Wednesday 4 June 2014

El Merkado, Rue Saint Francois de Paule, Nice, France

A relaxed tapas bar near Nice's grand Place Massena, El Merkado's outside tables can be packed early on a summer evening. Although the interior is large and appealing enough, both locals and tourists prefer sitting underneath the maroon awnings from where they can survey Nice's nightlight. Service is surprisingly quick and friendly and the tapas is pretty good.  The poached egg, with a generous helping of avocado, on rustic toast (4.9 euros) is delicious, while the patatas bravas with chunks of chorizo (3.9 euros) is mouthwatering. The homely meatballs (three for 3.9 euros) are chunky and filling. But the Pelforth beer, which has bite, is expensive at 6.6 euros for 50cl. El Merkado draws a laid-back bohemian crowd in the early evening, but the punters become a little more dressy as the cocktails start flowing. 8/10

Tostas Aguacarte, Albondigas and Patatas y Chorizo