Inside the beautiful Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel at the end of Avenue Princesse Grace sits one of Monaco’s newest and best Michelin-starred restaurants, Elsa. This 100% organic dining establishment is a game changer in the local dining scene not only for its innovation, but for the thought put behind every meal – reaching into the repertoire of its relationship with 15 growers and farms in France, Switzerland and Italy. Led by Executive Chef Paolo Sari, Elsa is a place to experience cuisine that reflects the local culture while marrying international flavors with the best ingredients one can find from the regional soil. Elsa was named after American columnist, Elsa Maxwell, who was largely influential with her famed Monaco parties which brought together known people and socialites from a variety of backgrounds.
The restaurant invites guests to sit either inside or outside. In Monaco, it’s difficult to give-up the opportunity to dine on a terrace along the bay which looks-out onto the Mediterranean and up a hill to the famed Monte-Carlo Casino. Blues and whites make an appropriate color palette for the space, while tables are kept simple in white in an effort to allow the food to speak for itself. Starting with a glass of champagne is perfection as your server brings over freshly baked breads with a melange of olive oils reflecting the flavors of Italy, France and Spain. You know instantly that you’re in for a treat.
The chef designed my menu so I had no clue what was coming my way – which, in restaurants like this, is always the best option. I chose a wine pairing to accompany each course, brought by the sommelier. I started with a delicate shrimp carpaccio, braised octopus fillet with delicate vegetable purees and moved-on to a fantastic mixture of sea bass and shellfish done in the most flavorful broth. Of course dessert was one of the best moments with a rich blueberry square on a delicate crust drizzled in strawberry syrup. The meal finished with herbal infusions and a stunning box of handmade bonbons.
Elsa delighted and impressed – from start to finish. The food was extraordinary and it truly makes you feel good knowing how much care is put into sourcing the ingredients. Chef Sari has taken this to an entirely different level. Elsa is an absolute “must” for any visitor in Monaco. You just can’t afford to miss it.