In search of our first dinner in Monaco, we sought advice from the trusty concierge at the Fairmont, Monte Carlo. Informative as ever, we were suggested a nearby restaurant named Avenue 31. Since I hadn’t heard of it before, we put our trust in the hands of the very sweet, small, balding man behind the desk, made a reservation and headed to the restaurant at 8pm.
With no great expectations, we were very pleasantly surprised. The restaurant was very well laid out inside, with a long bar at the entrance, white wooden furniture and many small lamps, rather than a strong lighting fixture. Although there was no immediate, eye-catching glitz and glamour, it undoubtedly had the feel of a classy, upmarket establishment. It was exactly what you would expect of a restaurant on the French Riviera and I liked it, a lot.
Moments after being seated, we were greeted by our very hospitable waiter and presented with squares of soft bread topped with melted cheese, courgette and ham. Despite the simplicity of ingredients, the result was phenomenal. The flavours and texture made each bite melt in your mouth but not wanting to spoil my entrée and attempting to exercise some form of self-restraint, I stopped… eventually. With such a fantastic beginning to the evening, I had high hopes for the rest of the meal.
The menu had a very extensive list of different types of food, all of which sounded superb. Being left with the dilemma of wanting to choose everything (not the worst problem in the world), we sought help from our waiter who subsequently managed to enlighten us on any queries. In fact, his breadth of knowledge and willingness to engage was absolutely outstanding to the point that we almost wanted him to join our table. The service throughout was exceptional and undeniably stood out as one of the most memorable parts of the evening.
At this point, I could have been served a can of baked beans and still left with a smile on my face. And that should most definitely say something, especially coming from me! But of course, the reality was so much more impressive. After sifting through all of the spectacular options, we selected the baby chicken, black cod and butternut squash and goats cheese risotto. The dishes were marvellous and not a morsel was left on our plates. It was clear that every dish had been handcrafted and cooked to perfection – not only was the presentation beautiful, the taste was even better.
For dessert we decided to end the evening with some refreshing sorbets which were, to our surprise, accompanied by some complementary glasses of limoncello!
Our time at Avenue 31 was absolutely faultless with the staff continuously going above and beyond what is expected in order to ensure you have a more than perfect dining experience. Truly overwhelmed by the quality of service and food, I would most certainly recommend a visit to the restaurant should ever you happen to be in Monaco.