David and I really wanted a great seafood meal in Nice, so we set out to the Port area (a little less touristy than along the Promenade Des Anglais).
It was Saturday night in Nice, and the first restaurant we considered was all booked up… they recommended Les Pechures a little further down the dock. When we got there, no seats were available outside on the patio sadly, but we did snag the very last table near the kitchen inside. We were the first actual people there at 7ish p.m. (the rest of the tables were waiting for reservations to arrive).
Loved the decor in here – lovely, but not too stuffy, and definitely a seafood place! We learned they take seafood seriously!
It took this restaurant experience to really and truly signal to us that we are NOT in Spain anymore and portions are US-sized large! Because of this blog, we want to experience a few things on a menu to write about. Even though the waitress told us the starters were large, we ordered them anyway. I had the crab cocktail, with lime and an avocado ice cream. It was totally divine, and I love anything with a lime kick. David chose the deeper in flavour lobster ravioli. It was like a lobster bisque and the flavours were blended very well. A great start!
It was about this time we realized that it was a little hot and sticky sitting in this back corner. We were a little full from the starters, but felt confident that we had room for the main courses to come. Then our waitress put bibs on us, and we knew were in for a meal and a half!
Then, a very large platter was presented to us. The boulliabaise royal that we ordered (for two) included lobster, shrimp, crabs, mussels, and apparently THREE large grilled fish. I wish we knew what was going on to take a picture at that point. We realized after that they present the fish after they are cooked to the guests, then prepare it on the plate as you ordered. Pretty cool.
David was able to watch the boulliabaisse being prepared… man, what a lot of work! One of the servers deboned all the fish, cracked open the shellfish and painstakingly prepared all of it to go into the soup. This was a seriously over the top choice on the menu – ridiculously expensive – and seeing all of this really explained it for us. It was a lot of work (and expensive seafood) to get it to our bowls.
When the bowls were presented to us, we were feeling a little hot. My bangs were curling in a really annoying way (how I know I am getting too hot)! The bowls were HUGE, and filled with amazing seafood. It looked beautiful and perfect. It was SO much though.
It came with accompaniments that I have never seen before (but David has). Croutons, a piece of garlic (to rub on the crouton), a bowl of roué (an aioli with red pepper and paprika likely) to spread on the croutons, and shredded cheese to put in the soup.
When we started to dig in, the flavour was amazing. The broth had saffron in it, and the fish was so fresh and tasty. It was also very messy (you have to use your hands and forks/knives to dig out some of the shellfish) – and we totally understood the bibs! Of course… I made more of a mess than David did.
Also, sitting in the back corner of a restaurant in the Mediterranean on a hot night is about as hot as it gets in Nice. The only way to get hotter is if you are in the kitchen. Plus, we were perched over a steaming HUGE bowl of steaming soup. Basically, it was a boulliabasse facial! I glistened by the end of the meal, and at various points during. And my bangs were out of control curly. There are no pictures of this for a reason!
Even though we left Les Pechures a disheveled hot mess, it was totally worth it. An experience we won’t forget (and could never re-create).
Oh, and David made another french canine friend in the restaurant.