Fusing the new with the old, famed chef Alain Ducasse reopens the gem in his culinary crown, Le Louis XV, at the Hotel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. This storied dining establishment, the first ever hotel restaurant to receive three Michelin stars, has an eye on the future while keeping one foot firmly planted in the past. With a renovation of the dining room and new elements added to the menu offerings, Le Louis XV, quite simply put, is one of the very best dining experiences you’ll have, not only in Monaco, but the world.
Since 1987, Mr. Ducasse has allowed his influence and infatuation with the French Riviera’s land and products to inform his menus. Prince Rainier III entrusted the dining room of the Hotel de Paris to Mr. Ducasse and made him executive chef of the property around the same time. Eating in the hotel was never the same after that moment. The Hotel de Paris became a beacon for food connoisseurs and a destination for chefs from across the globe to witness the art of cooking in its rarest form. This theme has not left over the years but has grown stronger.
Today, being a guest in the beautiful dining room, which makes you feel as if you’ve been invited to enjoy a meal during a private party at Versailles, is a true pleasure. Recently, designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku updated the space, infusing a modern and casual look with the traditional and beautiful opulence which has made the room so famous. After entering, the door closes behind you and you are immediately in another world. The soaring ceilings with frescos and murals draw your attention as you are seated and prepared for a culinary journey.
Head Chef Dominique Lory invites diners to explore the region around them. Tasting menus and an a-la-carte menu are on offer. The chef-designed tasting is always a sure bet. The Gourmet menu features a smattering of selections from Mr. Lory from the a-la-carte menu as well as seasonal surprises which are only prepared for those who choose that option. There is also a vegetable-focused Jardins de Provence menu which is very clean and fresh for the palate. There’s no wrong choice here.
Service at Le Louis XV is on another level of fantastic. The staff, as many of them as you can imagine attending to your needs, are helpful but not overwhelming. There is someone who carves your butter, serves your wine, assists in the delivery of each corse, offers bread and so on. Each person has a very specific function, not out of excess, but out of the appreciation and attention to detail involved in creating this environment. They stand at the center of the room around a centrally located work station – disseminated whenever someone is in need. The sommelier, Noël Bajor, sources only the best vintages to accompany your meal – and they are spot on.
Mr. Lory’s menu, which was created for me on the night of my visit, was outstanding. Each course was moving and purposeful, alluding to a specific idea or theme – marking every point in my journey throughout the evening. A version of their current a-la-carte offerings can be found on this menu, which is reflective of what was served to me. Highlights included the most tender asparagus, delicate sea bass, an incredibly curated selection of French cheeses and herbal tea infusions which were paired with my dessert by the undeniably talented pastry chef, Sandro Micheli.
The new Le Louis XV is very much rooted in the old, with an update that respects the tradition while keeping a handle on the fact that food establishments need to evolve to maintain their lore. Alain Ducasse is a master at that, and it shows in every fiber of this restaurant. To dine here is an experience that few are lucky to experience in a lifetime. But, if you make it a point, I can promise there just isn’t a closer location to culinary heaven. This is it.