Nice is a great place for food indulgence, whether you're picnicking on market fare, snacking on Niçois specialities or dining in the palace hotels. The Italian influence is strong in all restaurants, with pasta on every menu; seafood is also a staple. For snacks , many of the cafés sell sandwiches with typically Provençal fillings such as fresh basil, olive oil, goat's cheese and mesclum , the unique green salad mix of the region. If you want to buy the best bread or croissants in town, seek out Espuno , 22 rue Vernier, in the old town.
Excellent restaurants can be found throughout most of Nice. Vieux Nice has a dozen on every street catering for a wide variety of budgets; the port quaysides have very good, but pricey, fish restaurants. In summer it's wise to book tables or turn up before 8pm, especially in Vieux Nice
Cafés and bars
Bar des Oiseaux , 9 rue St-Vincent. Named for the birds that fly down from their nests in the loft and the pet parrot and screeching myna bird that perch by the door. Serves delicious and copious baguette sandwiches. Erratic opening hours, sometimes closed all afternoon.
Caves Ricord , 2 rue Neuve. An old-fashioned wine bar with faded peeling posters and drinkers to match. A wide selection of wine by the glass, plus pizzas and other snacks. Closed Wed & mid-June to mid-July.
La Douche à l'Étage , 34 cours Saleya. A cyber café with four terminals linked up to the Internet while upstairs there really is a shower, plus comfy settees, billiards and music. Open till 12.30am.
Nocy-be , 2 rue Jules-Gilley. This New-Agey tea house has a cushioned interior which evokes a bedouin tent. Countless varieties of teas and infusions. Open Wed-Sun 4pm-12.30am.
Scarlet O'Hara , 22 rue Droite. Tiny Irish folk bar on the corner of rue Rosetti serving the creamiest, priciest Guinness this side of the Irish Sea. Daily 6pm-12.30am; closed Mon & first half of July.
L'Auberge de Théo , 52 av Cap-de-Croix (tel 04.93.81.26.19). Pleasant Italian food up in Cimiez. 130F/?19.83 menu (except Sat & Sun evening). Closed Mon & third week Aug to second week Sept.
Chantecler and La Rotonde , Hôtel Negresco , 37 promenade des Anglais (tel 04.93.16.64.00, firstname.lastname@example.org ). Chantecler is the best restaurant in Nice and over 500F/?76 à la carte, but chef Dominique Le Stanc provides a lunchtime menu, wine and coffee included, for 250F/?38.13, which will give you a good idea of how sublime Niçoise food at its best can be. At La Rotonde you can taste less fancy but still mouthwatering dishes on 110F/?16.78 and 150F/?22.88 menus. Closed mid-Nov to mid-Dec.
La Criée , 22 cours Saleya (tel 04.93.85.49.99). A cut above the hordes of near-identical seafood places whose patios cram the cours de Saleya. Great service and good prices, with menus from 100F/?15.25.
L'Escalinada , 22 rue Pairolière (tel 04.93.62.11.71). Tucked away among the bustle of Old Nice's market street, this is the place for down-home Niçoise cooking in a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere. Menus 120-160F/?18.30-24.40.
Nissa La Bella , 6 rue Ste-Réparate (tel 04.93.62.10.20). Socca , pizzas and other real Niçoise specialities. From 80F/?12.20. Closed Sun lunch.
La Noisetine , cours Saleya, near rue Gassin. One of the cheapest places to eat on the cours Saleya with generous and tasty crêpes, huge salads, nice desserts and fresh fruit juices. Open till midnight.
Poco Loco , 2 rue Dalpozze (tel 04.93.88.85.83, www.poco-loco.com ). Lively place with authentic Mexican food at near-Mexican prices (60-95F/?9.15-14.49 for a menu). Just off the promenade des Anglais.
René Socca , 2 rue Miralhéti, off rue Pairolière. The cheapest meal in town: you can buy helpings of socca , pissaladière , stuffed peppers, pasta or calamares at the counter and eat with your fingers on stools ranged haphazardly across the street; the bar opposite serves the drinks. Closed Mon & Nov.
La Trapa , 12 rue Jules-Gilly (tel 04.93.80.33.69). Cuban tapas bar and restaurant featuring live music on summer evenings and a delicious plat du jour at 70F/?10.68.
Virginie , 2 place A.-Blanqui (tel 04.93.55.10.07). Excellent plateau des fruits de mer . From 60F/?9.15.
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