Take a chic, prestigious Monte-Carlo hotel surrounded by ostentatious palm trees and panoramic views of the Mediterranean, add Manon Fleury, a prodigy of environmentally conscious cuisine with a penchant for using Mediterranean goods… and boom! You get Restaurant Elsa, a striking mix that has the whole Rocher neighborhood talking. The night we went, the menu was elegant yet still felt casual: cream of peas from the Jardin des Antipodes in Menton, drizzled in a pea pod infusion; Sicilian-style sardines sprinkled with breadcrumbs, raisins and parsley; a lovely grain risotto with peas and fava beans, pimped out with za’atar; freshly caught fish of the day (turbot, the day we went) that was perfectly grilled and served with glazed fennel from the Domaine d’Agerbol, sheep’s milk yogurt and rock samphire; a trou monégasque made with myrtle and local gin, served in between courses as a palette cleanser; before a dessert that combined preserved citrus fruits, amaretti and a very light orange blossom cream. A culinary fireworks display of sorts that was just as flamboyant as the principality. // Laëtitia Sayre
FEELING THIRSTY? A fabulous wine menu: a Loire red from the Domaine Selvadolce (€20 a glass), a Coteaux-Varois white from the Château la Calisse (€75 a bottle)… unless you decide to opt for a Vino di Gio, a Bellet red from the Clos Saint-Vincent (€235).
PRICE: Set menus €70 (3 courses, noon) and €128 (5 courses, dinner).