4 Rue Raoul Bosio, Nice, 06000
- Recommended for:
- Foodies, People watching, Relaxation
Expert review of La Merenda
Tucked away in a tiny old town side-street, La Merenda is the size of a shoe-box and as popular as free money. That’s because it serves good, genuine Niçois food in simple surroundings at pretty reasonable prices.
Owner/chef Dominique Le Stanc used to have three Michelin stars at the Hotel Negresco’s Le Chantecler restaurant. Then he chucked in haute cuisine to get back to basics in this classic little bistro.
And “little” is the word. There are just 24 seats – in truth, rather uncomfortable stools – all taken at lunch and dinner. You can’t book ahead by phone or internet, for Mr Le Stanc has neither. Your best bet is to pass by earlier in the day and try to make a reservation in person. (There are two sittings at both lunch and dinner Lunch sittings are at, roughly, 12 or 12.15 and 1.00 or 1.15, dinner at 7pm and 9pm.)
Or you could turn up right at the start of each service and hope for the best. It’s not certain that either will work, but it’s well worth the attempt.
The menu is on the blackboard, and there are four or five choices for each course. They cover the Nice staples – from the more challenging (tripe, chitterlings) to the terrific petits farcis (stuffed vegetables roasted in the oven), beef daube in wine or sweet-pepper tart.
The stockfish is particularly rewarding, if you like dried cod in a stew, which I do.
This is a traditional bistro – wood-panelling part-way up the walls; posters, prints and photos above – but in concentrated form. In other words, it’s a squash. The people on the next table might as well be at yours, so you need to go with your sociable side out.
It’s no place for romantic sweet-nothings or, indeed, a crucial business meeting, unless you want 20 other people taking part. That said, it’s lively, chummy and filled in equal measure with tourists, and local regulars who, being Niçois, are quite used to sharing their thoughts and feelings with as many people as are to hand.
Generally efficient and friendly, if a little rushed on occasion.
In a small street on the edge of the Old Town.
Allow some 28.50 euros for three courses.
More information on La Merenda:
- Price guide:
- French, Mediterranean, Traditional
- 4 Rue Raoul Bosio, Nice, 06000
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Two sittings at lunch, 12-1.00pm, 1pm-2pm. Two at dinner, from 7pm and 9pm. Shut Sat & Sun and Aug 1-15.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Always essential