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16 January 2013

Dinner at Monaco's Hotel Hermitage

Belle Epoque style at Hotel Hermitage
I had the fortunate experience of dining at the Hotel Hermitage in Monaco a few weeks ago. An example of "Belle Epoque" at its finest, the Hotel Hermitage sits just behind the Hotel de Paris and the Monte Carlo Casino.

I had a small flurry of butterflies as I tried to gracefully step out of the car and make my way into the grand entrance. The Hotel Hermitage was transformed into a luxurious hotel in 1900 complete with frescoes and a glass roof designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame. We passed by the Salle Belle Epoque which seemed to be hosting a cheesy Porsche convention group. We wandered along the long corridor to arrive at the Vistamar restaurant and were ushered into a private dining room where waiting staff kept appearing out of all sorts of doors.

The restaurant is known for its seafood so I chose a scallop and cep dish to start with. When it eventually came the scallops were very nice though I was surprised to find that the ceps were pickled adding a strange flavour to the dish. For my main course I chose the John Dory (St Pierre in French) which is usually a fish that does not require fancy dressings or sauces to stand out. The dish was disappointing as the fish was overdone and slightly cold. One of our group sent back his beef as it was too overdone and they then took half an hour to another dish back to him so we had all finished by the time he received his dish! The wine, however, was excellent to wash everything down with.  I suppose a few sips of Corton Charlamagne solves anything in life.  (Hmmm, I sense a new motto coming on!).

Overall, the decor and scenery were excellent, the wine list stunning, but I felt the food could have been better, especially considering how much my host must have been paying.  Still I feel very fortunate to have experienced a meal at the Hermitage.  A friend of a friend had a wedding up there. Now that must have been spectacular!

Have you visited any restaurants where your expectations were greater than what was served?


Having read so much about the Hermitage, I was particularly interested in your observations. I would love to visit to experience the beautiful décor and hopefully a more enjoyable meal than yours. John Dory would have been my choice too!

Sigh...I know, what a shame! But I had to be honest. I've yet to visit Louis XV, but that's supposed to be lovely. Robuchon is excellent in Hotel Metropole though!

I had a quick peek at your lovely blog - it is very stylish!

x Gertie

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