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Jan 22, 2010 06:28 AM

Lunch & Dinner suggestions Monte Carlo

We will be in Monte Carlo for one night and I was thinking of making a reservation at Mandarine. After looking at various posts, I saw a lot of recommendations for Mirazur. How difficult/expensive would it be to go to Mirazur for dinner from Monte Carlo and how feasible is the return trip in the evening? Is Mirazur that much better than Mandarine, which is located in our hotel?

The next day we will be sightseeing in Eze and Villefranche. Any recommendations for lunch at either of those locations? I was thinking abou the Chevre D'or but came accross a blog which spoke about a menu consisting of sea urchin tongue and caviar and I have to admit, I was a bit put off. We enjoy good food, but I'm not terribly adventurous and the thought of eating sea urchin tongue is not terribly appealing.

Thank you!

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  1. sea urchins don't have tongues.

    i don't want to spoil your fun, but IMO èze is a complete tourist trap. there are tons of adorable perched villages here in the area, and i think st paul de vence is cuter, though it's also quite touristy. chèvre d'or is really expensive (i haven't been) and i've heard some mixed reviews.

    villefranche is nice, though, and the sentier littoral (the coastal path) that goes around st jean cap ferrat has some nice views. if it's a sunny day , it can be really pleasant even in january.

    sorry no resto recommendations

    1 Reply
    1. re: juliadevi

      Actually sea urchins do have tongues, but that isn't what is referred to in the culinary sense. When you see sea urchin tongue in the menu description it means the orange coloured roe which is shaped like a small tongue. It is very tasty, think of it like any other fish roe dish, but with the added bonus it is usually really fresh as sea urchins are simple to keep alive.

    2. I don't find Mirazur always reliable. Maybe just my bad luck.
      Sea urchin tongue is indeed a strange concept. What part are they calling the tongue? It is like saying "snake wrist" or sth.
      Sea urchin is wonderfully tasty though.
      It is easy to go to Menton during the day, say, for lunch.
      In the evening it is not so convenient to rely on trains/buses between the 2 towns.
      Lastly, if you are going to spend substantial time in Menton on your day in Monte Carlo, why not stay in lovely Menton instead of the one place on the Côte d'Azur where you have to jump and strain your neck to see a little bit of the sea?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Parigi

        Well, you have to admit that the urchin's gonads look like little orange tongues. And delicious ones, indeed.

      2. You do not say when you are going. Mirazur is closed until mid-March. If you are sightseeing in Eze and Villefranche, I assume you have a car. In this case you should go to the Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie if you are there after it reopens in mid-February. But just having a nice convenient meal at Mandarine isn't a bad idea.

        1. Last May my wife and I stayed at your hotel and went to both Mirazur and Mandarine. First, expect a 150 euro cab fare roundtrip to get to Mirazur from the hotel. It wasn't difficult to organize as the hotel was able to arrange for the taxi to the restaurant and the restaurant hleped get us a taxi back. You could take the train to Menton, but we thought it would be be easier to pay the cost and not have travel considerations make the evening complicated.

          Second, Mirazur is that much better than Mandarine. I've read more recent reviews suggesting that Mirazur hasn't really progressed much in the past couple years and also comments that meals have been hit-or-miss, but we had a lovely meal. It was our favorite meal of the trip (of 6 starred restaurants spanning Paris, Italy and London). The view from the restaurant is beautiful, the staff gracious and helpful and the food both interesting and delicious. We had the large chef's tasting menu and met the chef at the end of the meal. I will note that I can see how the chef's style of cooking may not appeal to all diners. I'd be sure to read the various blog posts of Mirazur to see some pictures to get a good idea of the cooking as it was very modern and focused primarily on seafood to be sure this is what you're looking for.

          We had lunch at Mandarine the next day and felt that it didn't come off as having the same ambitions or polish as Mirazur. The food was good, but just not as inventive or interesting. This may be due to it being lunch, but looking over the dinner menu and seeing some other dishes gave me that impression as well. The dining room is nice though and it also has a great view (be sure to have breakfast at the hotel in the morning. Having coffee and looking over the port was one of my favorite things about being in Monte Carlo). I'd recommend Mandarine for a nice lunch, but Mirazur for dinner.