A Farandole of Aegean flavours at Gaia in Monaco
This is Greece in all its splendour. Colours, scents, fantasy and the Mediterranean joy of life typical to the Aegean isles. The new Gaia restaurant, in the heart of Monte-Carlo, is offering us a farandole of Aegean flavours in two settings — a warm and sophisticated interior, and its fresh and floral bougainvillea terrace.
Its traditional dishes feature premium quality ingredients only. Not surprisingly, the taste of black olives, feta, salads, stuffed grape leaves or tsatsiki almost takes your breath away. A selection of small starters, the mezze, truly reach a pinnacle of taste. After these hearty appetizers, opt for a sea bream carpaccio in its three sauces or a grilled octopus traditionally dried in the open air of the sunny coast. A fish bar introduces us to a choice of fish and cooking methods: grilled, carpaccio or salt-crusted fish…
Chef Izu, the creator of this original concept, explains: «Understanding the ingredients is our priority, they are our partners in the kitchen and we treat them with respect, as the Greeks do. The Gaia simple and humble menu is at the source of some impressive dishes. As to us, we act as mediators between flavours producing their beautiful balance». This is the secret of the famous Cretan diet highly applauded by nutritionists. The quaint tavern is a great setting for a gastronomic journey combining pleasure and well-being. This meal crowned by a fruity white wine, will transport you across the enchanted landscapes of ancient Greece. Set out to the mythical Cythera for a delicious lunch or dinner.
Galerie Charles III, Monaco
Tel +377 9999 0969
Small dishes and great wines at L’Aparté in Villefranche-sur-Mer
This is a must-see. Nestled at the entrance of the famous Rue Obscure, «obscure street», right in the heart of the old town, L’Aparté in Villefranche-sur-Mer is a great place for discerning gourmets in quest of small lovingly prepared dishes. Born in Naples, its chef Agostino Coppola is offering us a menu evolving with the seasons and… his inspiration. His all-time specialty is playing a crisp note on the flavour keyboard.
A few slices of speck enrich the watercress cream served with the monkfish; some crushed nuts are sprinkled in the turbot squash cream. Wild and mostly freshwater fish remain a must for this restaurant which equally favours game like quail or woodcock. A porcini flan sprinkled with a gorgonzola cream or a sea-wolf carpaccio served on a spring flower plate are just some of its delicacies.
Distinguishing the restaurant is its impressive wine list. There are a hundred references including an exceptional organic chianti. French, Italian but also Australian, Argentinian, South African and New Zealand wines are listed. Set out on an oenological world tour full of surprises and discoveries.
As to desserts, they combine Italian traditions and fantasy based on the dish and market products of the day. This simple and cozy restaurant invites you to share some refined dishes before venturing on a walk through the steep Villefranche alleys. A city whose charm remains the same even if you know all its little corners by heart.<
1 Rue Obscure, Villefranche-sur-Mer
Tel: +33 4 9301 8488
A Unique Сocktail of Fashion and High Gastronomy at Komo in Monaco
You may think you’ve seen it all and you’ve done it all… Feeling a little blasé with the Michelin restaurants all around the world… Well, we’ve got a surprise for you! Komo freshly opened in the heart of the trendy La Condamine district, seems to be one of a kind. And that’s what the founders of this unusual place, Laurent Kostenbaum and Laurent Barbié, were opting for.
«We were up for creating something you won’t find anywhere else. An innovative concept bringing together fashion, lifestyle and food has been a puzzle, assembled piece by piece, thanks to random meetings, with uniqueness in mind». The idea was combining different talents, mixing fashion and haute cuisine.
As to the gastronomy, we are talking of absolute excellence here. A triple Michelin star chef Mauro Colagreco is behind its refined Mediterranean menu, largely popular given the reasonable rates for this kind of cuisine. Chic and relaxed atmosphere, attentive but not an obsequious service, inventive and fancy food available on a high-tech digital tablet, while Colagreco-trained Pasquale Pugliesi is ensuring the flawless preparation of his signature dishes.
The fish dishes stand out with a leerfish carpaccio in a citrus sauce, lobster eggs or scallops in a Grenoble sauce served with celery and green apple muslin. Truly unparalleled flavour combinations.
An exceptional pastry chef is there to live up to this sophisticated gastronomy. Pierre Hermé is embarking on this adventure with his signature, multi-coloured macarons. They are available for a take-out, just like the delicious lemon and ginger-flavoured bottled olive oil.
A water bar bringing bottles from all around the world, some rare and precious, is another of the restaurant’s specialties. But fine wine lovers are, of course, not forgotten, with a best French wines selection featured.
And last but not least, the adjoining shop is tempting fashion addicts with its unique clothes, shoes and trinkets. In brief, a place that is always busy with regulars, while the most beautiful yachts anchored in the Principality treat themselves to delicious take-out meals on board. And this is only the start for Komo…
18 Rue de Millo, Monaco
Tel: +377 9770 5611
Jan, a creator of flavours, atmosphere and emotions in Nice
An artist with a touch of genius. He is equally inventive in creating his dishes and decorating this place, nothing short of a jewel. Floral arrangements hanging down from the crystal chandeliers, multiple candles conveying a soft, expertly projected light to its interior. An Italian Renaissance painting is decorating a small table hosting a winter garden with its aromatic herbs and teas, precious bottles and tea boxes displayed in a case.
This small restaurant in the port of Nice, awarded a Michelin star in 2016, is offering a truly unique experience. It all starts with a ritual. Wash your hands with delicately scented warm water — a prelude to a journey towards distant and scenic lands of South Africa. Jan remains true to his country and a family cuisine that his muse, grandmother Maria, taught him as a child.
«Everything I do must have a South African scent. Every dish features an ingredient traditional to the country where I was born and where I go regularly. I find my inspiration in watching the street, the people. A woman’s dress, a hairstyle, lines, colours…» Jan is using his multiple talents as a photographer, interior designer and florist to create his subtle, airy, somewhat water-coloured cuisine. His signature dishes, a pinnacle of originality, are a treat to the eyes and palates alike. Just take this starter of frosted apple, chorizo, green vegetables and «Tête de Moine» Swiss cheese in a smoked haddock sauce. A succulent surprise indeed.
His dessert of Menton lemons with 3 incredibly fine fennels or a traditional sago starch pudding is a true delight. Each of his compositions has a South African condiment, herb or spice.
With our taste buds teased by so many new flavours let’s leave the dining room and cross the street to Maria’s house. This is a magic place for a cheese Tour de France — a selection of twenty of the best French cheeses accompanied by all kinds of jams, fresh and dried fruit and fine wines for perfect pairings. A gourmet stopover in a Baroque decor worthy of a fairy tale crowns this truly unforgettable evening.
12 Rue Lascaris, Nice
Tel: +33 4 9719 3223