornate dining room off the heavily decorated lobby and was recently re-done in shades of pink and green. As the name means “rooster” there are many examples of rooster art in the room. Only 16 tables are very well spaced in the quiet and well lit room. They offer a small a la carte menu as well as several tasting menus. We chose the Discovery Menu which is a surprise but they were nice enough to provide me with a printed menu at the end of the evening. Service is formal and old school (ladies menus have no prices) but friendly and anxious meet your every need. Pacing was spread out, so if you’re in a rush definitely let them know. The wine list is a huge book but didn’t seem to have that many choices but it was possible to get affordable local bottles of wine.
Amuse bouche included cauliflower and garlic on a cheese biscuit (nice bite, biscuit was great), black pudding and apple in crust (okay) and foie gras on toast (good).
Bread service included parmesan, cranberry and multi-seed. The parmesan roll was a bit dry and not as buttery as it looked. The multi seed had a very crisp exterior and lots of seed flavors. The cranberry was my favorite with a dense chewy interior studded with tart berries and a nice exterior.
The last amuse bouche was a mushroom ravioli with sage which was interestingly served at room temperature. The pasta was fairly thick which made it seem tough. It had only mild flavor.
Our Discovery Menu tasting started with a new dish: scallops two ways, roasted with mashed Jerusalem artichoke and salsify and as carpaccio with citrus jelly. The carpaccio was cold with chilies, vegetables, sliced egg and French caviar. The caviar was briny and the jelly dots mildly flavored. The scallop slices were tender and sweet. The toasted scallop was warm with sea beans on top and Jerusalem artichoke purée under and around it. The two tastes worked well together and this one was my favorite of the 2 preparations.
Dover Sole with spinach was served with glazed salfify. The fish was a tad overcooked but the salsify was quite nice and perfectly cooked. This was a mild dish and not in the winner column.
Another new dish was on our menu, Roasted Mallard duck with honey, spices and winter vegetables. It was served nicely rare with the honey giving it a fragrant perfume. Crispy quince and Swede (yellow/orange turnips) were served with the tasty bird. The breast meat was among the best I’ve had with not a hint of livery taste. The turnips were predictably bitter but the quince was a nicely sweet foil for it. This was a great dish.
A selection from the Matured cheeses by Mr. Bordier in Saint-Malo was next. Our choices were accompanied by a delicious grapefruit/orange marmalade. It really accented the cheeses well and made the course special.
Kaki fruit (like a persimmon) perfumed with Madagascar vanilla, an olive oil biscuit, nuts and honey made up the first dessert. The ice cream was nicely smooth and the fruit and honey were a sufficient sweet fix but it didn’t rate a yum.
The second dessert was a Solliés (near Marseille) fig that had been roasted with earl grey and served with 67% dark chocolate cream and crunchy walnuts. It was nice but not a strongly flavored fig. The crunchy ring it was perched on, and filled with chocolate ganache, was actually the better part of the dish.
Lest you leave unsatisfied the dessert cart then arrives at your table. Filled with chocolates, fruit, nut, chewy, crisp and creamy options. We tried a sampling but none stood out in memory, although all were beautifully presented.