Chef Simona Pastor and her wine expert husband, Pierpaolo Aimo, make a formidable couple at their traditional family restaurant at 27 ave de la Costa – Valentin.
This discreet lunch venue, which seats 60, is no secret to Monegasques or those working in the Principality, but it will most likely be a new address for others on the Riviera.
Tucked away inside Park Palace, in the very heart of Monaco’s Carré d’Or, Valenetin is dedicated to healthy, simple and inventive dishes.
When to go
Open Monday to Friday, from 7 am to 6 pm, lunch reservations are a must (+377 93 50 60 00) – but there’s also a takeaway option at €4 less per item.
On Friday evenings, Valentin transforms into a wine bar until 9: 30 pm, with dégustations of homemade delicacies, perfect for an after-work apéro.
What to order
Simona and Pierpaolo live by the words: “Rester simple.” (Keep it simple.) This is reflected in their menu, which changes daily, depending on the arrivage of fresh farm products from around Monaco and Ventimiglia, meaning that each dish is organic and made from scratch every day (you won’t find a freezer here).
Valentin is famous for its wild boar civet (stew), which I highly recommend during the winter season, as well as for a variety of ever-changing mains (grilled sea bass fillet and sweet and sour smoked cabbage, €21) and pastas (paccheri with white speck Bolognese and red onion, €20). There’s also a soup of the day, like cream of turnips, with pan-fried carrots and cumin, and a compose du jour – try the spicy beef Samosa with mozzarella, fleur de lait and sautéed vegetable and served with a salad (€19 includes a salad). There’s a choice of excellent desserts, too.
What to drink
Don’t forget to ask for Pierpaolo for some wine suggestions (hint: his favourite is from the Bourgogne region), not only is he a genuine connoisseur but you will certainly learn some French from him, too.
With Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, what could be more romantic than a meal shared at this “small Italian restaurant in the heart of Monaco and its people”?
Monaco Insider, Gabrielle Darricarrere, is Editor of Riviera Quality Life, a site offering information about the Riviera (rivieraqualitylife.com or facebook.com/RivieraQualityLife). Article first published on February 10, 2018.