Review: restaurant Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse, Monte Carlo

In my previous post I wrote about my short but sweet time in Monaco and how one of the highlights was my meal at Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse. The meal was truly exceptional and quite memorable, certainly top 5 dining experiences and most definitely worth the journey to Monaco.

Le Louis XV is located inside the Hotel De Paris at the heart of Monte Carlo right next to the Casino Monte Carlo. Prince Rainier III of Monaco personally tapped Alain Ducasse to open and run a restaurant in Monte Carlo and asked him to earn 3 Michelin Stars within 4 years of opening. The restaurant opened in 1987 and within 2 years it earned the 3 stars, becoming the first Hotel-based restaurant to win the coveted 3 stars, and has won it every year since. It is considered Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant and some say it is his personal favorite. These days however, I feel its his other restaurants that seem to get more attention, as one would almost think that the original Alain Ducasse experience in France is at his restaurant in Paris.

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Dining room ceiling

Alain Ducasse himself is often regarded as the contemporary Godfather of French Cuisine. Pioneering a new wave movement of French cooking and culinary techniques and many of today’s best chefs have all trained under his eyes, including Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana. For me personally, I think its awesome that he curates the Air France first class lounge menu and First Class onboard menu exit Paris.

Reservations was very straight forward and hassle-free. I went to their website by ways of Hotel de Paris’ website, Alain Ducasse’s website doesnt seem to have a working link to Le Louis XV. I just selected my date, and lunch or dinner and available times appeared, and I selected 1PM. Lunch service begins at 12PM and last last seating can be done at 1:45PM as the kitchen closes at 2PM. There is no credit card guarantee needed, which is excellent for last minute plans, communication was great and the confirm by email the day before, and when I ran into flight delays and had to scramble to see if they would hold my 1pm, they were very responsive. You do have to book at least 48 hours out however, as within 24 hours even if there are spots, I believe they close off online booking. Jackets are required for dinners in the winter season, but is highly recommended at other times, I say bring and wear the jacket, its fitting of the grand dining room. If its too much of a hassle, I say definitely bare minimum business casual.

If you want to experience the food but not overly splurge on the regular tasting menu, I  would say lunch is the time to go as they offer a 4-course “business” lunch tasting menu for 165Euros (+30Euros for wine pairing). This was my original plan, but upon entering the newly restored main dining room which reopened in December 2018, and being greeted by the smiling, welcoming and professional staff, and looking through the lunch tasting and the regular menus, I decided to go big and do the regular ‘Gourmet” Tasting Menu at 360 Euro plus 3 glass a la carte wine pairing (chosen by the Sommelier). Note they also have a Vegetarian “Jardin de Provence” tasting menu at 240 Euro. Note a la carte items range in price from 30Euro (cheese) to 166 Euro (caviar), all main course a la carte items are 100++Euro. Which is why in my opinion at the end you are better off doing the tasting menu even if the portions are about 2/3 or half of the regular a la carte portion.

Was it worth it in the end? Absolutely.

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Dining room

My lunch lasted for around 2.5 hours but it was the best of 2.5 hours. Every dish from start to finish packed in balance, complexity, subtlety and pure refinement. Nothing overly complicated or molecular I would say, just excellent technique and understanding of ingredients and natural flavors of the region. Further, the service is incredible. There is a smooth flow and rhythm to the meal service and they have it down to the nail, albeit at the start its overwhelming when you have 4 different staff coming with different things (towel, menu, beverage…etc.). But they were attentive, warm, smiling, not judgmental or pretentious and very willing to go above and beyond. I was alone and after I settled in, I was asked if I wanted magazines, books or a newspaper to read between courses and then after the first course the Matre’D came and gifted me a copy of Les Grandes Tables du Monde 2019 food guide as both a gift and reading material. As far as I could tell no one else received this.

 

The Meal

The table setting

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Vegetable flat bread, so good, the veggies are toasted into the bread and its amazing

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Olive oil flatbread, this one was just ok

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Vegetable wraps with olive jam

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Pouring the broth over the stones to steam the fish

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Beautifully steamed fish

Steamed fish on rocks, there was tuna with olive, mackerel with lemon, cuttlefish with tomato, mullet with basil (pesto), sea bream, all cooked perfectly

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Country bread with Brittany butter, olive oil, regional sea salt and Malaysian pepper

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Provence is known for Rose, 2017 Cotes De Provence Domain Gavoty

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Chilled shellfish and chickpeas with “iodine-scented taste”
Chickpea puree with shellfish, shellfish juice and pesto and citrus. The best dish of the lunch, so subtle and balanced, the chickpea puree brought out the natural sweetness of the shellfish without the overly salty seawater taste, the juice was sea like but the pesto balanced it out with its natural earthiness. A song of Earth and Sea on the palette.

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Steamed green asparagus, ewe’s curd, and charred lemon and cream herb lemon sauce. Sweet, tart, and balanced. Im fairly sure this is the best green asparagus dish I’ve had, I cant even imagine what the kitchen cooks up during white asparagus season.

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2015 Domaine J. M. Boillot Puligny Montrachet, amazing creamy, full bodied white wine

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Was gifted the Les Grandes Tables du Monde 2019 food guide as both a gift and reading material.

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Coastal Turbot in natural form, green peas, squid, nasturtium, scampi, onion and potato. Also delicious and full of textures. Smooth creaminess of turbot, slightly chewy squid, crunchy and juicy peas.

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2014 J.M Boillot Pommard, excellent red wine

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Milk-fed lamb in the fireplace, red leaf salad, small spelt, with lamb sauce. So good, absolutely no lamb taste, so juicy and tender, melt in your mouth lamb.

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Bacon bread

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Rhubarb pear and ginger sherbert

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Cheese cart

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Selection of rich and smooth cheese, cow and sheep. The best was goat cheese topped with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Chestnut and hazelnut cracker for cheese

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Rose water finger wash

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Rum selection to pour over Alain Ducasse’s signature Rum Baba dessert. Asked for something complex, they recommended the Vintage Rum from Martinique

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Pouring the rum

With extra rum to pour or drink and vanilla cream, I was hesitant to shot the rest of the rum thinking this was too classy an establishment but the waiter was like that is too good of rum to waste, and he was right.

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Making Rosemary and Thyme tea from the fresh herb tea cart, he recommended it for after a big meal

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Showing me the vintage 2006 Pu-Er (costs extra, not sure how much as I didnt ask).

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Candied almonds

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Selection of Alain Ducasse chocolates

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Dark Chocolate ganache, Almond dark chocolate

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my herbal tea

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Japanese citrus yuzu sorbet

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My menu with the petit Fours in the background I forgot to take pictures of.
Lemon stuffed with lemoncello, kumquat with ginger and honey, lemon candy and raspberry citrus powder pepper

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Kitchen

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Menus without the extensive wine book:

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Business lunch tasting
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Regular Le louis XV menu

 

Suffice to say, a wonderful and memorable meal that was worth every penny and every step of the journey it took to get here. Would 100% consider coming back in the future.

 

Bon Apetite!

TheGastronomicTraveler

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