Restaurant opening: Loulou Pirate brings extraordinary seaside haven back to life

The hugely successful Loulou Group has brought its magic to one of Roquebrune’s most beloved institutions, Le Pirate, breathing new life into this stunning beachside location for a whole new generation of families to enjoy.

Reviving legendary locations is clearly the trend of 2023, and don’t we just love it!

Within a matter of days of SBM’s relaunch of Maona, the undisputed nightspot of the 1960s and 70s on the Larvotto Peninsula, came the opening of Loulou Pirate on Monday 10th July, an equally-renowned destination in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. It is as hidden as it is legendary, clinging to the rocks under the medieval Chateau de Roquebrune, and overlooking the aqua hues of the Mediterranean Sea.

Loulou Pirate has been completely restored and reinvigorated. Photo by Monaco Life

It is here where, also in the 1960s and 70s, Charles Albert Viale, aka ‘Le Pirate’, transformed a simple fisherman’s hut into an overexcited address where the likes of Franck Sinatra, Roger Moore, Brigitte Bardot, Jacques Chirac and even Prince Charles came to party the summer days and nights away.

Things are a little different now. For example, you won’t see celebrities straddling the house donkey or a half-naked pirate circling about the place. But the new owners are determined to keep that fun, celebratory spirit in the restored restaurant, welcoming all generations for a new all-inclusive era of this legendary destination that sits between France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco.

Roger Moore at Le Pirate. Photo source: Loulou Group

The restaurant was purchased by brother-sister duo Gilles and Claire Malafosse, founders of the Loulou Groupe, who have already established successful restaurants in Paris, Ramatuelle and Val d’Isére. Here, at the legendary Pirate, they are instilling their signature values of elegance, simplicity and joie de vivre in everything from the décor and ambience to the menu and live music.

The restaurant features a number of enchanting sections, some bigger than others, a few that are particularly intimate for gatherings with family and friends, a handful of tables that are as close to the water as you can get, and others with the most breathtaking views of the sea.

And the breeze that drifts through here from the Mediterranean makes it the ultimate escape on these hot summer days.

Each section is as enchanting as the last. Photo by Monaco Life

The menu

Loulou cuisine is all about simplicity, locality and lightness, conceived by the very talented Executive Chef Benoit Gargère. They’ve also embraced the wonderful “sharing” trend, where plates are designed to be handed around the table for everyone to pick and choose at their delight.

Personally, I found the stand-outs on the menu – and we tried many – to be the fried calamari, the tuna crudo with anchovies, the sea bass ceviche, both pizzas – the marscapone with fresh truffle and the courgette flowers with Stracciatella – the whole roasted fish of the day, and the perfectly cooked octopus. Pasta and risotto fans are also well catered for, with the most deliciously-Italian themed dishes.

The desserts celebrate the sweetness of summer fruits and the palette-cleansing qualities of local Menton lemons.

Room with a view. Photo source: Loulou Group

The cocktails are also designed for the spectacularly bright setting. Refreshing ingredients like verjus, prickly pear purée, orange blossom and verbena dominate the cocktail menu, paired with smooth Ketel One vodka and the juniper-forward Tanqueray Gin.

Surprisingly, the menu is as affordable as it is tasty, with dishes on average set at around €30 each. For exotic ingredients like lobster and truffle, expect to pay a little more. But sharing platters, priced at around €65, can easily feed four when paired with other selections from the menu.

Roving bands and a resident DJ complete the exciting new experience at Loulou Pirate.

Seaside dining at its best. Photo source: Loulou Group

A new star is born

It’s clear that Gilles and Claire have revived something special here; they’ve breathed new life into a hideaway destination on the glorious French Riviera, a place where everyone can drink and eat until their heart’s content, then wander down to the pebbly beach and soak in more of the Mediterranean.

It’s no wonder that local legend Sammy Sass “jumped on board the Loulou train”, as he puts it, and invested in this extraordinary location.

The legendary Pirate certainly lives on… in the very bright spirit of Loulou.

Practical information:

Access is by tender or by car with valet service available.

Address: 46 Av. Winston Churchill, 06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Phone: +33 (0)4 12 05 00 90

Open July to October, 12pm to 3.30pm, 7pm to 11.30pm


See more of Loulou Pirate in Monaco Life’s Instagram video below.

Can’t see the post? Click here

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Main photo source: Loulou Group