In Monaco, the 105-seat Bouchon Bistrot is a throwback to classic French cafe. There’s the traditional deep leather banquettes, wooden chairs, mirrors, large pane windows, a zinc bar, and the proverbial daily menu specials scratched on worn chalkboards. It’s all very perfect, located across the street from the Mediterranean Sea within walking distance to the Grimaldi Forum Monaco convention and exhibition center.
The menu is equally classic as the ambience would suggest, with almost every other diner ordering either the steak pommes frites or croque monsieur. Executive chef Thierry Paludetto has worked with Michelin-rated chefs such as Joel Robuchon at nearby Hotel Metropole, just up the hill by the casino, which is arguably the finest independent hotel in Monaco and the South of France.
As soon as you sit down at one of the tables picked up in antique markets throughout Paris, you start to relax and breathe a little slower. We arrived with a group for a one hour lunch and it lasted at least two. The waiter brought by another carafe of wine, some people came over to say hello, and then someone ordered a bunch of desserts.
That happens here. You tend to draw out lunch as long as possible, savoring the last piece of crunchy French bread waiting on a sarreguemines plate to be dipped into the last spoonfuls of French onion soup.
Yes it’s a cliche without remorse, and we love it.
In an era when everyone is focused on the latest event app and the ROI of social media, there’s something to be said for the ROI of a long lazy lunch at Bouchon Bistrot in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.