Côte d'Azur restaurants
This area is heavily touristed by families in high season, and the Côte d'Azur's restaurants reflect this. Expect boisterous rooms with plenty of bustle. The stereotype of the French as cold and arrogant does not, for the most part, apply here in the sunny South. The cuisine mixes the flavors of Provence, to the north and west, with Italian influences, resulting in light, fresh dishes bursting with flavor. Many, like L'Ane Rouge in Nice and the Hostellerie Jérôme in the hills above Monte Carlo, place a premium on in-season, locally sourced ingredients. The Mediterranean still gives up its share of delicious fresh fish and seafood, which are often your best bet. This is traditionally a "cuisine of scarcity," which is to say that the land is dry and historically poor. Dishes tend to rely for flavor on the rosemary, fennel, and thyme that grow wild.
For local specialties, wander Nice's old city and eat the street food that reveals the influence of ItalyNice didn't become part of France until 1860, after all. Don't miss the pissaladiere (a small pizza variation topped with caramelized onions and anchovies) and socca (a lusty-tasting crêpe made of chickpea flour). The fishing village of Villefranche-sur-Mer, on the Corniche Inférieure between Nice and Cannes, offers plenty of low-cost, fresh seafood in the restaurants along its old port. As you head closer to Monaco, the towns move into the hills and the prices gain altitude as well. The pinnacle is Alain Ducasse's Louis XV in Monte Carlo, one of the world's most expensive dinners.