Whilst stuck in Nice recently due to a transport foulup, my partner and I asked our hotel concierge where a good place to go for dinner might be, and with no hesitation at all she pointed us at Villa d’Este. And in doing so provided one of the highlights of our entire trip.
Though thoroughly busy and full of diners, the adept team of waiters led us past the huge bowls of mouthwatering looking fresh pizza toppings, quickly located us a table and had us seated within minutes of arriving. The place was buzzing with activity and energy, with birthdays, gatherings of friends, romantic couples dining and casual groups all mingled happily together.
About the only point of agony was making a selection from the exciting looking menu – my cannelloni were made of pure happiness, and the margherita pizza was an elegant example of flavoursome perfection. We chose a stunning bottle of Barbera to accompany, however making one single selection from the wine list was another agony of pleasure.
As a nice older French gentleman explained to us on the flight over, Nice used to be part of Italy, but was handed over to France in the 1860s in thanks to Napoleon for his support during the Italian war of independence against Austria. As such, he said that Nice is famous for its pizza – it seems a potential card to exploit to squeeze money out of tourists, somehow. I can’t help but think that when that kindly-faced French gent described “famous pizza” to us, he might have somehow been thinking of La Villa d’Este.
We solemnly vowed to come back the following week when we were back in Nice, and we damn well would have if we hadn’t stumbled across the amazing wine bar… but that’s another story.