Monaco, the second-smallest country in the world after Vatican City, contains more millionaires and billionaires per capita than anywhere else on earth, and has accordingly earned a reputation for lavish living. So it’s natural that lavish dining in Monaco is not hard to find – this is, after all, home to Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse at Hôtel de Paris, which holds three Michelin stars and is one of the best restaurants in the world.
And yet, locals and visitors alike have long been crying out for a more laid-back eatery: one that offers status and gastronomic gusto but not the starched table cloths. Enter COYA, the colourful and contemporary Peruvian restaurant, already renowned in London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi for its vibrant Nikkei dishes and too-easy-to-drink Pisco Sours, and now setting its sights on firing up Monaco’s restaurant scene. In a testament to how desperately a hip and exciting new location was needed, COYA Monte-Carlo opened to phenomenal success on Grand Prix weekend, with all its 250+ covers long-secured – and the buzz hasn’t stopped since.
COYA offers something entirely new, confidently wedged between the legendary nightclub Jimmy’z and the iconic Monte Carlo Bay Hotel (by way of the essential helipad). The décor is cutting-edge and modern with a splash of upmarket Boho chic – think dark woods, low lighting, handmade furniture from Bali and Peruvian artefacts contrasted with multicolour woven cushions, impressive succulents and glistening jars of Pisco infusions. All roads lead to the sweeping terrace, which overlooks the ocean and the extravagant yachts that line the horizon. It’s the only restaurant that also looks back onto the city itself, lest visitors forget where they are.
Chef Director Sanjay Dwivedi draws on Peru’s rich gastronomic heritage, and his flair for new trends has led him to create a vibrant menu of COYA classics where the extra ingredient is Monaco itself. Hence, luxurious additions of truffle, lobster, caviar and wagyu beef are introduced seamlessly to a traditionally rustic cuisine. Gold leaf adorns the walls of the otherwise understated private dining room, and each table has been made bespoke to incorporate a hole in the centre for ice-buckets, which tend to be filled to the brim with exclusive-label Champagnes and lesser-known (but no lesser-priced) tequilas.
This is what Monaco has been waiting for – a boost to its restaurant scene that is no less sexy than the city-state itself. COYA has the glamour and attitude that Monaco’s high-rollers and hedonists crave, as well as the unforgettable food to go with it.