Elsa opening launches Monte-Carlo Beach into season with promise of new experiences

Elsa monte-carlo beach

Beachside restaurant Elsa has reopened under the command of acclaimed two-star Chef Marcel Ravin. Meanwhile, the appointment of René Blino as the new general manager signals a strategic move to steer the cherished Monte-Carlo Beach towards the future, all while safeguarding its rich heritage.

With the holding of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finale last weekend, the Monte-Carlo Beach charged back to life, its terraces filled with sun-seeking locals and travelling tennis enthusiasts who all mark this busy weekend in April as the start of ‘the season’ in Monaco. 

The Monte-Carlo Beach is unlike anything else in the Principality or beyond its borders. Situated at the very eastern end of Monaco, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to be exact, the idyllic boutique hotel boasts the largest private beach in Monaco, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a protected bird sanctuary encompassing the oasis of La Vigie. 

The Elsa restaurant and its “marine garden”

As the saying goes, “Don’t mess with success”, and Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) is certainly making the most of the talents of their Michelin two-starred Chef Marcel Ravin. 

Two-starred Chef Marcel Ravin is taking over the Elsa kitchen this season. Photo source: Monte-Carlo SBM

In addition to the new-look Blue Bay Marcel Ravin** at the nearby Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, the highly awarded Caribbean chef has now taken over the kitchen at Elsa, with the iconic beachside institution serving as a new outlet for his wildly imaginative and incredibly artistic mind. It is a strategic decision by Monte-Carlo SBM to regain the Michelin star that it lost a few years back.

After being awarded the Prize for Ethical and Environmental Responsibility by La Liste in 2023, Elsa continues its commitment to using carefully sourced products chosen with respect for the environment and animal welfare. The kitchen favours fresh produce from sustainable fishing sources, certified by the Mr. Goodfish label, and fresh farm ingredients from Domaine d’Agerbol, located in the sunny heights of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Chef Marcel Ravin’s ‘sea spider’. Photo by Monaco Life

Here at Elsa, Chef Marcel Ravin creates a delicate harmony of sea and land, a “marine garden”, as he describes it. Among the dishes are the ‘sea spider’ with white asparagus and Menton yuzu, kiwi fruit and fennel; marinière fish with flying fish roe and green asparagus; confit lobster with oil made from its barbecued shell; free range chicken cooked in a sand and porcini mushroom crust; and melt-in-your-mouth wagyu steak cooked on hot stone pebbles served with samphire. 

Elsa boasts a gastronomic experience that is as ethical as it is delectable, featuring light and fresh dishes that harmonise perfectly with its surroundings.

René Blino at the helm of Monte-Carlo Beach

In January 2024, René Blino took up the role of general manager of Monte-Carlo Beach when Danièle Garcelon retired after more than two decades on the job. 

René Blino has taken over as general manager of the Monte-Carlo Beach. Photo by Monaco Life

Blino has an extensive background in the luxury hotel sector, including the Shanghai-La in South Asia, the Hôtel Madame Rêve in Paris, the Hôtel Barrière les Neiges in Courchevel and the Hôtel Barrière Le Gray d’Albion in Cannes.

This compilation of past experiences, Blino tells Monaco Life, has prepared him well for managing the diverse offerings at Monte-Carlo Beach, which include the hotel, the private beach, Le Deck restaurant overlooking the swimming pool, Club La Vigie – which will soon open for romantic nights – the chic new Maona perched on the nearby coastline, and of course, the gastronomic restaurant Elsa.

Related: See it for yourself – the deliciously retro Maona Monte-Carlo launches to huge applause

René Blino affirms that he has no intention of rewriting the success story of this iconic institution, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in five short years. 

“Monte-Carlo Beach is an iconic hotel, with guests who think of it as a second home,” says Blino. “I have spent these past couple of days listening to them, getting to know the DNA of this hotel, because my objective is not to change everything, it is to capitalise on the past and go the extra mile moving forward, and be ready for the 100 year anniversary in 2029.”

René Blino says his job is to find the right balance between the expectations of this loyal clientele and the trends of the luxury food and beverage industry.

Monte-Carlo Beach, photo by Monaco Life

“Normally, as a general manager, the idea is that your experiences will create your clientele, but here in Monaco, your clientele create the experiences. And the clients here are stunning,” says Blino. “We have 250 local families here in Monaco and they have quite an emotional connection to the hotel through the generations. I need to observe that, to feel that, so that every action I make will be relevant. You need to be smart sometimes and step back and understand the DNA of a place like Monte-Carlo Beach. I think at the end of the season, I will have a clearer plan of what we can do for the next few years.”

Season openings to follow

Following the opening of Elsa, as well as The Deck restaurant and the Beach Club, the funky new Maona Monte-Carlo, launched in 2023, will swing open its doors on 23rd May, just in time for Grand Prix weekend.

Then, Club La Vigie will follow on 30th May. But the 2024 version is evolving with a new restaurant and new daytime experiences. Pascal Garrigues, Executive Chef of Monte-Carlo Beach, will take over the restaurant’s kitchen to offer two summer versions of his Mediterranean cuisine: grilled meats and catch of the day for lunch, and a more sophisticated menu in the evening to accompany a live musical trio.

See more in our Instagram video below…


‘New’ Restaurant: The metamorphosis of Blue Bay Marcel Ravin


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Main photo source: Monte-Carlo SBM