In this series, Cédric Lizotte visits some of Europe’s best restaurants. He shares his inside knowledge about the best places to sample the delights of some of the best chefs on the planet. Follow his gastronomical journey with the hashtag #CedricInEurope.
Nice, France – When entering Les Garçons, in Nice, we are faced with a set that surprises, at first glance. A brick wall, a false brick tapestry coupled with wallpapers replicating steel, stained metal chairs, some smeared with paint … is this a club? A Supperclub? Then on the menu, we find a few bistro classics, like duck breast, and a few fusions that bring a different flavor, like the Moroccan burger, and other Provencale classics, like aumônières de lapin.
What to expect?
The whole impression of the restaurant changes once again down in the basement. Electronic music, street art, an industrial look, the bar in the basement has no windows and can lend itself to crazy nights.
Not only a restaurant
I am not making this up. Restaurant manager Frédéric Martineau-Chalain, who greeted me, says that it’s a place where, when the moment lends itself to it, the DJ doesn’t hesitate to pump up the volume.
“We have an exceptional sound system. On Fridays and Saturdays, we like to push her a little. One of our servers is also DJ Leo Lsam Brothers. He’s the one who’s in charge of making playlists for the bar.”
The cellar, with a vaulted roof, is another feature of the place.
“The cellar dates back to 1890, so we could not do what we wanted [when we took possession of the restaurant], we were closely watched by the authorities,” he explains.
But it’s not for the sound of the music that we are here. At Les Garçons, they take their work in the kitchen very seriously!
Mr Martineau-Chalain offers me a cocktail – vodka, Cointreau, elderberry liqueur – and offers me a taste of two of the house specialties, roast camembert and the Moroccan burger. And I will not hesitate to eat it all!
Chef Cédric Delaux offers a roasted camembert that’s full of imagination: he fits an entire camembert in a clay ramekin, then puts it in the oven. The result: almost a Swiss fondue made with camembert … almost. Not bad!
With the burger comes a glass of red: 2013, Pic Saint-Loup, La Grange Thieri.
The burger includes Moroccan spices and, as everywhere in France when ordering a hamburger, the bun takes center stage.
Then, after a Breton dome – small butter shortbread on the bottom, apples on top, whipped cream – Mr Martineau-Chalain offers me a schnapps of the Basque region called manzana verde. What a surprising taste! It tastes just like the apple hubba bubba gum of my youth!
Did I say that Les Garçons is a restaurant which is open on Sundays? Obviously, the atmosphere was a little less frenetic than what’s supposedly found on Fridays or Saturdays, but in Nice, finding a restaurant open on Sundays can be difficult …
The atmosphere, although a bit dark, is well suited to celebrations of all kinds. Do not hesitate to go in groups. But book in advance!
3 Rue Centrale, 06300 Nice, France
+33 4 93 80 87 90