2 Avenue Jean Lorrain, Nice, 06000
- Recommended for:
- Families with teenagers, Great views / scenery, Relaxation, Special occasions
Expert review of Coco Beach
Here’s one of the simplest and finest fish restaurants in Nice, in what is one of the city’s lovelier locations. The place perches under the prom on the rocks of the Cap-de-Nice, with nothing but the sea before you. The wood-grilled wild fish is so fresh that you can see its nearest and dearest, out front, still mourning its absence.
The restaurant grew out of a 1930s cabin where Jean-Baptiste Coco used to grill up fish for family and friends. By the end of the war, it had become a favourite with US and British troops on R&R. (They referred to it as “Coco Beach”, and the name stuck.)
Then it started attracting celebrities. Picasso apparently celebrated a birthday or two here. Robert de Niro has visited, as have Jacques Chirac and U2 members – though not, I think, as a party.
Old Jean-Baptiste was reeled in by the Great Angler some time ago, and the Coco Beach has now grown bigger, smarter and considerably more expensive. But it’s still in the same family, it remains recognisably a wooden cabin – with a lovely terrace – and it still majors on fish dishes without a great deal of adornment. After 70 years or more, they must be doing something right.
It really doesn’t get much simpler: choose your own fish – sea-bream, bass, lobster, flat lobster, you name it – have it grilled on the wood fire, then served with rice and veg and Robert est ton oncle.
Coco also does a mean bouillabaisse, which Raymond Blanc reckons the best in the world. I’d be tempted to put the Miramar’s version in Marseille up there in the same league, but I’m not going to argue with England’s most famous French chef. If you want to test the claim, bear in mind that bouillabaisse needs ordering in advance.
Whatever fish you order, try it with a local Bellet white from the Toasc domain on the hills above Nice. And, if you don’t like fish, don’t go. There’s nothing but.
The place may be all wood from floorboards to roof but, these days, it’s pretty polished, both literally and metaphorically. Of course, Coco’s is also relaxed, in a maritime sort of way. And local regulars don’t stand on too much ceremony. But nor do they dine in their swimsuits, and neither should you. Especially not at night, when there are some pretty classily-dressed folk about.
On the walls, old photos and frescoes depict Nice as it was. This tends to happen in restaurants which have been in the same hands for generations. But I doubt you’ll notice them. The views across to the Château hill, the port and way off out to sea rather monopolise the attention.
Brisk and experienced, though can be a bit off-hand if you don’t bear yourself with importance. So do so.
Beautifully perched between road and rocks on the corniche across the port from the city centre.
Think around 57 euros for three courses, without wine.
More information on Coco Beach:
- Price guide:
- French, Mediterranean, Seafood
- 2 Avenue Jean Lorrain, Nice, 06000
- 04 93 89 39 26
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Tues-Sat 12-2pm; Mon-Sat 7pm-9.30pm (10.30pm in summer).
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Al fresco