It’s not easy to find good, reasonably-priced places to go out after work in Monaco, especially in the Monte-Carlo neighbourhood where plenty of offices are located, unless you are willing to break the bank! But I recently discovered Valentin, a wine bar and restaurant and a little gem of a place hidden in the heart of Monte Carlo, just behind the Allées Lumière bus stop at the back of the mini shopping centre opposite the tourist office.
Opened in 2012 by Pier and Simona, a couple of passionate Italian restaurateurs who used to run a hotel-restaurant in the village of Triora just across the border in Liguria, it’s a great place for a quick and reasonable lunch if you are working in Monaco, with a new “plat du jour” every day.
But I found what really makes it stand out is the heart of the place. It’s open on Thursday and Friday evenings for the aperitivo and despite Pier being Italian, you will hardly find any Italian wine. Indeed, Pier is a massive French wine connoisseur and you’ll be able to taste some fantastic vintages from Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Bordeaux and other excellent wine-producing regions. When I visited last week, I was given a blind tasting and enjoyed a delicious Bellet wine as well as a very unusual wine from the south-west of France. If it’s not too busy, Pier will take some time out and chat with you about the latest wines he has tried out and that you can find in his bar.
The cuisine is also more French-leaning than Italian, always with a limited menu of the day but with delicious fresh products: the family-run atmosphere also runs in the cooking, so check out their Facebook page for the daily speciality which varies from wild boar stew to a large, juicy beef prime rib.
The cosy decoration, full of wine bottles and wood, really makes you feel at home and epitomises the true French Riviera, with both French and Italian influences.
All in all, I can heartily recommend this place that has understandably developed a very loyal customer base over time thanks to the heart, soul and energy that the owners put into make their clients feel special. I can certainly sympathise, given my past as a hotel owner and my desire to do the same with my clients… Make sure you book, especially if you’re coming at lunch time as it gets very busy. You can also organise private events there on certain evenings by prior arrangement, I attended a delicious wine tasting there this week.
Le Valentin, 27 avenue de la Costa, MC98000 Monaco.
Tel: +377 93 50 60 00
Open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch and also for aperitivo/dinner (from 6.30pm onwards) on Thursdays and Fridays. Website on this link.
Important disclaimer: this restaurant review, like all restaurant reviews and recommendations on the French Riviera Blog, is totally independent. Any sponsored links are clearly indicated as such on the blog to avoid any ambiguity. If there are any restaurant owners who would like me to review their establishment, please get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to visit – if I enjoy the meal, I’ll write a review.