Simple lunch in Old Nice, great value

Tuesday 3rd April 2007

Chez Christiane, Old Nice

Chez Christiane is a tiny restaurant on rue Pairoliere in Old Nice, not far from Place Garibaldi and the Gare Routiere (bus station) You tend to miss it as there is a fragrant spice shop opposite which zaps the senses and draws your attention.

We've had several lunches here. It tends to be our default restaurant when our preferred Bar de la Bourse is full and Chez Rene Socca is too busy, it's located about half-way between these two. The concept is very simple. There's one price, 8,60 euros (April 2007) and for this you get a a plate of homemade pasta with a choice of sauce. Sometimes gnocchi or polenta is offered as an alternative to pasta. The pasta is spaghetti or tagliatelle and the sauces are bolognese (more a coating of sauce rather than a dollop of meat) or basilic (pistou) There may be another sauce/pasta combo too.

Included in the price is a generous glass of wine and a single scoop of icecream for pudding, vanilla and sometimes a choice of chocolate. You also get a basket of bread - handy to mop up the sauce. You can have any number of free glasses of water. It's 8,60 euros for everyone, including children even though they don't get the wine, if you don't order a free glass of water, you will have to pay extra for lemonade etc; there's no substituting a soft drink for the wine. If you don't want the icecream, tough, it's still 8,60 euros.

There is an additional menu if you want something different to drink, and coffee is about 2 euros. We've only ever had the menu, no extras. It's good value, the service is fast and the food is consistent and fine for a simple lunch. I always have the homemade pistou sauce with tagliatelle - the garlic in it makes my mouth burn, it's wonderful. Pistou or basilic is a mix of basil, garlic, olive oil. The wine is perfectly drinkable but probably wisely, the red is served cold.The decor is basic and mismatched, dark wood chairs and pale pine tables which irritates me. Don't expect air-conditioning in the summer or heating in the winter. The service is fine, we have only ever seen one chap here, a frenetic waiter, called Christian but he isn't the owner. He has a major panic if the restaurant is full, quite entertaining as he rushes around chuntering to himself. When we first came he only ever rattled off very fast French at us which didn't matter there's not a lot to understand at this restaurant, but this year he has relaxed, more confident in his role and will throw in the odd word of English. He's quick and attentive, you can be in and out as fast as you like but if you are in no hurry, that is fine too.

I don't know why we don't eat here as a first choice, it's consistent, cheap and the pasta fills you up for the rest of the day, can't really fault it. Mind you, you have to enjoy carb-loading although the portions are not overwhelming. Handy choice if you're starving, need to eat quickly and everywhere is full. It's not the sort of place to reserve, just bob in and sit down.

Please see my restaurant page on my website for other recommendations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My 12 year old daugther and myself will be travelling to Nice this summer...this looks like a great place to try...thanks!