Buddha Bar: party in Monaco's sound bath with Asian food
As a part of the Casino de Monte-Carlo this is the fanciest Buddha Bar from all and food-wise the best. Its vibrant atmosphere, cool people, great music, drinks and pretty good food make it a must-go spot if you spend a weekend in Monaco.
Cuisine: Asian (Japanese, Thai and Chinese)
Visit: April 2012 (I have been going there regularly since 2010)
Price: high (you are in Monaco and that is ‘the hot place’)
Atmosphere: You go there for that! Vibrant, trendy, great music from a DJ mixing Buddha Bar’s CDs from a chill in the early hours to more energetic songs in the peak hours (approx. 9pm-11pm). This is a very different Buddha bar than any other I have ever been to. The usual Asian interior is incorporated into a Belle Époque, elegant building creating an eclectic feel to this restaurant/bar. It is smartly done as everyone has to pass through the long bar before climbing up the stairs to the second floor restaurant. The bar attracts many trendy people and it is not only because of its happy hours during the week, but it has a very good cocktails, drinks and snacks and feels much less stuffy than most of the Monaco’s hotel bars.
Food: One would think that the food will not be very good as Buddha Bars are mostly known for their bar scene. Not in Monte Carlo though! Here if you do not do quality, you will not survive for long on this very competitive restaurant scene. Ordering of multiple dishes is recommended and sharing very popular.
To start, I like one of the New Style Sashimis or Buddha Bar’s own creations such as the Chicken salad with crispy crackers cracking in your mouth as you munch through it – that became an immediate hit dish. Sadly the menu is regularly updated and some of our favourite dishes such as the Lobster ravioli, Vegetable Tartar with pomeggranate seeds and the Artichokes Salad were replaced with something else. Thus, here I call for their return! I really miss them.
To my relief the Buddha Bar has kept my favorite Sushi Roll ever on the menu – the Buddha Bar Roll, which is a rice-less roll wrapped in a cucumber instead of seaweed, filled with mix of fish and accompanied by a creamy and rich sauce. If you are to get only one dish with a drink do this one.
Continuing with something half-cooked before getting into the warm dishes the Spicy Tuna on a Crispy Rice is the irresistible temptation for all spicy and crispy food lovers. It needs some fuller-bodied wine as its flavor profile is high on intensity.
You can continue with sushi and rolls variations or order a main course. The Western-Japanese classics such as Rock Shrimps Tempura with Spicy Mayonnaise and the Black Cod with Miso and Yuzu Sauce are well-done here. The shrimps are crispy, the batter is fried right. The black cod is rich yet delicate as it should be. Sometimes, we order the Grilled Wagyu Beef with Antikucho Sauce, but it is inconsistent in quality and for it being the most expensive dish on the menu, it can turn into a waste of your money. Rather do the Wok Fried Beef with Thai Basil as it is quite consistent and it is half price of the Wagyu dish.
Leave some space for desserts as they are delicious and will please every sweet tooth. A chocolate addict? Get the Warm Chocolate Cake and you will be soothed. Missing a bit France on the menu? Then get a Trio of Cremes Brulees and your francofile self will be pleased. Feeling for something lighter? Get some ice cream. Matcha Green Tea, Coconut and Sesame are my favorites and the sorbets are refreshing.
Drinks: The wine list is vibrant as the restaurant’s scene itself. For the party goers a bottle of champagne such as my ‘Buddha favourite’ – The “Rare” by Charles Heidsieck; will sparkle the evening right from its start. The choice of French wines is wide – from Alsace and its spicy white wines ideal with Asian food; to highly priced Burgundies and Bordeaux. We often get here a Gewurtztraminer or a Riesling from Alsace. Once we tried an intensely fruity and concentrated Bandol and it worked well with a Wagyu Beef but not with any fish dish as it was too rich. A half bottle selection is also satisfactory (as the Bordeaux wine above), so you can experiment and pair the dishes with the wines. Since, most of the dishes are on the share basis and diners tend to order a multiple dishes at once I would recommend ordering two wines at once as well and drink them as you feel with each dish as it gets to your table.
Daily dinner only from 7pm – Bar open till 2am, during big events all night.
+377 98 06 19 19
Place du Casino, 98000 Monaco.