Chez Palmyre in Nice, France

After months of countless phone calls, failed online reservations and walk-by attempts, we finally had the chance to dine at Chez Palmyre last night! You might have thought we were trying to get reservations at Noma or something. But, no, we were simply trying to get into a Niçois institution that serves hearty homemade food at reasonable prices.

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            So last night, the other half and I were walking through the Vieux Nice and happened along Chez Palmyre. I told him to go in and reserve for the 4th of November (!!!). After having secured that reservation, fate was on our side as the server said we could come tonight as long as we were in by 7.30 and left the table by 9. Obviously, we couldn’t say no! Leaving the restaurant, one would think that we had won the lottery as we high-fived each other and leapt in the air.

            Once the place opened, we were the only ones in the incredibly popular but very tiny, 25-seat restaurant. The calm before the dinner storm. Chez Palmyre quickly filled up and the calm was replaced by laughing diners, clinking glasses and an ambience hard to come upon.

Amazing. Can't wait to create this cold leek with vinaigrette at home!
Amazing. Can’t wait to create this cold leek with vinaigrette at home!

            Now let’s talk about the food. For 17 euro, they offer a menu with a starter, a main dish and dessert. What?! Yes, it’s a deal that cannot be beat. The menu changes every week, so if you reserve far ahead and don’t like what they offer-tant pis as the French say. Last night, lucky us, we had a super hard time choosing what to order. Leeks in vinagrette, fresh cheese with a parmesan crisp, pumpkin and potato soup and baked eggs were the four starter choices. Oh my. For the main dishes, there were shrimp served over minestrone soup, caramelized pork cheek, wine-braised beef with gnocchi and veal blanquette. OH MY. And dessert? Floating island, camembert, chocolate mousse, baba au rhum or a special country cheese with raspberry coulis. OOOOHHHH MYYYYYY.

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            The bf hated my leek dish, which I happened to love with a capital L. A cold braised leek was topped with a tangy vinagrette sauce and crunchy bacon pieces. I thought it was tasty and light-the perfect way to start off a meal. I didn’t particularly care for his baked egg with ham and peppers-so there! His wine-braised beef with gnocchi (aka daube avec gnocchi, a Niçois speciality) featured great meat but the gnocchi were terrible. No salt, no taste! My caramelized pork cheek was perhaps one of the most tender, flavorful and damn delicious meats I’ve had in a long time. We both got the floating island for dessert. This simple dish of mounted egg whites cooked in a crème anglais is one of my favorite desserts. Chez Palmyre’s version just left me quite underwhelmed.

Floating island
Floating island

           As the clock struck 9, we were out the door. With wine and a small tip, we spent 50 euro, which is a steal for a quality three-course meal in Nice. Now I can’t wait for the redux.

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