Respond to Review of La Zucca Magica - The Magic Pumpkin
Review: I don't often make rave restaurant reviews, but this restaurant earned one tonight. They serve rustic French cuisine in a wholly vegetarian style. As their slogan says, they are "the restaurant to vegetables, eggs, and cheese." There is no menu. You simply make a reservation, sit down, and enjoy the ride as the staff brings out a multi-course sensory experience from the kitchen. The candle-lit ambiance is rustic and inviting without being stuffy or pretentious. Pumpkin and squash art surrounds the ~20 tables. On my visit tonight, I had a 4 course meal that included: delicious pesto-vegetable soup with an olive-oil broth; delicate white cheese casserole with hint of garlic and herbs; white spaghetti casserole with a side of cooked marinated artichoke; hearty black olive lasagna with tomato sauce and a hint of green olive flavor infused; moist chocolate cake with strawberry sorbet. There was something to like about every course, and my favorite was the soup. The nice thing about this restaurant -- and what sets it apart from other popular vegetarian restaurants -- is that the cuisine is geared toward traditional French. In other words, it's just delicious "regular" food. There's no tofu, tempeh, rice cakes, soy beans, or other commonly expected vegetarian fare. In their place the chef makes use of an impressive palette of fresh market vegetables, cheeses, and spices to craft a unique and uniquely down-to-earth dining experience. With wine and water, the bill came to 39 Euros for one person (it would have been 29 Euros without the wine and bottled water). Although it seems on the pricey side, I think the cost is within reason for other restaurants in the Old Nice Port area. Staff are friendly and will speak some English, but you should come prepared to attempt a little French as they seem reluctant to dive into English on-command. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant. It's not only great vegetarian food, it's just plain good food. Non-vegetarians will probably walk away just as happy as vegetarians. My reservation was for 7:00 PM and the meal took almost 2 hours. This is the sort of establishment where you come and let the meal unwind at the chef's pace. Leave any Hurried American attitudes back at the hotel. :-) I suspect that if I had made my reservation a little later -- say, 8:00 PM -- that the experience might have gone a bit more quickly as I think the chef was still finishing preparations of the evening's course when I showed up at 7:00.