WHERE TO EAT IN MONACO?
Monaco, the ultimate luxury destination that attracts the rich and famous. It’s packed with Michelin-starred cuisine and elite international restaurant brands. Expect the crème de la crème of restaurants on the chic French Riviera. Mediterranean cuisine is the order of the day with culinary heavyweights such as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon. However, recent restaurant openings have brought global flavours from North Africa, Peru and the Far East. Here are our favourite restaurants worth visiting in the Principality:
Carnivores – rejoice! Located in the harbour of Fontvieille, this restaurant is a must for all meat lovers, as it puts animal flesh at the centre of its culinary concept. After successfully launching Beefbar in the Principality, owners branched out worldwide. Now Beefbars can be found in many international hotspots – Mykonos, New York, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo, to name just a few.
Beefbar is a lively and trendy spot with a modern and elegant design. The dress code is smart casual or fashionable, although during the day the dining room is peppered with suits: Beefbar is a popular spot for business lunches. Whatever you order – sharing starters or individual big stakes, you are guaranteed to be impressed with the quality of meat. The wine list here is equally good; it features a great range of Italian and French Grand Crus. There is no terrace in Beefbar, but on a sunny day, the outer wall can be almost fully retracted. Then, you can enjoy your rib eye with a side of a terrific view over the port of Fontvieille.
Best for: Gourmet steaks in a trendy setting.
Address: 42 Quai Jean Charles Rey, Fontvieille, MC 98000
Phone: +377 97 77 09 29
Move over, Bagatelle, there is a new kid in town. Gaia, a collaboration between a Dubai-based chef Izu Ani and Bulldozer Group, is hot property right now. It has an atmosphere of a trendy “place to be”, combined with quality food offerings. The menu is gourmet Greek, which is a rarity for Monaco. The Greeks believe that good company makes a meal taste even better, so the menu focuses on sharing dishes.
Located in the centre of Monte-Carlo, Gaia offers a splendid soothing view over the casino’s gardens. The main focal point of Gaia’s interior is a dazzling fish display in the middle of a dining room. The restaurant has quickly acquired a following, which includes some of the most influential locals. A popular place to start a night out, Gaia often looks like a fashion show runway, so dress to impress. The wine list is 18 pages long with bottles for every budget. If you want to go big, order a jéroboam Château Cheval Blanc Saint Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé A 2009. It’s yours for €15,995.
Best for: A big get together with friends or a night-out of self-indulgence.
Address: 15 Galerie Charles III, 98000 Monaco
Phone: +377 99 99 09 69
Cipriani Monte-Carlo opened its doors in 2012 and has remained a fixture of local social life since. It’s so popular that some Monegasques lovingly call it a canteen. The restaurant is packed with high rollers from all over the world, especially during the F1 Grand Prix in high season. Cipriani’s USP is not just about the food or wine, although home-made desserts are divine and portions are big, but people come here for a special atmosphere – sophisticated yet relaxed, high-end yet informal.
It’s hard not to feel somewhat special, when the manager Monsieur Pierre rushes you past Flavio Briatore and a dozen top models, then gets you seated on one of those famous brown leather chairs that give Cipriani an old-fashioned feel. Needless to say, this lovely restaurant is a place to see and be seen, so fashion stakes are always high – bling is king. Don’t forget to order a Bellini – the original Harry’s bar cocktail. The only way to get a table with a view is to join Cipriani Club – members have access to an upstairs terrace with a sea view.
Best for: Late dinners, people watching and action.
Address: 1 Avenue Princesse Grace, Monte-Carlo, MC 98000
Phone: +377 93 25 42 50
Komo is a unique concept place for Monaco – a country still set in its old but charming ways. Komo combines a patisserie, a restaurant, and a design store in one. It’s popular with millennials and a young hip crowd. You might pop in for a pastry but come out with a watch and new hoodie! It’s an open planned space, where you can easily move from the restaurant to the shop. Komo is not trying to be opulent or luxurious, instead it chooses a minimalist approach with clean lines and simple intuitive design.
The food comes from an Argentinian maestro Mauro Colagreco, who holds three Michelin stars for his Mirazur restaurant in Menton. In 2019, it was voted “The World’s Best Restaurant”. Pastries are prepared by an exclusive Pierre Hermé patisserie. The clothes are a collection of limited-edition items, including the latest must have sneakers.
Komo is a good stop for either a quick bite or a more substantial dinner. In the evening the menu features some refined tapas. Although the chef was born in Argentina, the food is Mediterranean. Komo offers a perfect opportunity to try Colagreco’s unique food without paying too much. What makes this place unique? Instead of focusing on wine, Komo puts its attention on water: it features an impressive “cave a l’eau” with fashionable water brands from all around the world.
Watch out for the La Condamine neighbourhood and Millo street, where Komo is located. It started filling up with modern art galleries, design stores and barbershops, attracting an interesting international crowd.
Best for: Trying elaborate high-end cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.
Address: 18 Rue Millo, La Condamine, Monaco
Phone: +377 9770 5611
5. Maya Bay
This oriental spot has been popular with Monaco’s in-crowd since its opening. Located in a largely residential area, Maya Bay is frequented by wealthy residents of Le Roccabella building, where it occupies the ground floor.
Maya Bay is in fact two restaurants in one: one side serves Thai food, another – Japanese. Heading up the kitchen is Christophe Dupuy, a French chef who loves to combine contemporary and traditional Asian cuisine. The menu is contemporary and inventive.
Interior designers went heavy on Asian influences with countless Buddha statues, a red lacquered sushi bar, lamps and a collection of gorgeous Kenzo kimonos.
Best for: High-end quality Asian food in an exotic setting. Affordable set menu for lunch.
Address: 24 Avenue Princesse Grace, Le Roccabella, Monte-Carlo, MC 98000
Phone: +377 97 70 74 67
6. Le Grill
Located on the top of the world-famous Hotel de Paris, Le Grill is renowned for two things – mouth-watering grilled dishes and breathtaking sea views. This is where you go to impress someone, visiting the Riviera for the first time. Just bring them to Le Grill and let the magic happen!
An impeccable service, a smart setting, an extensive and balanced wine list, together with food of the highest quality earned Le Grill a Michelin star. Dress code is formal: a jacket is recommended for gentlemen and an evening dress is appreciated for ladies. The staff is used to catering for celebrities, VIPs and demanding locals.
The restaurant and the hotel belong to Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) – a publicly traded company that manages a lion’s share of leisure and recreational facilities in the principality, ranging from casinos and restaurants to hotels, beaches and commercial buildings.
Le Grill’s sommeliers have access to a private wine cellar, hidden under the Casino Square. If you are into rare bottles, don’t miss your chance to order some “liquid gold”. By the way, the cellar can be hired for private dinners. This privilege comes with a hefty price tag, but special moments are worth paying for, aren’t they?
Booking a table at Le Grill is a task on its own. Try and book a table on the first line in order to enjoy an unobstructed view over the Port Hercules Monaco and gorgeous yachts. The inside walls of Le Grill are painted azure blue – the colour of the Riviera. On a hot balmy night, the roof can be fully retracted; what can be more romantic than a gourmet dinner under the stars?
Best for: Gourmet grilled food and catching a glimpse of that elusive “Monaco luxury lifestyle”.
Address: Place Du Casino, Hotel De Paris, Monte-Carlo, MC 98000
Phone: +377 98 06 88 88
7. Joel Robuchon
This Michelin-starred restaurant proudly bears the name of the legendary French chef, who sadly passed away in 2018. It opened in 2004 inside Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo. Since then, it has been very popular with demanding local clientele, who are easily satisfied with the best.
Robuchon’s name is being kept alive by Christophe Cussac, the restaurant’s executive chef, who was a long-time follower and protege of Robuchon. The open kitchen allows visitors to get one step closer to the theatrics of haute cuisine. The restaurant was awarded Michelin stars in 2010 and 2011, which it has retained ever since.
You can get away with smart casual attire at lunchtime, but don’t push it too far – no shorts, open shoes or sportswear are allowed. To blend in at dinner, put on your finest evening wear.
The restaurant’s luxurious yet intimate design is a creation of Jacques Garcia – a famous interior designer and architect responsible for the memorable atmosphere of Hotels Costes, La Mamounia and the NoMad. He honours the district Belle Epoque style while also exploring Bohemian opulence and Oriental elegance.
The menu focuses on enticing French traditional cuisine. Despite its celebrity status, the restaurant is famous for “la purée”, or humble mashed potatoes. You must order it to find out, what’s the fuss about! What to drink? Grand Crus, of course!
The best tables are either inside by the open kitchen, or outside, overlooking the garden. Both à la carte and set menus are available, some dishes can be ordered as half portions.
Best for: Trying traditional French Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Address: 4 Avenue de la Madone, Monte Carlo, 98000, Monaco
Phone: +377 93 15 15 10
8. Blue Bay
Modern and elegant, Blue Ray was awarded a Michelin star in 2015. Located inside the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, it offers superb French cuisine with a creative touch of the French West Indies. Marcel Ravin, the executive chef at Blue Bay, originates from Martinique, bringing to Monaco exotic flavours of his homeland. Despite well-deserved accolades and his celebrity status, Marcel says yes to requests from customers, trying to accommodate all food intolerances, faiths and other dietary restrictions.
Nature provides a stunning backdrop to Ravin’s culinary experiments: the hotel boasts a big terrace with views over the Mediterranean Sea. Blue Bay is famous for its fish dishes. Note that the kitchen only uses sustainably caught fish. It often comes garnished with vegetables and herbs from the restaurant’s own organic garden. And Blue Bays’ Sunday brunches are a highlight of Monaco’s winter season, which lasts from October to early May.
Best for: Organic fine dining and seafood.
Address: 40 Avenue Princesse Grace, Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Monte-Carlo, MC 98000
Phone: +377 98 06 03 60
9. Le Louis XV
Le Louis XV by Alain Ducasse holds three Michelin stars. It’s probably the most formal restaurant in the Principality. Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket all year around.
Located on the ground floor of l’Hôtel de Paris it’s a bucket list destination, featured in countless lists of the world’s top restaurants. It was the first hotel restaurant to receive three Michelin stars, only 33 months after its opening, over 30 years ago. Certain recipes stood the test of time: you can still order the Provence garden vegetables and black truffle, offered to guests since 1987.
The restaurant prides itself on local produce from Provence. The menu created by chef Dominique Lory and Alain Ducasse is brief – just a page long and it changes every two months. The wine list is created by Noël Bajor, head sommelier. It reflects the wealth of Société des bains de mer de Monaco (SBM’s) immense cellar, located under the Place du Casino. The room, created by designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, features opulent frescos, gilding and an impressive 7-metre chandelier. Although the interior of Le Louis XV epitomises luxury and fine dining, the best tables are on the terrace, overlooking Place du Casino, whilst enjoying some discreet people watching.
Best for: An all-around luxury experience.
Address: Monte-Carlo, MC 98000
Phone: +377 98 06 88 64
By Matthias Piault, concierge at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo