Le Safari

Sometimes you just assume that you’ve written about a restaurant you’ve been to a million times. For whatever reason, I’ve never really written about one of our favorites, Le Safari in Nice.

Maybe Safari wasn’t the first restaurant I’d ever eaten at in Nice, or maybe it was. Either way, it’s been a favorite of mine and very favorite of Frank’s since he started coming to Nice. We’ve had countless meals there and brought any number of friends and family to both lunch and dinner. This past Christmas, it was Safari where we had a terrific Christmas dinner—oysters, fois gras, linguini with clam sauce, and bûche de Noël for dessert. A perfect no stress meal and no cooking, cleaning, or shopping required.

One of my crazy fantasies was to someday be known there. Kind of the mark of being a local/insider. Recently, that’s started to come true, with the manager recognizing me and just today, becoming on a first name basis —Raymond and Anne — and giving me my favorite table for 2— in the window so you’re inside (with air-con) but are able to watch all the activity on the terrace.

Their pizzas are great, but usually a little too large to polish off at lunch. Partager (to share) has become part of our vocabulary and they’re always willing to split up a pizza. Half a pizza and a salad or even better the beignets de morue (codfish fritters) is a perfect lunch for 2. The beignets—perfectly fried (Safari has mastered frying food) come with a sweet chili sauce to dip them in and a bit of arugula salad if you want to pretend you’re being healthy.

Along with the standard menu, there’s always a big blackboard full of specials. There’s usually a fish or two, some seasonal vegetables and maybe an addition to the list of pizzas. Safari has quite a roster of Niçoise specialties, from petits farcies (stuffed vegetables) to daube Niçoise (beef stew).

At Safari, I was always a pizza person until one day I was seated next to a couple and a bowl of linguini with clams was delivered to their table. I had to have what they were having, and since then, the linguini with clams is always in contention with the pizza.

Like a lot of the waitstaff, the menu hasn’t changed much over the years. And that’s okay, because it’s nice to see things that you like staying the same, especially when the food is consistently good and the restaurant is open all the time (a blessing in vacation/holiday obsessed France) and you can always come back to Safari.





2 thoughts on “Le Safari”

  1. Le Safari. What can I say? I was so happy to introduce Anne to a restaurant that over the years… I have come to love. Great food and a great staff (owners too since they make it happen and keep it there) that hasalways made me feel like I’m home. It’s a great place.

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