The Hotel Negresco’s flagship, two-star Michelin restaurant comes enrobed in what may be 18th-century France’s entire production of fine wood panelling. Chandeliers hang above real period furniture – and yet there’s nothing ponderous about Nice’s best restaurant (except, of course, the price). Recent renovation has lightened everything up so that Jean-Denis Rieubland’s cooking has the brightly cultivated setting it deserves. Here, eating is theatre and it’s pointless to resist. Get behind fillet of beef with grilled foie gras, peppers and turnips glazed with olive juice – and you’ll barely notice the tenners slipping elegantly out of your life.
This is truly haute cuisine – you’re 10 floors up on a terrace on top of Le Méridien hotel, with arresting views to the sea and mountains. Also, it has to be said, with a slight sentiment of superiority over the folk you can barely see way down below on the Promenade des Anglais. There are a pool and a bar up here as well, plus all the teak, metal and strung-out sail-cloth one expects of contemporary dining premises.
Such a setting doesn’t need overwrought complexity on the plate, and doesn’t get it. Instead, there’s an elegant simplicity to dishes such as grilled sea bream, chicken breast braised in thyme, or a particularly good sea cassoulet. Those with lighter appetites, or in need of an anytime snack, might tackle a club sandwich, salad or pasta dishes (from €15). Mains aren’t cheap – from €19 – but the food is served with crisp-shirted panache. And the panorama is worth a bob or two.