March 12, 2024

6 iconic dishes to try in Nice, France and where to find them

Nestled along the glittering shores of the French Riviera, Nice is celebrated not only for its stunning landscapes and rich culture but also for its unique and savoury cuisine. This city's food reflects a blend of French and Italian culinary traditions, influenced by its history and geographic location. Despite the Riviera's modern association with luxury and extravagance, Nice's traditional dishes are rooted in simplicity and accessibility. They all are reflecting the area's humble past, despite it being a perennial favourite for the champagne and caviar crowd. Of course, to get the best experience, book a Walkative! Welcome to Nice tour to get a proper understanding of the city and learn how to navigate through the tourist traps and enjoy Nice like a local. This short guide will steer you through most iconic local dishes, allowing you to savour Nice's authentic flavours.

Check our our tours in Nice >

Socca Nicee street food

Socca: Sinikka Halme, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

6 must-try dishes in Nice

Socca - Standing out as the number one must-try dish, Socca is a delightful street food that captures the essence of Nicoise cuisine. Made from chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt, this pancake-like snack is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It's not only very accessible and affordable but also accommodates various dietary needs being gluten-free, vegan friendly, high in protein and fibre, and low in carbs. Socca is a true testament to the

rustic charm and simplicity of the region's culinary traditions and soon you will understand why people wait in long lines to sample this culinary gem.

Salade Niçoise - This iconic dish is a testament to the Mediterranean diet, featuring fresh vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies or tuna, all dressed in olive oil. True to its roots, the traditional version shuns cooked vegetables or potatoes, offering a light yet fulfilling meal. It's advisable to seek authentic versions away from tourist-heavy areas.

ratatouille Nice

Ratatouille - A celebration of summer vegetables, ratatouille is a simple vegetable stew that showcases the freshness of Provençal cuisine. Comprising zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and seasoned with thyme and basil, it's enjoyed as a side dish, main course, or even as a cold salad.

Pissaladière - Nice's unique take on pizza, pissaladière features a thick bread dough topped with caramelised onions, anchovies, and olives, offering a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavours. It's a popular snack that underscores the region's preference for straightforward, tasty dishes.

Farçis Niçois - This dish highlights Nice's bountiful vegetables, which are hollowed out and stuffed with a flavorful mixture before being baked. It's a vibrant and delicious representation of Niçoise cooking's emphasis on fresh, local produce.

pan bagnat

Pan Bagnat - A portable version of Salade Niçoise, Pan Bagnat sandwiches the salad's ingredients in a crusty loaf, ideal for picnics or beach outings. It embodies the traditional cuisine's essence in a convenient form.

Finding the best spots to enjoy traditional Niçoise cuisine

To truly experience the culinary delights of Nice, it’s essential to know where to find the most authentic and delicious versions of these traditional dishes.

The Old Town (Vieux Nice) is a labyrinth of narrow streets teeming with bistros and cafés that serve genuine Niçoise cuisine. For the iconic Socca, Chez Pipo and Chez Theresa are local favourites, offering perfectly crispy and flavorful chickpea crepes that embody the simplicity and taste of the region.

French Salade Nicoise

Salad: Katrin Gilger, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

For a taste of the classic Salade Niçoise or a hearty ratatouille, La Rotisserie Norbert, La Rossettisserie, Le P’tite Resto and Borghese Lust are must-visit spots that pride themselves on their adherence to traditional recipes and locally sourced ingredients. Pissaladière and Pan Bagnat, although available in countless places in and around Vieux Nice and the Cours Saleya market, are the best local bakeries. Both of these dishes are not only very, very affordable, but make for perfect snacks to bring to the beach. In both cases, we encourage you to respect tradition and ask for the marinated anchovy to be included in the dish (many bakeries will have them on the side). And don’t forget that Pan Bagnats are as filling as they are hefty, so a single one can easily satisfy 2 peckish people!

In conclusion, Nice's traditional cuisine is a celebration of both the Mediterranean lifestyle and the historical influences that have shaped this region's culinary identity. These dishes, with their emphasis on simplicity and freshness, offer a taste of the French Riviera that is

both comforting and exotic. As you explore Nice, let your taste buds lead the way and celebrate the simple joys of Mediterranean cooking.

Related stories: