Gaia Monte Carlo opened in August 2019, one year after its sibling in Dubai. And the Greek restaurant immediately made headlines for its combination of authentic taverna fare and upmarket setting.
The menu reminds us that the ancient fertility goddess Gaia presided over the fruitfulness of earth and sea. You certainly feel her presence in the wide-ranging menu, that takes us from the humblest spanakopita and ‘choriatiki’ salad to a tender 400g of Wagyu ribeye, and everything in between.
Here in Monaco’s Metropole arcade the enjoyment of beautifully-prepared good food is high on the agenda. It’s worth adding that the delicacy of preparation and presentation is the one element that money can’t buy. And the investment of head chef Izu Ani and his chef-de-cuisine, the Peloponnese-born Orestis Kotefas, really pays off.
The call of the sea
Above all it’s the seafood that transports the diner from Monte Carlo to the shores of the Aegean. We recommend the carpaccio of smoked tuna with black truffle dressing (€28) or the grilled octopus with fava puree (€22) and the spaghetti with lobster bisque and cherry tomato sauce (€58), all of them prepared with real love. For the main course, your choice of whole fish baked, grilled or en croute, represents probably the best value in this high-end restaurant.
A glass of the warm south
The extensive 20-page wine list is designed for the afternoon conoisseur, served by the glass at €9 with bottles starting at €50. At the top end – with prices per bottle in the high hundreds of euros – are some stellar French numbers including a Chateau Margaux 2006 1er Grand Cru and a Chateau Yquem from 2006 that seems a partner destined for the Greek yogurt, walnuts, honey and loukoumi.
It’s not cheap. A simple snack of a classic tiropita and a glass of 2018 Mantinia moschofilero comes in at just under €40, but the wealth of flavours, expertise and the sheer experience of the setting (inspired more by Aphrodite than Gaia) make it worth every centime.
Images © Gaia