I write about fashion, food, travel and lifestyle.
URBAN OASIS AT MADA ONE
MONTE CARLO’S CONTEMPORARY-STYLE NEWCOMER, MADA ONE, DISHES UP AN ULTRA-FRESH SELECTION OF HAUTE CUISINE SNACKS, PREPARED SALADS, TEA TIME PLATTERS, COCKTAILS AND DIVINE DESSERTS, DREAMED UP BY MICHELIN-STARRED CHEF MARCEL RAVIN, WHOSE NATIVE CARIBBEAN FLAVORS ADD A ZINGY PUNCH TO HEALTHY MEDITERRANEAN FARE.
“TELL ME WHAT YOU eat and I will tell you what you are,” famously wrote 18th-century French gastronome, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. That still rings true these days, especially when it comes to the conundrum of choosing a lunch spot in Monaco with a client whose taste may vary from gluten-free bread and vegetarian salads to beef tartare with a glass of Pomerol to wash it down.
If you have no time for a 3-course meal, no patience for sluggish service, and dislike being greeted with a stern warning that the kitchen closes at 2 p.m. sharp, then Mada One, opened in March, offers an innovative alterative. Set back from the humming Casino Square, on the street level of the shopping complex at One Monte-Carlo, this stylish affordable “snackonomic” eatery serves up a flavorful mix of dishes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., featuring an ever-changing seasonal menu of gourmet goodies (think breakfast, lunch, tea and cocktails), plus a counter of freshly-baked breads, pastries and prettily packaged take-away dishes.
Equally, the decor—a spacious apricot and cream-colored 50-seat dining area with a bustling open kitchen and a 60-seat palm-shaded garden terrace—bears little resemblance to a “mall restaurant.”
Masterminded by Martinique-born Michelin-starred chef, Marcel Ravin, who helms the Blue Bay restaurant at the Monte Carlo Bay & Resort, the name “Mada” was inspired by a mix of “Madame” and “Madiana” (the mythical island) in Creole, and the surrounding sprawl of One’s exclusive women’s designer boutiques. “For me, the concept was to provide a rainbow of healthy snacks that follow the rhythms of the day by inventing new ways to reflect the cultural blend of my own Caribbean and Monegasque identity,” says Ravin, who moved to the Principality in 2005.
Among the numerous lunch options are a mix-and-match of tasty starters and main dishes—soup, salads, fish, pasta or meat, plus dessert—served on a Bento tray (“like an Asian business platter”, says Ravin, who designed everything from the restaurant’s glazed earthenware to the logo).
The daily specials— a combo of two or three dishes (€26, €32) are the speediest options; carnivores with hearty appetites may opt for the organic Black Angus BLT burger topped with truffle-spiked Pecorino and spicy Calypso sauce (€28). “I also wanted to offer vegetarian dishes that use no animal fat, like a blanquette of vegetables with soy cream,” adds the chef. Even the vodka-based “Peas N’Love” cocktail (€14), infused with pea purée, vanilla and strawberry, is good for you.
Another novelty is the red and white Munegu (which means both “Monegasque” and “the people’s taste” in Creole), a brioche-like cake filled with raspberry jam, lemon zests and anise seeds, to be shared amongst colleagues.
If you prefer breakfast meetings, there are four copious options (American, Continental Healthy, Asian, from €10-€20) or graze on avocado Mada Toasts (€10) heaped with chicken eggs, spinach or pastrami. For anyone looking to kick-start their day: Ravin’s signature Tchôk (“a violent punch” in Creole), is a mouthwatering fusion of fruit, fromage blanc and crumbled pie crust, all mixed up in a glass.
And conveniently—if you’re negotiating the deal of the century, everything on Mada One’s menu is a moveable feast that can be boxed up and savored in the privacy of your office.
Open Monday to Saturday, Mada One is located street level at One Monte-Carlo.
+377 98 66 68 68
Lanie Goodman Contributor
Born and raised in New York, Lanie Goodman is an arts and travel writer based in the south of France since 1988. She is a contributor to publications such as T-Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveller and Departures, and the author of Romantic French Homes . Formerly a Professor of French Literature at CUNY, she teaches courses in journalism and cinema at the SKEMA at Sophia-Antipolis. Lanie covers arts , travel and lifestyle at Forbes Monaco.