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Le Louis XV, Monte Carlo

Hôtel de Paris
Place du Casino
Monte Carlo
Monaco 98000
Tel: 377 98 06 88 64,251.html's insider take:

The mystique of Alain Ducasse is explained here at the epicenter of his empire, the spot where he reaped the first three of his constellation of Michelin stars. It goes without saying the rooms are the most opulent imaginable, all warm and glowing and Louis Quinzey, and that diners are treated with egalitarian generosity—it's the service that enables it to hold onto that third star. It also goes without saying that the maestro isn't at the stove—that's the domain of chef de cuisine Franck Cerutti, a (near to) Nice native who's been working closely with Ducasse for years and shares his sensibility and skill. One slightly surprising aspect of the menus here is the presence of peasanty dishes secreted among the foie gras and Osetra and Breton blue lobster. A stew of stockfish tripe, poached salt cod and Perugina sausage, for instance, is pure Monegasque, albeit exquisitely evolved and featuring elements from Nice, Scandinavia, and Umbria. A squab breast—to pick another all-but random example—is just as involved and high-low, the pigeon from La Motte du Caire in the Alpes de Haute-Provence has its juices thickened the old-fashioned way with its liver, heart, blood, and a drop of vinegar, then it's served with potatoes in duck fat. Of course it costs a fortune, but if the troops don't provide an experience to remember forever, they've failed and you should e-mail messrs Michelin, Gault-Millau et al forthwith.

Open Thursdays through Mondays 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. and 8 to 9:30 p.m. from December 29th to February 11th and February 28 through November 27th. (Open dinner only Wednesdays June-August).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.