Italian and French cuisines meet in Monaco
TEXT: KIKI DEERE | PHOTOS © RAMPOLDI
Lying off Monte Carlo’s Place du Casino, Rampoldi has been serving Italian cuisine with a French twist since 1946.
“The menu reflects the principality’s history and its connection with both Italy and France. I like to define our cuisine as ‘monagesque’,” explains executive chef Antonio Salvatore. Born and raised in Italy’s Basilicata region, which forms the instep of the peninsula’s ‘boot’, Chef Salvatore grew up surrounded by accomplished home cooks, namely his mother and grandmother. “The sweet aroma of bubbling ragù wafting up the stairwell from our grandmother’s flat, the smell of wine along the streets, women hard at work making fruit or tomato conserve…” reminisces Salvatore, as he fondly recalls childhood memories about food.
Chef Salvatore’s cuisine is an ode to traditional Italian food. He carefully selects simple, top-quality ingredients sourced from the French Riviera and nearby Italy, which lies less than half an hour’s drive away. Mozzarella is sourced from a small artisan farm in Campania, fish and seafood are from Italy’s Ligurian coast as well as France’s Côte d’Azur, while chicken is exclusively ‘poulet de Bresse’, a prized breed of white chickens from France that have ‘appellation d’origine contrôlée’ status.
Photo: Natalia Salvatore
The extensive menu, which features over 60 dishes, has been designed to satisfy the most discerning palates while also providing plenty of choice to patrons, many of whom are repeat customers who dine here a few times a week. The menu features the likes of royal crayfish salad with avocado tartare and citrus; foie gras terrine with red onions, fig jam and homemade bread; and homemade tagliatelle with slow braised beef-cheek ragù. Desserts and pastries are all made in-house, while coffee is imported from a micro-roastery in Naples.
“My aim is to create simple, tasty cuisine that customers can enjoy in a refined yet laidback setting,” explains Salvatore. With red mirrored walls adorned with portraits of celebrities that once frequented Monaco’s casino, the interiors exude a warm, welcoming feel, while an open-air terrace provides the perfect setting for an al fresco meal. The intimate ambiance continues in the basement, where a cigar lounge equipped with personal safes allows customers to unwind and safely store cigars; an adjacent lounge area can be rented out for private events.
Customers wishing to take home a taste of Rampoldi can stock up on Italian produce, including olive oil and pasta, sold in pretty packaging that makes for the perfect gift for friends back home.