L'Univers de Christian Plumail

Address: 54 Boulevard Jean-Jaurès, Nice, 06000, France
Telephone: 04 93 62 32 22

- Mid-range

4.4

Flash in the pan? Hardly. Plumail has been among the best for years.

Christian Plumail was already an established figure on the Côte-d’Azur when he opened in Nice in the mid-1990s. He’s stayed that way by refusing to follow fads, turning out instead top-class timeless dishes. They bagged him a Michelin star in 2007 – and ‘not before time’ was the consensus among Niçois professionals who crowd the place.

Predictably, this didn’t go to his head. Plumail’s is one of the rare Michelin-starred restaurants where you can eat a full lunch for 20 euros. The city offers few, if any, better bargains.

Crisp, white linen

The restaurant interior has been criticised as old-fashioned and, certainly, it’s a bit staid. The all-white grotto look recalls the 1980s. Then again, I’m staid and rather liked the 1980s. I’d prefer to call the place ‘reassuring’. Tables in all three rooms are big and well-spaced – quite a novelty in Nice. You can discuss scandal or your present case (the spot is popular with lawyers) without being eavesdropped.

Table-cloths and napkins are crisp, white linen. Table-settings are just so. Chairs are comfortable. And you’d have to be very avant-garde to say that the art dotted about was “old-fashioned”. In short, there’s a sense that experience and know-how are to the fore. And you really can’t argue with that 20 euro menu.

 

Food and drink
4.5
90%
Service
4.3
90%
Food and drink
4.5
90%
Value for money
4.7
90%
Ambience
4.1
90%
Location
4
90%

Food and drink

Plumail uses fine, fresh ingredients to prepare dishes of well-worked invention – but which never push towards the outer edges of weirdness. On the frequently-changing 20 euro menu, you might find salmon marinated with citrus fruits followed by cod à la plancha with Provençal tomatoes. These are items which it is terribly easy to like.

Other specialities include roast duck with peaches, line-caught sea-bass à l’orange, turbot with fresh almonds and girolle mushrooms and – a particular favourite of mine – saddle of lamb in olive-flavoured pastry.

I’d be very surprised if, after all that, you didn’t emerge satisfied, the more so that there’s a hefty, and reasonably-priced wine list. If you wish to stay with regional wines, try those from the Château-Sainte-Roseline. They’re among the finest in Provence.
 

Ambience

As already mentioned, the Univers is a meeting place for Niçois professionals and notables. The law courts are nearby, so there’ll be a smattering of barristers about. Also, perhaps, senior worthies from the town hall.

So the atmosphere is sensible but light-hearted. The worthies are, after all, off-duty when they’re here. On occasion, this suits a certain sort of tourist (ie, me) very well indeed.
 

Service

Professional and restrained.

Location

On one of Nice’s main boulevards, looking across to the central Place Masséna and the Old Town.

Price advice

We’ve already discussed the 20 euro, three-course menu – which I still can’t quite believe. After that, there’s a more elaborate, four course menu for 45 euros, and seven courses for 71.70 euros. For this quality, such prices don’t represent robbery.

Recommended for

  • Business travellers
  • Foodies
  • Special occasions

Details