The unforgettable meal that Alex Guarnaschelli enjoyed at La Merenda restaurant in France

The unforgettable meal that Alex Guarnaschelli enjoyed at La Merenda restaurant in France

Alex Guarnaschelli smiling in a black shirt
Alex Guarnaschelli smiling in a black shirt – Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Some meals leave you dreaming about them long after you eat them, and such is the case with a bowl of fresh pasta and pesto served by Alex Guarnaschelli at French restaurant La Merenda. This time-honored institution has left its mark on culinary celebrities who fondly remember their experiences there. “It was an ethereal meal that changed my life,” Guarnaschelli gushed to Business Insider. “Especially the pasta. The pasta falling onto the hot pesto in front of me made me cry. It was so good. And so simple.”

The restaurant is located in Nice’s Old Town and guests can rely on fresh seasonal flavors and traditional recipes that have the ability to leave such lasting impressions on diners. Chef Dominique Le Stanc has been working in kitchens since he was 14 years old and running operations – many of which have achieved Michelin recognition – since 1984. At La Merinda, Le Stanc takes pride in his own creations. “I’ve worked in fine dining restaurants for decades,” he says on La Merenda’s website. “Ultimately, these establishments require a lot more logistics than gastronomy. Here, at La Merenda, I can focus on the essence of cooking: with market-fresh produce, sharing the joy of honest, authentic cuisine.” Like handmade pesto.

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A taste of tradition along the French Riviera

Pasta is served at La Merenda

Pasta served at La Merenda – vin_jjgo/Instagram

It’s not just the basil pesto pasta dishes that Le Stanc offers guests. From stuffed sardines, fresh pizza, oxtail served with orange and polenta, and black pudding with onions, diners have plenty to choose from from the handwritten chalkboard menu. Sweet cravings can be crushed with cheesecakes and desserts like chocolate mousse, sweet chard pie, lemon pie, and pots of vanilla cream. Although La Merenda may mean snack in Niçard, bellies will be full after stepping out of this place.

La Merenda takes the term “old world” very seriously. It can only accommodate twenty people, is closed on weekends, and cards are not accepted, so visitors will need to be prepared with cash. Communal tables add to the fun atmosphere and quaint local feel, and Le Stanc leaves a bicycle parked in front of the restaurant when it’s open for service—the same cycle he rides to the market in the morning to gather ingredients to make a pesto that may leave you craving long after you’ve left Europe.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.

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