Caroline, fresh from a recent trip to France, blogs about a gem of a restaurant in Nice.
Sometimes on holiday you’re lucky enough to find a restaurant that ticks all the boxes and we were fortunate enough last time we were in Nice to discover Voyageur Nissart, a little family-run restaurant in Rue Alsace Lorraine. Reasonably priced, excellent food, popular with locals and a ten minute walk from our apartment – what more could we ask for?
The word “Nissart” denotes a sub-division of the Occitan language (Provençal dialect) peculiar to Nice. It is clear therefore that the menu will feature some traditional Nicois dishes, such as Farcis Nicois (stuffed vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes, peppers and onions, sampled by Richard the other night), Tripes Nicoises (tripe cooked in the traditional Nicois way which neither of us felt brave enough to sample!) and Caponata (an aubergine stew which became a firm favourite on the three evenings that we dined there this year).
This was our last dinner of the holiday and there was no contest when choosing where to dine. Despite the fact that Voyageur Nissart is not that far from the slightly scruffy area near the railway station we were not tempted to head off to the buzz of the Old Town or to the rarefied atmosphere of the Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais with its two Michelin-starred restaurant.
Champagne is available by the glass for €7 so that seemed to be a good way to kick off the evening. Pondering the menu while we enjoyed our aperitif we debated the merits of sticking with our favourites or trying something different. Richard was torn between the stuffed vegetables which he had enjoyed the night before and the caponata but eventually the aubergines won the day. I had loved the avocado and smoked salmon but decided tonight to give the aubergine mille feuille a whirl. This turned out to be a slight mistake on my part.
To me “mille feuille” always involves pastry but it turned out that this particular starter uses the thinly sliced aubergine in place of the pastry layers (so far so good) but then puts goat’s cheese in between the aubergines. Sadly I am no fan of goat’s cheese and the overpowering flavour is hard to ignore. Luckily the dish came with a generous portion of Parma ham so all was not lost and Richard nobly came to the rescue, helping out with the aubergine and even giving me some of his caponata!
Then there was the dilemma of the main course. Could Richard bring himself to order the lamb cutlets for a third night at the restaurant? It transpired that he couldn’t face the shame and so chose the boeuf daube, another Provençal favourite. I had no such qualms having had the Provençal tiger prawns and red peppers in pastis the night before. Whilst these were delicious they couldn’t quite compete with the lamb grilled with Provençal herbs and served with potatoes Dauphinois. We chose a jug of the house red to accompany our meal, a real bargain at only €9 for 75cl.
We were tempted by the blackboard of desserts (especially the passion fruit bavarois which we had shared on a previous occasion) but were just too full. Perhaps if we had shown more restraint with the basket of crusty bread at the start of the meal…
Voyageur Nissart does three set menus ranging from €16 to €23 for three courses and there are plenty of mains on the a la carte menu around the €15 mark. Starters are about €8 and all desserts and cheese €5. With only 45 covers, it is worth booking ahead.
Categories: Restaurant reviews