La Zucca Magica

Address: 4 bis Quai Papacino, Nice, 06000, France
Telephone: 04 93 56 25 57

- Mid-range

4.1

Pumpkin provides a port of call for vegetarians.

The French don’t really understand vegetarianism, as Britain and the US don’t generally grasp the idea of dining on of snails. It is beyond them that someone should choose not to eat meat or fish. (In a restaurant recently, a friend of mine said he couldn’t eat the beef main course because he was vegetarian. The head waiter was terribly sympathetic – then suggested the chicken.)

To find a veggie restaurant is, thus, quite unusual. To find a good one is worthy of note. So let us trot along to La Zucca Magica (The Magic Pumpkin), an Italian-inspired bridgehead down by the port. It’s a slightly hectic, trattoria-style operation – open-fronted, open-minded, informal and overseen by an effusive bearded giant, Marco Folicaldi.

Mr Folicaldi obviously really likes pumpkins, gourds and marrows. The place is festooned with them. This gives a kitschy aspect to proceedings, undermining that tendency to po-faced seriousness which sometimes bedevils vegetarian matters. Meat-eaters (like me) may come here and feel they’re joining a party, not a sect. This is admirable.
 

Food and drink
4
90%
Service
4.2
90%
Food and drink
4
90%
Value for money
4.2
90%
Ambience
4.4
90%
Location
4.2
90%

Food and drink

The five-course, no-choice menu doesn’t do simpering finesse. It’s a copious collection of soups, flans like pumpkin and wild mushroom, veggie cannelloni, lasagne (a speciality) and savoury tarts. To predict exactly what you’re going to eat is tricky, for the choice changes often.

But it’s a fair bet that it will include pumpkin in one form or another – the restaurant’s name pinpoints an obsession – and quite a lot of Italian cheese. A carafe of decent wine is included in the price. You may decide it’s all best enjoyed on the pavement terrace outside.
 

Ambience

Vegetarian establishments can be earnest affairs, as if eating were an exercise in moral superiority rather than a pleasure. But this is an Italian vegetarian restaurant in Nice – and on the port, to boot – so that doesn’t apply. Expect liveliness, a certain amount of noise and a good smattering of regulars, into whose ranks you may well be embraced by the end of the evening.

Service

Friendly and informal.

Location

Somewhat off the beaten tourist track, by the port.

Price advice

Lunch may be had for 16 euros, the five-course dinner for 29.65 euros.

Recommended for

  • Families with teenagers
  • Singles
  • Relaxation

Details