Dine | Côte d’Azur  
 

Whatever our “sun cure” actually entailed, it unfortunately did not include visits to some of the temples de gastronomie of the Côte d’Azur, much to the dismay of the novice food lover in us.  We love to eat, and eat well, but with the global and personal financial situations as they are we made the best of what we could find, sometimes accidentally, and afford.  We also are not of the school that charts dining excursions ahead of time with information from well-traveled and critical sources, although we do consult both from time to time.  Mostly though, we dine as we travel, preferring to eat when the fancy strikes, wherever we happen to be, and whatever happens to be served.  And so, Alain Ducasse and his surely excellent Le Louis XV will have to wait until some future “sun cure” when we return with our yacht docking in Monte Carlo’s Port Hercules.  

 
 
 Cannes
 
 
3 Baguettes
 
Euro 4
 

Le Caveau Provençal
45, rue Félix Faure
We were sold on the 45€ bouillabaisse on the outside menu before we discovered, inside, that the price was per person (our mistake).  But the menu offered plenty of attractive alternatives.  Nez selected the Menu à 36€, which brought a fine foie gras (1) to start and a French’s take on the fritto misto di mare (2) for the main course.  The latter looked attractive but having spent much of her appetite on the hearty appetizer, Nez was only able to pick at the surface, mainly the excellent onion strings.  Riot took a cue from a nearby solo diner, who was lost in his own dining world and was deliciously devouring his plate of fresh seafood on ice, and ordered the assiette de fruits de mer (3).  The ice-cold items presented well, but tastewise lacked the requisite freshness and heft.  The best of the raw offerings were the oysters, slurped and chewed with a splash of Tabasco; the other mysterious half-shells remained on the melting ice.  In its own melting ice was an excellent réserve maison rosé that was had for a bargain.  From the 30s décor of this place and its huge black-and-white photos of stars, you almost expected to spot a few in the crowded terrace.  We didn’t see any but we weren’t really looking.
 
 
2 Baguettes
 
Euro 1
 

Délice Yang
10, rue Emile Négrin
Just like the common admonition to avoid restaurants with menus in multiple languages, one should also try to avoid restaurants that conjoin names of Asian cuisines on their signs:  “chinois, vietnamien, thaïlandais, etc.”  Yet, when faced with limited post-lunch options and having to choose between fast food at McDonald’s and overpriced “French” fare, it is OK to dodge into one of these ubiquitous joints.  Riot did that here in Cannes and ordered riz cantonais and fish fillets (1) after eyeing a long display case with nothing jumping forth except thoughts of how overpriced they all seemed.  The food was sub-par; a typical American mall’s food court “Chinese” would have given it a run for the money.
 
 
 
4 Baguettes
 
Euro 2
 
Le Jardin de Bambou
16, rue Jean Macé
www.lejardindebambou.com
Le Jardin de Bambou is decidedly an upscale ethnic restaurant, with its understated themed furnishing and décor, but fortunately skips the trendy pretension and prices and instead focuses on its food.  Over a plate of succulent boeuf à la citronnelle (1) [lemongrass] and tender poulet kongpao (2) we had a great and varied conversation and a lunch that took as long as lunch should take.  Both dishes were simply prepared with no particular frills and could be had in any good Chinatown restaurant.  But this was as good as it got when such was not an option.  We finished the occasion with a dessert that we never had before:  délices de coco, steamy egg custard engulfed in a warm mochi shell speckled with coconut shreds.  It was delightful.
 
 
2 Baguettes
 
Euro 1
 

Au Kebab Royal
11, rue Rouguière
Tucked into a little conduit connecting the bazaar-like rue Meynadier and the restaurants-fronted rue Félix Faure was this little place with a few outside wooden tables that served food during the post-lunch, pre-dinner nadir.  We came here after sleeping too many hours to count, including sleeping through the previous night's dinner.  We satisfied our appetite with a döner kebab (1) and kofta (2) wraps, with frites, mais oui.  It was a reasonable and reasonably quick meal, and tasted just like the dozens of other kebab places we had frequented since coming to France; a great, indistinguishable, and utilitarian meal.
 
 
3 Baguettes
 
Euro 2
 
Mister Pizza
36, boulevard de Lorraine
www.mister-pizza.com
With 14 stores in the region and a legion of scooter delivery boys in yellow helmets and yellow bikes, we should have spotted this pizza place (1) sooner but didn’t.  We only happened upon this branch in Cannes after wandering away from the center of town.   While there was not much to write home about the pizza served here, we would wager that the solid pizza it baked to order rivaled those offered at many of the more “established” restaurants here; a much better bang for the buck in both taste and value for sure.  We brought our hot 12-inch (30-cm) orientale (2) (tomato, cheese, spicy lamb sausage, mushroom, bell peppers, oregano, and strange-to-us, un-pit olives) to the famed La Croisette and ate it heartily by the beach in front of a swanky hotel; the cost of our meal would probably be an insulting tip to the bellboy there.  We did not forget a salade verte to ease our healthy conscience nor the hot oil to amplify the taste.
 
 
2 Baguettes
 
Euro 1
 

Snack Kebab
5, rue du Docteur Gérard Monod
This was kebab in its natural habitat (except maybe also when there was no food in the mid-afternoon):  late at night when even the bars were beginning to close, if they closed at all.  We did not intend to get kebab again but it came down to this or a sleepless night dreaming about food.  When we walked away with our kebab frites and hummus wraps, the joint looked as though it was just halfway through its business day, and the inebriated customers at the next-door bar seemed like fish in a barrel.  Maybe that was why they were skimping on the meat; Riot was a dozen bites in before hitting meat in the thicket of potato.  Like many of our more lowbrow meals in Cannes, the location and company greatly enhanced the ultimate experience.
 
 
 
 
 
 Juan-les-Pins
 
 
3 Baguettes
 
Euro 3
 

Les Arcades

129, boulevard du Président Wilson
We swooped into town on our scooter, not even knowing which town it was, and went in search of food.  We actually passed up this place, one of the many restaurants with expansive outdoor seating on a festive pedestrian drive, after looking at the menu but returned when we saw two ladies eating what looked like bouillabaisse, which was not on the menu.  It wasn't, but the hostess assured us that it, la marmite du pêcheur (1), was “the same.”  This eye pleasing and mouth-watering “fisherman’s pot” was chock-full of assorted seafood, some tasty, others mysterious, and a few simply decorative.   Riot was really excited about the broth, for which he eyed the basketful of bread.  But it disappointed, slightly, being a tad too salty.  A squeeze of lemon did mask the blemish enough to make it enjoyable.  Nez went with her seafood favorite, moules frites (2), which turned out juicy and succulent, just as she expected and comparable to our standard for such dish, the chain (yes, chain) Léon de Bruxelles.
 
 
 
 Nice
 
 
2 Baguettes
 
Euro 2
 

Ah-Ha
Corner of avenue Thiers & avenue Jean Médicin
After two straight days of picnicking on pâté, duck moose, and bread, we decided to skip the Monoprix store on our way to Nice today.  We were downright starving when we got to Nice’s train station and made a random pick among the many Asian fast food joints nearby.  Ah-Ha was the brightest looking one and had a large display case full of different dishes, though nothing was particularly inviting.  Also unappetizing was the high price being asked for such average-looking food.  We shared a menu with poulet nems, porc à la sauce aigre-douce, and riz naturel (1), all of which tasted as expected.  We ate in the corner of the large dining room and watched the throng of people come and go and when we passed by again around midnight business was still going strong.  They had definitely found their niche.
 
 
4 Baguettes
 
Euro 2
 

Delhi Darbar

4, rue de lAbbaye
Niçoise dining it wasn’t, but in an alley (we love dining in alleys) between two Italian restaurants that seemed to be using the same kitchen, was a gastronomic gem that evoked the multicultural character of Nice of today.  Operated by a husband-and-wife team whose complete lack of haste brought about a quality of calm to the meal and induced the diners to focus on nothing but the food, sometimes waiting for the food.  When it finally came, the food was probably the best Indian we had had in France.  Riot got the menu, which started with juicy seekh kabab (1) to whet our appetites with a compliment of three flavorful sauces (we also love sauces).  Nez’s delicious chicken tikka masala (2) came in a mini wok and had the texture that was closer to a stir-fried dish than the creamy curry one we had been accustomed to at home.  Riot’s hefty golden bowl of prawn curry (3) was amazing, the fresh prawns were expertly cooked such that they popped on each bite.  We did not have enough garlic naan or basmati rice to consume with all the different sauces from these dishes.  As good as everything was and as much as we (more likely Riot) wanted more, we also wanted to leave with that lingering craving.  That we did, as well as missing our scheduled departure back to Cannes.  A good meal is worth all that and more.
 
 
 
 Desserts
 
 
3 Baguettes
 
Euro 1
 
Les Délices - Glace Maison Italienne
25, rue Saint-Michel
Menton
 
 


Skip all the pretenders on the main pedestrian-only street who merely peddle regular “glaces” (French for ice cream) and head for the real Italian treat instead.
 
 
 
4 Baguettes
 
Euro 1
 
La Gelateria
57, rue Grimaldi
Monte-Carlo, Principaute de Monaco
 
 







Coco et mangue, simplement magnifique!
 
 
 
2 Baguettes
 
Euro 2
 
Up Side Down
5, Place du Général de Gaulle
Cannes
 
 


Looks good from the ouside when you’re walking by but after sitting down and taking the first bite you quickly realize what an overpriced and unsatisfying experience it really is.
 
 
Sun Cure in the Cote DAzure
 
Sleep Cote dAzur
 
A matter of numbers
 
Comments
 
 
Go!
 
Holla
 
Taste
 
 

Copyright © 2008  Rien, Vraiment!  All rights reserved.