L'Ovale a Meaty Oasis


When I walked into the restaurant to find that it's named, themed and designed after the shape of a football, I knew I was in for an interesting dining experience.

The funny thing is that aside from the "oval" reference, L'Ovale serves up pure French cuisine, with a classic warm ambience and that sidewalk dining that is seen everywhere, no sports references at all.

Dining in Paris has been a complete hit or miss. One day it was amazing curry chicken street crepes and beautiful coffee, the next it was over priced roasted chicken that went down like sandpaper.

So for our first night in Nice, all I wanted was a great unique experience with honest food to comfort the soul.

L'Ovale did all of that and more.

My french is still rough, so ordering is always a fun mystery box experience. Thank goodness when it comes to languages, I pick up food terms first and there's epic camera apps like "World Lens" to help with the more complex translations and getting a slightly better idea of what I'm going to get.

We ordered one Proscitto appetizer (called jambon here), the Charcuterie board of cured meats and Foie Gras from our prefix menu selection.

When each of these items came out, our eyes and jaws opened wide in joyful disbelief.

It was like a small glimpse at what it must be like to sit at Thor's table, in Asgaard, for lunch. Geeky reference, I know, but I always allude to his epic table flip in the movie that and/or reference eating like a Viking or Thor.

Usual charcuterie boards have a few sample slices of a few selections.

Our board came out with multiple tangled links of cured Salami, pig head cheese (not cheese spread but more a gelatin like deli meat made from various parts of the head), 2 types of pâté, a cured sausage made from beef liver/kidney and another liver like spread I couldn't make out.

When we asked "umm do we eat all this?" our server mentioned to freely cut and eat what we want. What we don't finish of the salami, they take back.

The prosciutto came out on a big plate with salad and balsamic reduction dressing.

The Foie gras, never been an obsession of mine, was quite the generous amount.

Oh and all served with a fresh baked baguette.

This by the way was before our main dinner.

Dinner was equally as incredible. I had the beef carpaccio with a pesto sauce over mixed greens and W. ordered the Cassoulet (duck, lamb, sausage) and it was the best I've ever had. They had this crisp crust over the entire dish that just gave the savory beans, the perfect amount of texture.

The servers were friendly, they play great music, their pricing is beyond fair and the food is really fantastic.

Oh and their expresso is nicely deep, rich and bold.

Man I'm going to miss French coffee when I go back home.

The plan, to probably eat here almost every day and try different dishes.

One of the things I love most about dining in France is that the ceremony of eating is about enjoying the experience of the food. I love that servers don't touch the plate or even bring out the next dish till you're done.

Our hotel is right on the coast and walking distance to the main square, where they're having a grand Noel festival, and to lots of great eats.

It's been less than a day here and I'm already in love. The pace is slower than Paris, the architecture is classic, yet they have amazingly modern public transportation and the festive decor everywhere has my holiday spirits singing.

It's 4am and my sleeping patterns have been awful.

Time to try to zzzz. Happy nomming.

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