Sherman's Food Adventures: Chez Pipo

Chez Pipo

We all know that Nice is famous for their Salade Niçoise.  Heck the place is in the name of the dish!  Now I love a good salade niçoise but really, there are more things native to Nice than that.  So we ended up visiting Chez Pipo in the heart of Downtown in search of another famous dish - Socca.  There are many places you can get this specialty in the area, but according to most, this is the place to get it.  Is it a bit on the touristy side?  Maybe, but we didn't care!

So we got there at opening and snagged a table outside.  It quickly filled up and then a lineup formed.  Before we got to the socca, we started with the Pissaladière.  This version was a bit different than the one we had at Le Fromager de Saint-Paul.  The flatbread was a bit thicker and the onions were not as caramelized.  Hence, it was more robust and the natural onion flavour came through much more strongly.  It ate more like an onion tart of sorts.

Staying on the same theme, we had their version of Pizza with tomatoes, parsley and garlic.  Due to the thicker bread-like crust, this was more dense, but not in a bad way.  The generous amount of fresh tomatoes on top added both moisture and natural tomato flavour.  Equally present, the garlic was really prominent with both aroma and just a touch of sharpness.  I much preferred this flatbread since it was not so full of onions.

We decided to get a set of their Tartinades featuring olive tapenade paste, anchovy cream, mix of Provence vegetables and sundried tomato.  This was served with golden croutons on the side.  Such a simple, yet delicious shareable appie.  I was all about the anchovy cream as it was salty and briny.  Tomatoes were impactful too with sweet tanginess.  Naturally, the olives in the tapenade was salty and tangy while the veggie mix was bright and fresh.

Ordering all the local specialties, we had the Mini-Pan Bagnat as well.  This is a small bun filled will all things found in a salade niçoise.  Story goes, these were eaten with leftovers from the salad.  Yep, this was indeed filled with tuna, egg,  radish, anchovy, onion, green pepper, tomato and olives.  The trick here was to soak the bread with olive oil and the tomato juice (since bagnat means "wet").  Therefore, the sandwich was moist, soft and conformed to the ingredients.  Of course, we had the saltiness of the anchovy.

Now let's talk about Socca.  This chickpea flour based pancake said to have originated from Roman soldiers cooking them on their shields or when residents in Nice sustained themselves with the 2 ingredients that were plentiful at the time (olive oil and chickpeas) when the city was under siege by Turkish forces.  Whatever the case, we absolutely loved it!  So crispy and light on the outside while satisfyingly soft and well-seasoned inside.  This could be eaten as a snack or meal anytime in the day!  We also got a variation with parmesan and it come out flatter and a bit denser.  But had the salty nuttiness of parm really added another dimension to the already flavourful socca.  Whatever the case, Chez Pipo really delivered with their delicious socca.  The other dishes were fine too, but the real draw is their signature dish!

The Good:
- Delicious socca
- Reasonably-priced
- Good service

The Bad:

- Other dishes were okay
- Parking in Nice is not nice


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