Nice, in the south of France, was a spot of relaxation on our whirlwind of a trip. We spent three nights there and I could be found either shopping or lying on the beach reading. After we burned the candle at all ends possible in Paris it was definitely what the doctor ordered.
There were two dinners in Nice that were really special. On our first night we wandered down the beach and took a chance on one of the many beach side restaurants. By day these restaurants offer pool lounges, umbrellas and towels for the many beach goers, offering food and drinks in between dips in the ocean and sun baking schedules. At night however, it becomes quiet and still and the water provides a calming backdrop to you meal.
After we took our seat and ordered some wine we were given the menu. There was not one word of English on the page. After looking at the menu, to each other and back to the menu we erupted with laughter. We were going to need some help.
Our lovely waitress spoke to us for about 15 minutes and translated the whole entire menu. She looked like she needed a sleep afterwards, but she never showed a hint of annoyance.
We both opted for the Lobster Risotto.
With implements in hand this was a fun and delicious meal. The lobster was beautiful and the risotto with a hint of saffron was a nice backdrop and never overpowered the star of the meal.
I will admit I was literally covered in lobster by the end, but it was a fun experience and worth the mess.
On our last night in Nice we jumped in a cab headed for what I read in a magazine to be a beautiful restaurant which was on a converted ship. Our cab driver asked why we were going there so I told him. He said to me in broken English “expensive and not good, I take you to Coco Beach”. We thought, well, he probably knows Nice better than we do so why not.
As we got to Coco Beach we headed in with no expectations whatsoever. We luckily secured the last table and took our seat overlooking the water and later the beautiful sunset. I was loving the cab driver at this point.
When we were looking over the menu, a man walked up with a huge tray of whole fish and started speaking in French. I was a little shocked at this point staring into the eyes of a John Dory. When he realized we spoke very little French he said, “which fish do you want”. We opted to share that exact John Dory and off the waiter went.
While we were nibbling on our appetizers, which seem to be provided on the house everywhere in Europe, the waiter returned with our beautiful John Dory whole and cooked to perfection. We smiled up at him and he was gone again.
I won’t lie I was a little apprehensive as I struggle deboning whole fish, but when he returned for the third time we were presented with a perfectly filleted John Dory accompanied by a simple salad drizzled with olive oil and a side of wild rice.
I think at that moment I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. It was one of the most beautifully cooked pieces of fish I have ever tasted and the sides were so simple and fresh, they matched perfectly without drawing away from the fish at all.
We wandered home in the warm night and I knew I was going to miss Nice.