Le Comptoir du Marché

Le Comptoir du Marché

A few blocks from the Cours Saleya open-air market in Vieux Nice, the Comptoir du Marché was launched last winter by Armand Crespo, owner-chef of the Bistrot d’Antoine, one of the city’s hottest tables.

It’s now almost six years since he and his wife Sophie took over a 1904 landmark restaurant near the Old Town’s courthouse and revamped it into a wildly popular, affordable bistrot with a market-driven blackboard menu of classic French and Provençal dishes. Why open a second restaurant, just around the corner? “It’s a smaller menu—five starters, five main courses, five desserts, and some daily specials thrown in,” says the evergracious Crespo, who formerly worked with Jacques Maximin in Nice and Vence. “He’s still my reference,” Crespo says. “Maximin was really the first to give Mediterranean cuisine a contemporary identity.”

With its winning combo of ultra-fresh ingredients, an extensive wine list, modest prices and a delightful decor—think cozy country kitchen circa 1950—the Comptoir is always jam-packed with local residents, lawyers and judges, and the trendy-meets-artsy crowd. Chef Lois Guenzati, 23, works in an open-plan kitchen turning out dishes as handsome as they are flavorful. We began by sharing starters: a small thick-crusted pizza piled high with fresh tomatoes, ham, arugula and mozzarella; heavenly braised beef ravioli in a creamy truffled bouillon; and baby artichokes à la barigoule. Among the main dishes, the magret de canard (duck breast) with small grenaille potatoes was terrific, and so were the seared scallops with artichokes, carrots and turnips. For dessert: featherlight panna cotta, crumble-topped chocolate pudding and a baked apple with chestnut mousse.


8 rue duMarché, Nice.

A la carte €25- €30. Wines start at €15.

Book well in advance.


Originally published in the February 2013 edition of France Today

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