Elsa Restaurant | Monte Carlo Beach goes Bio
On my recent visit to Monaco, I had the pleasure of dining at Elsa Restaurant at Monte Carlo Beach, a member of the Relaix & Chateaux family. I was their first patron of the evening as I had an 8pm dinner reservation, which is considered early for a Saturday evening in Monte Carlo. By 8:30pm, other guests started to trickle in, and by 9pm, the restaurant was busy.
The restaurant has been recognized and certified as a 100% organic restaurant - a first for Europe - and it prides itself in the guaranteed excellence of its ingredients. Everything from the wine and olive oil to the bread, vegetables, fish and meats are 100% organic. The genius behind this concept is Executive Chef Paulo Sari, and it comes as no surprise that Elsa is the first 100% organic restaurant in the world to obtain a Michelin Star.
The seasonal Autumn menu consisted of 19 savoury dishes, 6 of which were vegetarian, a decent proportion of vegetarian dishes. I ordered 3 appetizer courses, probably one too many but I was hungry and keen to try them all: The "Bio Sama" - an assortment of summer vegetables was presented with perfection and colour, like a work of art. I could taste the fresh crunchiness of the vegetables. The raw and cooked artichokes carpaccio was a flavourful combination of 3 different textures layered on top of each other, the crispy cooked artichokes on the top layer, the soft slivers of mature Parmesan cheese in the middle and the moist raw artichoke at the bottom (see featured image). The Ratatouille 2014, which consisted of a warm savoury pastry filled with deliciously seasoned roasted onions, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni and eggplant was topped with an ice cold tomato sorbet. This play of temperatures was a brilliant way to stimulate my palate.
For main course, I ordered the only listed vegetarian option which was the Tortelli filled with Porcini Mushrooms, served over black truffle slivers and wild juice. I was surprised to learn from the Maitre d' that this dish had absolutely no cream or butter in it, in fact the chef doesn't use cream in any of the savoury dishes on the menu! However this in no way sacrificed on the taste. Having eaten so many appetizers I was unable to finish the main course, plus I wanted to leave a little room for dessert.
As recommended I ordered the chef's mouthwatering interpretation on the marriage of the great French and Italian classics - the Saint Honoré and the Tiramisù. By the time I polished this off, I had absolutely no room for their "closing experience" pastries. Thankfully they were beautifully presented in a take-away box so I took them with me!
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: ✔ (on prior request)
Pros: 100% organic, excellent service and attentiveness of staff, outstanding food
Cons: only a few tables by the window have a view
Price: $$$$ (500+ AED)
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