OK - silly of us to attempt to get a table at Chantecler, the Michelin 2-star restaurant at the Negresco in Nice, at a few hours' notice. A few years ago we enjoyed a memorable dinner there, and scanning the recent TA reviews it seems that the restaurant continues to deliver. Sillier still, however, to ask for a table at La Rotonde instead, knowing nothing about it except that it shares a chef/kitchen with the Chantecler.
I wouldn't normally bother with a crit of the decor, but when you are presented with a room tricked out in apple-green, bubblegum-pink and gilt scrolling, bad trompe-l'oeil vistas of the naturally wonderful Baie des Anges just outside the windows and a selection of automata that tinkle bells to the tune of the Can-Can every quarter-hour it's hard to concentrate on anything else. Apparently the room was redecorated in 1984, and while this nauseating whimsy of Riviera bling may have had a brief moment in fashion all those years ago, it now screams 'Hammer Horror' or 'Tales of the Unexpected'. It just goes to show that for every Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Dufy attracted to Nice there is an interior designer of dubious credentials...
Don't fret that all this visual stimulation will distract you from the food, however. The menu is limited to dishes that would be difficult for any kitchen to get wrong, and of a simplicity that allow no scope for the fabled kitchen to strut its stuff. Worthy but dull is the verdict, and much less fun than the menus in a dozen charismatically-situated brasseries and bistros in the old town. A mid-range wine was thin stuff, and less good than any of the carafes of house wine we had sampled elsewhere in a week of dinners and lunches. Service was adequate, until the time came to pay. A prolonged wait to get a credit card swiped had us silently screaming for a release - partly from the sinister decor but mainly so that we could start to put the experience behind us.
This place may satisfy the need for a cheaper dining option for those staying at the hotel, but for those with legs sufficient for the 15 minute walk to the old town it's a poor choice, and half as expensive again as any buzzy restaurant at that end of town.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.