Simple Flourishes, Great Effect
Restaurant Boni: 15 rue Tonduti de l'Escarene, Nice 0000, 04 93 62 93 36
Bistro Alto:21 Rue Barla, Nice 06300, 04 93 56 35 39
Restaurant Boni has been around for a while, it’s just the location that has changed. In early 2009 Paolo Bonizzoni (Boni) moved his cute “bols” dishes from Rue Barla to a intimate but and trendy bistro in a more up market area of town. The residents of the Port area need not be too disappointed with the move – Boni kept on the old place and turned it into Bistro Alto.
The taster “bols” are what has made it famously unique: small sample formula menus made up of dishes from whatever is fresh at the market that day. It’s simple, inexpensive, yet often all the dishes are inventive. Since the menu changes so frequently, it's hard to give you a hard and fast rule of what to expect, but here’s a flavour.
For starter dishes we’ve tried such delights as oven baked cheese with honey and pinenuts (paglierina), grilled red peppers with tuna and capers, fine bresaola with San Remo baby artichokes, St Jacques gratin (scollops), fougasse pain with parma ham, or perhaps mussels and prawns in a delicately spiced sauce.
For main dishes, the menu could be baked cod, grilled and salted sea bass, mushroom and white truffle risotto or perhaps Sardinian lamb or Angus steak. The daube, a more traditional dish of stewed beef and potatoes, is also very good. Many restaurants have their own variation but this is one of our favourites: delicately spiced and comforting.
Many followers of Boni love the desserts on offer – as do we. Try the mouth watering pannacotta with cherries, apple crumble, Alba truffles or Piedmont cheese with honey and hazelnuts …. Yum Yum!
There are usually 8 “bols” on offer each day, along with four main dishes and four dessert choices. The surprise is that you can combine them in seemingly infinite ways. So, if you love to just taste, you might want 3 starters and two desserts, or the more traditional one of each – whatever you fancy really. You can have 2 starters, a main and a dessert. Or three starters, a main and a dessert. Or anywhere between two and six starters and a dessert for a set price. In addition, you can order à la carte if you wish.
Ordering à la carte, the starter “bols” are just 5 € each, the main dishes between 9 – 12 € and then the desserts € 3. Or if you choose the formulas, where you will start to shave off some euros, or take some more dishes for free, such as the formula “Boni” which gives you 2 starters, a main dish at 9 € and a dessert for 20 €. (These prices rise by a euro or two in the evening).
Paola (Boni) who is Italian and his French wife, Amélie, love all things British and have always been very welcoming to us and our rental apartment guests. They both speak fluent English and so can explain any of the menu to you. As well as a nod to the UK in the gorgeous apple crumble dish and occasionally Angus beef, their two evening formula dishes are called “Camden” and “Piccadilly”. The Camden formula will give you a house aperitif a glass of wine, two "bols" starters, a main dish, a dessert and a coffee for 33 €. If you want to up it a little the “Piccadilly” upgrades to a champagne aperitif, throws in the higher priced main dish as well as a grappa for 40 €.
Great for lunch, this is also a fine place to dine in the evening – the décor is intimate and very stylish decorated in hues of chocolate, black and cream and textures of both leather, lace and wood. It easily holds some 40 covers on large comfortable tables and booths. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. It is best to reserve ahead at the weekends. If you are staying in one of our holiday apartments in Nice and want us to reserve for you, just let us know.
– Gayle, Riviera Pebbles. If you would like to contact Gayle you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daube, made of cheap but flavourful cuts of beef stewed in wine until very tender, serves a reminder of Provençal cuisine’s peasant roots. Though it might seem to be a winter dish, daube is a staple that appears all year round in local restaurants. Leftovers are mixed with Swiss chard to make ravioli niçois, the sheets of small, square ravioli found in fresh pasta shops, or combined with vegetables to fill les petits farcis (stuffed vegetables). Should you buy ravioli niçois to cook at home, be sure to ask for a portion of daube to use as a sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
If you notice similarities between daube and boeuf bourguignon, it would be tactful not to mention this to the Niçois. They would tell you that daube is an entirely different dish because the meat is not marinated in the wine before being cooked. Thyme, rosemary, a strip of orange zest and sometimes cep (porcini) mushrooms also add distinctive Provençal flavours to this dish. Daube is often served with boiled potatoes, but it’s even better with creamy polenta – another Niçois tradition borrowed from Italy.