Bellota House

Address: 19 Rue de la Préfecture, Nice, 06000, France
Telephone: 04 93 53 69 52

- Mid-range

4.2

You’re in France, you’re near Italy – so, well, viva España!

There may come a time in Nice when you’ve had enough of Provençal food – and of the Italian influence which informs it. You might want a complete change. You might want the unambiguous, full-throttle tastes of Spain. That’s when you go to Bellota House.

If it’s just a passing whim, you may – between 6 and 8pm – settle down on the terrace for a glass of surprisingly good sangria and ‘today’s tapas’, for just under a fiver. If the urge goes deeper, the price goes up. Either way, you’re in a modern, clean-limbed spot with bottles round the walls and hams hanging hither and yon, in approved Iberian fashion. You’re also among the best Spanish food in town.

Pigs

This includes the legendary pata negra ham from south-west Spain. Down there, the pigs are pretty much free-range and eat acorns, which gives the meat its fab taste, texture, and eye-watering resultant price. (A pata negra tapas comes at 17.70 euros, so don’t order it by the kilo.) The restaurant is so proud of all this that it called itself ‘bellota’, which means ‘acorn’. It is perhaps the only eatery in France named after pig-food.

But it is also bouncy, fun and – if you go easy on the pata negra – relatively affordable. I've given it the Cheap Eats award on the understanding that you stick to a reasonable selection of tapas or, at a push, the two-course Menu of the Day (see below).  And, whether you agree with that or not,  there’s something undeniably invigorating  about dropping into Spain in Nice.
 

Food and drink
4.2
90%
Service
4.2
90%
Food and drink
4.2
90%
Value for money
4.3
90%
Ambience
4.2
90%
Location
4.2
90%

Food and drink

I’m never sure when platefuls of tapas stop being apéritif bites and become a full meal. I’m not sure the Spanish themselves are sure, and I’m not sure they care. So I’m afraid you’ll have to decide for yourselves at Bellota House.

Certainly, the tapas – patatas bravas (5.10 euros), fried squid (5.10 euros), Serrano ham (8.30 euros) – are good and ample. If you stack up too many, though, you’ll run out of hunger and money, and so won’t be able to tackle the meal menus. These deal with Spanish staples (not much point in being a Spanish restaurant otherwise) in pretty toothsome manner.

Expect a lot of charcuterie, paella, tortillas and various fish à la plancha. The gambas in garlic are particularly tempting – and there’s a lightness of touch about all the cooking that you don’t always associate with Spanish kitchens. All the wines are Spanish, as you’d expect. If you like the fare so much that you want to take some back to the holiday apartment, or for a picnic, there’s a deli-boutique on the premises.
 

Ambience

Bellota House is Spanish. You’d hardly expect it to be sad – and it isn’t. The place packs with tourists and the brighter Niçois keen to see how their Mediterranean cousins are getting along.

Service

Youthful, effective – and French.

Location

Key commercial street in the Old Town.

Price advice

The tapas aside (see above), a two-course menu of the day – say gazpacho and paella – comes at 20.50 euros. Adding a pud raises this to 27.40 euros. The main menu offers two courses (perhaps scallop crumble and Basque-style tuna steak) for 30.70 euros, three courses for 40.50 euros.

Recommended for

  • Families with teenagers
  • First-time travellers
  • Foodies
  • Mature travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Relaxation

Details