CHEF CONCIERGE • September 2019
The chef behind triple-Michelin-starred cliffside restaurant Mirazur, Mauro Colagreco is famed for his home-grown cuisine, which riffs on both his Argentine-Italian heritage and French Riviera home. Still riding high from Mirazur’s win at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, Colagreco speaks to Ianthe Butt about his favourite foodie hangouts in neighbouring Nice
Breakfast worth waking up early for
A visit to Le Negresco, a mystical hotel with beautiful architecture and many art masterpieces by the likes of Sosno, Dali and Moretti, feels like an invitation to travel back in time. Brunch at its restaurant, La Rotonde (pictured below), is perfect for enjoying a moment of calm contemplation while savouring eggs cooked however you like, as well as seafood, Italian antipasti and fresh burrata.
The must-try traditional dish
Niçoise salad and ratatouille might be the city’s most famous dishes, but there are plenty of other classics worth trying, such as tripes à la Niçoise (tripe stew). My favourite, however, is raviolis à la Niçoise – pasta stuffed with chopped meat from daube de boeuf, a Provençal beef stew made with red wine. Try it at La Merenda, which specialises in Niçois fare – it manages to make something as simple as pasta in pesto sauce a real delight.
Best for grab and go
I love socca, a thin chickpea pancake cooked over a wooden fire. It’s easy to eat on the go and a real specialty of Nice. For the city’s best, wander through the narrow alleys of Vieux Nice (the Old Town) to Lou Pilha Leva (pictured below) at 10 Rue Collet. There are lots of large wooden tables outside, so it’s a great spot for families to have a quick tasty bite, too. Another favourite, which you’ll find in all the bakeries, is pan bagnat, a sandwich filled with hard-boiled eggs, anchovies, tuna and vegetables, drizzled with olive oil. Perfect for the journey home.
Where to impress on a date
Top of the list is double-Michelin-starred Flaveur; the Tourteaux brothers work together to create what they call sensorial and innovative cuisine, using both local produce and ingredients sourced from further afield. I adore the way they combine flavours to achieve daring results. Recently, I enjoyed a smoked swordfish dish with lemon confit and salt and fresh herbs.
Foodie hangout where children are welcome
The terrace at Le Bistronome (11 Avenue de Ray) is a good family spot, as kids can sit outside and play in the fresh air. Mezzo Mezzo Pizza is another reliable option. It uses lots of fresh ingredients – offering everything from a Margherita through to pizzas topped with truffle oil – and the bases are light and crispy.
The classic foodie souvenir
Nice is famous for its olives, and the best place to buy them is the stands at my favourite food market, Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya (open Tuesdays to Sundays). It’s a true Mediterranean food and flower market, bustling with life, colours and smells, and a special atmosphere that you can only fully grasp by experiencing it first-hand. I always come home with bunches of freshly cut flowers, seasonal fruit and vegetables, honey, soaps and takeaway socca in a paper cone.
Best spot for drinks with a view
The Mediterranean Sea, especially around the Bay of Angels, is an astonishing array of different shades of turquoise; I love gazing at it. Get closer and the sound of the waves makes for a totally soothing experience. Add to that a classic cocktail or glass of wine and sunset and you’ll never want to leave. Plage Beau Rivage (pictured above) is a great place to experience it because it has two areas – one with a DJ and another that is more relaxing and sheltered.
Dining experience worth leaving town for
Buy a cheap ticket for the coastal train from Nice to Menton, and come and try Mirazur. The restaurant is set on the Italian-French border, and the location is like nowhere else in the world. Behind us we have mountains and in front of us is the Mediterranean sea. I work with produce from my surroundings and love sourcing ingredients from small producers at the local markets in both France and Italy. That’s the beauty of Menton, you get the best of both worlds in a blink of an eye.
Currently number one on the World’s Fifty Best Restaurants list, Mauro Colegreco’s Mirazur was awarded its third Michelin star this year. To find out more and to book a table, click here