Sidi Bou Said – Nice, France
This seemingly ordinary storefront in one of Nice’s grittier neighborhoods is a diamond in the rough. Save for the delicate blue and green Middle Eastern tiles around the door frame, this place blends in with the discount clothing and light bulb shops around it , but the humble doorway is a portal to a world of Tunisian delights.
The sparsely decorated room has just a hand full of tables, but in the center of the room, there is a large square counter heaving under the weight of huge mounds of Tunisian sweets. Brightly colored green circles of almond paste rolled in coconut mingle with pastry cones filled with nuts and drizzled with syrup.
But the real draw here, are the hot, fresh, buttery beignets that they fry up each afternoon at 4:00 pm. The tables start to fill up and the cafe is overcome with enticing aromas as the dough is heated and dusted with icing sugar. Paired with a hot, sweet, mint tea served in beautiful Tunisian glass tea cups, it is the perfect afternoon snack. and at €1.50 each, you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal.
I love the way this place operates. They keep a low profile with no website. Their advertising consists of a wooden sandwich board out front that says “beignets chauds 16 heures” but after cooking up these beautiful sweets in this location for over 40 years they do a swift business with a steady stream of patrons filing in, taking the piles of confections with them as they go.
[26 rue de Paris +33 04 93 80 04 13]