Dining out

posted 3 March 2005 (updated 17 March 2005)

Last weekend was particularly epicurean. On Friday night, we went to La Réserve de Beaulieu (G-M 17/20), and was it really 2 points better than the 15-rated Metropole next door? You'd better believe it! Then on Sunday, we went over to Monte Carlo to check out the Casino and had lunch at Joël Robuchon's place in the Hotel Metropole there (GM 16/20, not to be confused with the Hotel Metropole in Beaulieu). We were disappointed when Robuchon retired and left his restaurant in Paris before we had a chance to try his cooking, so we were pleased to learn that he had since opened this place in Monaco.

We were tempted to go to Alain Ducasse's place in the legendary Hotel de Paris (the Paris and the Metropole face each other across the park, flanking the Casino), one of only 13 establishments in the world ranked 19/20 (it would have been our fourth), but it was just too expensive--the cheapest set menu was 90 euros, and an à la carte lunch would have run us about 150 euros each (rooms in the hotel run 385-990 euros a night, suites 2000-2800 euros a night). As it happens, Ducasse was closed that week, so the temptation was removed. In fact, we had planned to eat at a nearby 14-ranked place, but the freezing rain drove us indoors to explore the very upscale shopping mall, and when it let up briefly, Robuchon was right next door, and once we'd read the menu, we were lost . . . .

February 18: Dinner at La Réserve de Beaulieu

At La ReserveFebruary 18: Dinner at La Réserve de Beaulieu

February 20: Lunch at Joël Robuchon in Monte Carlo

Robuchon's menu features many small dishes, for convenience of mixing, matching, and tasting, plus "larger plates" like steaks, roasts, etc. The service plates (the decorative plates with which the table is set when you arrive, seldom intended for actual use) are conical and pointed on the bottom, so each one must rest on a wooden collar to stand up!

Monaco mall Silver lobster The mall was very upscale indeed, as you can see from these photos, one of the mall's central staircase and the other of a life-size sterling silver lobster, posed casually on a bed in a furniture-store window.

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