Tables at the Casino are for more than just gaming.
Access to Le Salon Rose feels a little like being a protagonist in a movie who struts through a storefront to get to an eatery hidden in the back for a private tête-à-tête.
Except, as this is Monaco, you walk across Salle Europe in the gilded Monte Carlo Casino (which has just been voted Best Casino 2020) and turn right to get to the très discreet Salon Rose, once a literary salon.
The Salon Rose was renovated in 2011 and features alcoves, pearled ornaments and an allegorical depiction by Italian painter Massimiliano Gallelli (there’s also an attractive sea-facing terrace). The room dates back to 1903 when then casino owner Camille Blanc commissioned the room for gamblers needing a nicotine fix, as smoking was prohibited in the gaming rooms at the turn of the 20th century (something about a shady croupier letting his ashes drop on the floor).
Today, from the restaurant’s open kitchen, head chef Thierry Saez- Manzanares, who also runs the Casino’s dinner-only Train Bleu, lays all his cards on the table offering mouthwatering semi-gastronomic courses, ridiculously generous portions and reasonable prices.
Ordering a starter such as a Caesar salad with chicken and bacon (€20) or Peking duck noodle soup (€19) can easily serve as a main, but it’s a gamble not to try the seabass entrée served with chermoula sauce and sautéed spinach, one of the top three fish dishes I’ve ever tasted.
Open year round, in addition to the extensive à la carte menu (which includes vegan options), there are three lunch menus: Poker (€20) starter or pasta plus a glass of wine, Black Jack (€33) main and dessert, or if you can manage three courses, the Roulette (€46). Along with the unstuffy service and privacy in a seductive red and white setting, you simply can’t lose at Le Salon Rose.
As much as I was wholly under- whelmed by lunch served at two of SBM’s other eateries, the Grill and ÖMER (both located at the Hotel de Paris), Salon Rose tips the review scale to absolutely fabulous. And getting there is half the fun.