Le Speakeasy is the only 100% vegan restaurant in Nice. Mostly organic, the tiny shop consists of only three tables and is owned and run by an ex-Californian. From San Francisco, the owner settled in Nice in the 70s. Located a block behind Nice Etoile shopping center, it is hard to miss the restaurant, as an American and vegan flag is posted right out front of the door.
We wanted to try the place out before we leave Nice for good, and to show our support to the owner. We’ve read many mixed reviews about the food, mostly people saying it’s too bland, but we knew we had to judge for ourselves. It turned out to be quite the opposite of what some of the reviewers were saying. Although simple, it was plenty salty and herby for us.
We both ordered the fixed menu dinner deal for 15.99 euro, ordering the same exact thing: miso soup to start with, potato and zucchini pie that came with a side salad as the main meal, and orange marmalade tart for dessert.
The soup and pie were both delicious. The miso soup had a different twist than the traditional miso we have had elsewhere. The pie reminded me of a country-style dish. The herbs were a good touch to it, and the potatoes were mashed rather than solid chunks, mixed in with zucchini, and encased in a gluten-free crust. We enjoyed it very much.
Our least favorite was dessert. Although we both ordered the marmalade tart, they tasted different because the owner had made two different batches. Nick’s tart—the darker one—was less sweet than mine. I liked his better, and he liked mine better. I think we both just didn’t like our own. It was a nice attempt of the tart, but we felt it wasn’t well executed. The only reason why we ordered the marmalade tart instead of the other option, an apple tart, was because the marmalade was organic. But in hindsight, the apple tart did look better and probably would have tasted better.
Despite the dessert, we had a good meal. I recommend this place to all vegans traveling to Nice because, well, it is the only vegan place in town, and the owner is really sweet. I think she could use all the support out there, as the locals aren’t really kind to her. She has attempted to expand her restaurant for fifteen years now, but it has been difficult because the area is not vegan-friendly. I had read from one reviewer that while dining there, a local entered Le Speakeasy and gave the owner grief about her restaurant. If you meet the lady you’ll see how kind she is, and we felt bad for her. We didn’t get to talk to her much as the restaurant was full, but we are curious to why she decided to settle here because her expression seemed a little bitter to us when she told her story to the couple right next to us. I’m sure she has her reasons, but we don’t understand because if given the choice, we surely would pick San Francisco over Nice, even though San Francisco is not our favorite city.
Nevertheless, to fellow vegans traveling to Nice, give Le Speakeasy a try. It is a nice break from all the pizza and pasta you’ll find down here that is just mediocre. And if you’re in the mood for Indian food, try Noori’s. They have a vegan menu, and the food is decent. We’ve dined there twice but the food wasn’t consistent. We enjoyed our first meal there better than the second time, but you can judge for yourself.
Bon appétit and happy dining!