Type into Google ‘olive oil Nice’ and the first listing is Oliviera — a small restaurant founded by Nadim Beyrouti 12 years ago. This ex-banker now spends his days tooling around Provence sourcing the finest quality extra virgin olive oils from small producers whose focus is excellence and fidelity to the terroir. According to Nadim, Oliviera represents the ‘anti-tourism of olive oil.’ He is proud of the fact that he doesn’t sell soaps, souvenirs, or his olive oils in fancy bottles.
Nadim has olive oil in his blood, having spent his childhood in Palestine where his father produced olive oil and trained his son from an early age to recognise the traits and idiosyncrasies of the different varieties. Nadim’s palate has moved on appreciably from his first sampling, when everything seemed ‘bitter’ to his young taste buds.
Oliviera sells varieties such as: Bouteillan (slight banana fruitiness, perfect with the ‘Oliviera Aubergine’ recipe), Frantoio (green fresh almonds, peppery artichoke), and Grossanne (Granny Smith apple and rosemary). His blends include: A.O.P. Vallée des Baux (sweet almonds, ‘mowed lawn’, great with goat cheese), A.O.P. Aix-en-Provence (green grass, pairs well with steak tartare), and A.O.C. Nice (sweet almond, hazelnut, artichoke).
The restaurant was created as a vehicle to showcase the Oliviera range of olive oils — a happy collaboration between simple meals created from super fresh, high quality ingredients, that pair perfectly with their distinctive oils. Whilst Oliviera is well-known, Nadim is somewhat of a celebrity himself (replete with his signature suspenders). The revered French chef Alain Ducasse featured Oliviera in his book ‘J’aime Monaco’ where he describes Oliviera as ‘jardin-cuisine.’
Reading through the numerous reviews of Oliviera on Trip Advisor (currently ranked number 10 out of 781 restaurants in Nice), you will see praise for the olive oils, food and Nadim in equal measure – written in English, French and Italian — no doubt encouraged by the polyglot Nadim who speaks these languages fluently, in addition to Spanish, Arabic and German.
Remarkably only two people work in the restaurant – Nadim is in the front of the house, and Regine in the kitchen – and even more remarkable is that this is not a husband and wife team, but an ex-husband and wife team.