Cipriani restaurant in Monaco is not a fine dining establishment, yet is as fancy as it gets in Monte-Carlo.
The sleek interior is designed to evoke a luxurious yacht. At Cipriani in Monte-Carlo, the investor Flavio Briatore bashes his F1 racing wealth on the wall posters of the luxurious restaurant as visually loudly as do the fashionably clad ladies joining their affluent dining partners. I admit, I always over-dress up too to fit in.
From Venice to Monte-Carlo in style
Cipriani started as the Venetian to-be-seen venue originally known as the Harry’s Bar. Branching out around the world, the high-end Italian restaurant chain adopted the last name of its owner Giuseppe Cipriani. Today, the family’s fourth generation is in charge of this global restaurant empire. Its latest addition to the family album is its fanciest embodiment.
The food was rather disappointing during my first visit early after the opening. For the very high price tag (for simple Italian cuisine) one expects perfection. My second dinner there about a year later proved that Cipriani in Monaco can cook simple Italian food well.
From the solid appetisers I recommend the Burrata with tomatoes and basil. This raw dish is purely about the freshest and high-quality ingredients, and that was managed at Cipriani with excellence. The Asparagus with goats cheese is nice but boring. The raw Artichoke with parmesan shavings, after mixing the parmesan in, was decadent. I also like the Octopus salad. Fresh, the seafood was tender, not chewy as it can happen with the tentacular sea beast.
Some of the main courses were not good during my first visit. The Veal Escalope (Milanese style) was very dry. For such a classic dish this was a major disappointment delaying our next visit at Cipriani restaurant in Monaco until we heart from the fellow locals that it mended its misdeeds. Our numerous subsequent meals were solid, the Veal Milanese was much better; tender, juicy and tasteful. My sister got sick once after she ordered the Sepia with the black ink and polenta, a huge plate of black ink and just too little of the corn polenta. The local Mediterranean fish is sometimes grilled just right, no excess oil and very fresh, other times it was too dry. Forget the bitter and boring side salad served with it.
If there was one reason you should come to Cipriani, then it would be the pastas – they are cooked al dente mostly according to traditional recipes and taste simply heavenly! I tried the Seafood Spaghetti and could not stop adding more to my plate. The waiter serves you a little from a hot dish and then leaves it next to you so you can eat as much as you can. It looks like a huge portion, but you will probably end up eating the whole thing, how good it is.
The service is mostly crisp, elegantly white bow-dressed, yet casually nonchalant and efficient. Not spotless. Once, I was given my sister’s appetiser and main course – fine at a pizzeria around the corner, but not at Cipriani known for its impeccable service.
The dolci (deserts) selection is fashioned around on a tray. It looks good. Mostly cakes of rather international character than purely Italian, but a tiramisu fits in. We got a slice of a flabby creamy cake, boring enough that one spoon was sufficient.
Aperitivo, cappuccino in a chic Cipriani style
The members of the Cipriani Club have an access to a private bar and terrace upstairs. The rest of us can have a drink at the restaurant’s corner bar by the entrance. An aperitivo is a must at a true Italian establishment. We have ordered Bellini, a cocktail made of Prosecco and peach puree, the perfect start to the evening.
The wine list is prevailingly Italian. Ordering Antinori’s white Chardonnay is a safe bet, not a cheap option. A bit oaky to my palate, resembling New World Chardonnays but it went well with our food. More indigenous Italian varietals should appear on the overpriced wine list.
My cappuccino was a disaster! At a vending machine in Milano’s subway I get a better deal. The foam was full of air holes and the coffee too strong for a cappuccino, more like the French powerful roast that I dislike. Oh la la, what a faux-pas!
Visits: Between July 2012 & September 2019
Daily 7pm – midnight;
+377 93 25 42 50
1, Avenue Princesse Grace, 98000 Monte Carlo, Monaco