France Day 3 – Dinner @ Restaurant Alto [previously Cafe Boni] (Nice)

At the end of a long day sightseeing around the South of France, we always return to Nice to enjoy a leisurely dinner. After hitting Cannes and Antibes earlier in the day, AK and I headed over to Cafe Boni for our 8:00 p.m. reservation. What happened next was not leisurely at all! We arrived at the address only to find that it is now called Restaurant Alto, and Cafe Boni was nowhere to be found.

We popped our head into the restaurant, and the nice owner told us that Cafe Boni is a sister restaurant, but it has moved. AK suggested that we just eat here, and owner even sat us down at a table. However, I was concerned about being a no-show for our original reservation and insisted that we leave right away. Despite our/my rudeness, the restaurant owner was nice enough to give us directions. Unfortunately, after wandering around the streets of Nice for a frustrating 30-40 minutes, we finally gave up and return to Restaurant Alto. Yes, it was embarrassing to have to grovel back, though a part of me questions whether he gave us the right directions in the first place. Hmmm…

Restaurant Alto is actually very cool and modern inside, showcasing lots of French and American movie posters and concert memorabilia. The owner explained that they serve French-style tapas, which was a good way to sample the different flavors of the region. Perhaps because our expectations were low, we ended up loving the food! My first tapa was an egg casserole with cream of black truffles. It turned out to be my favorite small plate of the evening – the aroma of the black truffles was intoxicating, and the perfectly poached farm egg paired well with the cream. I devoured this dish in minutes!

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Next came the salmon tartare, which also tasted extremely fresh and is accompanied by wonderful olive oil and cherry tomatoes. (I’ve noticed that tomatoes in Provence are usually really sweet!)

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The main starch dishes followed. I ordered an Italian-style pasta done simply with tomatoes and olive oil, and AK ordered a risotto with baby mussels and octopus. Both were delicious, but I was especially impressed with the risotto. I am not usually a fan of mollusks, but these mussels were amazing! I kept spooning off more and more of AK’s dish – a true sign that I liked it.

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The last tapa of braised beef rib seemed almost too much, but we managed to push through to finish this last dish.

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Dessert was a hunk of warm Piedmont cheese drizzled with honey and crushed hazelnut. Since we had pre-ordered it, we were forced to tackle it as well. (Had we know the portions were substantial, we probably would have skipped this.) The flavor was nice and reminded me of a very similar traditional Catalan dessert of cheese and honey we’ve had in Barcelona.

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Despite the snafu with the address mix-up, we ended the night with a great meal. Sometimes the best planning can’t beat good luck!

Restaurant Alto
21 Rue Barla
06300 Nice, France
09 52 11 58 18

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