Le Louis XV
When the restaurant opened in May 1987, a young Ducasse made a promise to Prince Rainier: in less than four years he would earn for Monaco three Michelin stars, the highest distinction in the culinary world. And in 1990, this recognition came to the man who describes himself as a “sentinel of taste” and who investigates, season after season, new techniques, products, tastes and flavors.
“I’m a happy cook,” says Ducasse. “My inspiration comes from a combination of flavors from southwestern France, where I grew up, and the Mediterranean, that seduced me at an early age, but the cook in me still has a great deal of curiosity. My roots drive me, but they do not hold me down.”
With 28 restaurants worldwide, Ducasse has devoted his knowledge of the region to Le Louis XV, located in the center of luxury and glamour of the French Riviera, close to Switzerland and Italy. However, Monaco is more than that, it is at once a seafaring country and a land of excellent farmers and mushroom pickers, commodities that are at the heart of the restaurant’s seasonal dishes, since the menu takes into account the daily market offerings.
Some of its specialties are the Pan-Bagnat, made from a traditional olive oil focaccia; the pigeon breast or the baby lamb from the south of the Alps; the mullets from Monaco’s bay, and the star dessert: the crunchy praline. Its sauces and dressings often include hazelnuts from Piedmont, Liguria sweet olives and citrus from Menton, the small French town on the border with Italy.
With its legendary decor, which emulates the Palace of Versailles, Le Louis XV has a very special area called l’Aquarium, a small dining room for four guests, where glass walls allow the diners to observe the daily creative process of the Ducasse team: 25 chefs and apprentices led by chef Dominique Lory, who heads the kitchen after working four years with the master at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.
Free of artifice or unnecessary eccentricity, many are the sensations experienced at this restaurant, also famous for its wine cellar of more than 350,000 carefully selected bottles. “The volume of the cellar is based on quality, not quantity,” says Noël Bajor, the restaurant’s sommelier. “It is an exciting treasure hunt that guides us through the different wine regions from all over the world.” ■