Well, ok. This is not exactly Italy, but I hope you’ll forgive me, considering that Mirazur is no more than 50 meters from the Italian border, and the chef owner (Mauro Colagrego) is Italian/Argentinian. I will also add that he will be one of the four judges of the Italian version of the TV program “Top Chef”.
As usual, the 2016 edition of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant award has not brought significant achievements for France, and our cousins beyond the alps (how we call them) didn’t take that very well, because they still consider themselves the keepers of haute cuisine in the whole world. However the reaction was tragicomic: with the endorsement from the government they invented “la liste“, a list based on a scientific algorhytm, whose results are much more appreciated. Too bad the winning chef committed suicide just after a few days (obviously for independent reasons), casting a macabre shadow over all the operation.
I’ve expressed some doubts on the World’s 50 best too in my Italian language blog, but I can agree that the world is not looking at France as the homeland of gastonomic avant-garde, since the attention has been focused firstly on northern Europe and then on Italy, or at least this is what I hope ;-).
The highest ranked French restaurant is the aforementioned Mirazur in Menton, a place where the Italian imprinting is actually strong, and that has recently reached 10 years of operation. We’re far from the concept of the Parisian luxury restaurants: the dining room is a quite bare octagon, with a nice view on the city’s harbour and no space for opulence or excess. The mise-en-place is undoublty original: half of the tables with long cloths and the other half showing the bare wood.
Colagreco’s sources of inspiration (sea, mountain and orchard… pratically everything) are well represented in the most extensive tasting menu (10 courses at 140€, a lower price than the others equally starred restaurants in zone). I found the beacons of excellence in dishes with classic approach: firstly the Grouper with Bernaise sauce, where French cuisine inspiration is manifest, but also in a pig’s tail with impeccable soft-crunchy consistences and finally in a pigeon with wild strawberries.
More creative twists sometime stick up one’s nose, like the incomprehensible tortellini stuffed with almond in smoked broth, or an anonymous squid with Bagna Cauda (typical dipping sauce from Piedmont made of garlic and anchovies). The two salads tasted (green beans and cabbage) are really worth mentioning instead, as they showed remarkable mastery in the use of vegetables.
Since I consider World’s 50 Best quite playfully, I don’t want to get into the adeguacy of the position in the list. We are surely talking about a really interesting eatery, run by a technically proficient chef that maybe should evaluate more deeply some of his creations before presenting them to the customers. Despite this, we are in front of one of the best places where to eat in Côte d’Azur.
Prices (June 2016)
Main courses: 49€
Tasting menus: 85-140-210€
30 Avenue Aristide Briand
Tel. +33 4 188.8.131.52
Closed on Monday and Tuesday