Regardless of whether you there for the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters or the prestigious Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix one month later, this handy guide to Monaco will help you navigate the home of high rise ostentation and keep you well informed of everything you probably can’t afford. If you do happen to be able to afford it, please contact us here at Eventraveler.com and adopt us.
Let’s get some semantics out of the way. Monte Carlo is not a synonym for Monaco. Monaco is the principality or sovereign city-state while Monte Carlo is one of its five districts and indeed it’s most infamous.
Have you heard horror stories on how each meal set someone back $200 dollars a person and they were asked to wash dishes and surrender their passports? Well the prices are real and we’re fairly certain there’s a poor soul paying for this Euro 500 bottle of champagne. So here are some suggestions on menus that won’t have you missing the next EMI payment. But we won’t have you munching on cardboard pizza either. Let’s start cheap, or relatively. U Cavagnetu (14 Rue Comte Felix Gastaldi, Monaco) or ‘picnic basket’ is a local lunch haven where you can try the Monaco specialty Barbajuan, or “Uncle John” in the local dialect. It’s a fried ravioli stuffed with vegetables, eggs and herbs but I would opt for the Pissaladière, a pizza-style tart with onions, anchovies and olives, but no tomato; perfection. Those looking for a taste of le Paris should head to Quai des Artistes, a chic brassiere with a penchant for seafood and a dedicated Oyster menu in French. Oh how I hate you. Those hankering for some Italian should head to Il Terrazzino, a trattoria serving comfort southern Italian food; think Carbonaras and hangover friendly ragus. Dinner in Monaco demands a few Michelin stars and Hotel Métropole can’t be beat for reasonably priced yet astounding food; feel free to thank us when you come back home; a box of cupcakes will do nicely thank you. (Call 00 377 93 15 15 35 for reservations). If on the other hand you have no spending limits, add Louis XV (Hotel de Paris, Monaco; 00 377 98 06 88 64) to the list and just ignore the prices. In fact, we suggest you just ask the waiter for his recommendations and hope the limit on your card doesn’t get breached. This is world-class food at astronomical prices but when in Rome …
Please note reservations are mandatory everywhere during season time.
Head to Jimmy’z to spot the stars, perhaps you’ll shake a leg with Rihanna or Beyoncé. Table service starts at Euro 300, which doesn’t sound that bad when you compare it to a table at China House in Mumbai which sets you back an easy Rs 40,000. At least you’re in Monaco baby… Other nighttime shenanigans can be had at The Living Room, which comes with a heated terrace for us from the tropics. For yearlong glamour, I would head to Black Legend where you can shake a leg to some Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, which makes for a refreshing change from the mind numbing EDM wave going round.
What about the day you ask? Well, let’s be clear, Monaco is more glorified car expo than UNESCO but there are some things you can do, like the Royal Palace as well as the Oceanograhic Museum. But I know you’re thinking Casino Royale, which is great because it’s also easily the most impressive building in Monaco. The Casino at Monte Carlo is the high rolling heart of Europe. My sister-in-law once said they sat at a café across from the casino and just gazed at the cars going in; each one more beautiful than the one before. Another lovely place is Jardin Exotique, perfect for a romantic rendezvous, once you catch your breath that is. Climb up to get a view of gorgeous succulents and cacti. Garden lovers will sigh.