Monaco, though relatively small, enjoys a fantastic range of culinary options. With plant-based eating gaining more and more popularity worldwide, it only makes sense that Monaco, ranked among the world’s top international destinations, should follow suit.
For a long time, diets that limited or completely removed eggs, dairy, and meat were considered mere trends. “Cool for now but won’t last.” Veganism, or identifying as a consumer of plant-based foods, definitely qualified as such in the public eye for a long time. Often labeled as extreme, odd, or overachieving, plant-based eaters were often ostracized and experienced difficulty finding places to enjoy the same social dining experiences as their omnivore peers.
Today, much of that is changing thanks to growing interest in where food comes from and how its produced, awareness of the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as the negative impacts of eating animal-based products. The shift has been helped by the ease of accessing information on the internet as well as reports from institutions like the World Health Organization that link meat and dairy consumption to cancer, global warming, and growing costs of national healthcare systems around the world.
Athletes like Novak Djokovic are making their mark
One factor that has assisted in the growth of mainstream acceptance and exploration of plant-based eating is its popularity with athletes. In several sports, professional athletes have shown that plant-based diets can help them to achieve extraordinary results. Elite formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, tennis champion Venus William, and Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris all claim the mantle with pride. Nutritious plant-based meals help each of these athletes stay at the top of their game for longer. Even artists like Beyoncé, who have extremely demanding schedules, have integrated the dietary restrictions and see its potential to grow their own brands (she and husband Jay-Z have their own vegan meal delivery service).
Male tennis champion Novak Djokovic, plant-based eater, 14-time Grand Slam winner, and resident of Monaco along with his wife Jelena, has even opened his own organic, vegan eating establishment in the Principality. Djokovic, though not vegan, claims to have given up eating meat a number of years ago in order to improve his on-court performance. The restaurant, called EqVita, was opened in 2016 in the Portier neighborhood of Monaco. Since then, it has become the premier plant-based option for dining in Monaco. The food centers on seasonal, natural recipes that revisit favorites like burgers and cheesecakes. All options are gluten-free and there is a juice-bar to boot.
Where to find plant-based options in Monaco
Though there aren’t yet many Monegasque restaurants to have taken the plant-based virage, several counters offer vegan and vegetarian options on their menu. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of plant-based friendly places to eat in Monaco in no particular order:
> EqVita: European style, nature-centric recipes. Serves breakfast, soups & salads, desserts + a juice bar. Claims to be fully vegan since May 2018
> Buddha-Bar: Eastern cuisine with vegan options. Vegetarian dishes are distinguishable on the menu and servers are happy to help accommodate plant-based eaters upon request.
> L’Inattendu(e): A French, Mediterranean spot with a handful of Vegan options. All food is organic. Open for lunch and dinner.
> Avenue 31: Italo-European cuisine with vegan options. Try the skizza (pizza-style plate) with artichokes and smoked tofu.
> Nobu Monte-Carlo: Dreamy vegetarian options inside the Fairmont Hotels. Views (of both the exterior and what’s on the plate) are exquisite. A great option for groups.
> Graziella: Italian food for vegetarian eaters to regale.
> Stars ‘N’ Bars: American food for the plant-based soul. Burritos and burgers as green as summer grass. Relatively affordable for Monaco (16€/dish), which is a welcome plus.
> SenSais: Dig into a scrumptious salad while enjoying the crisp, modern aesthetic of this vegetarian-friendly resto. Lunch at 18€ is a can’t miss.
That said, there is still a lot of room for growth in terms of plant-based eating in the Principality. We are willing to bet that this movement, however, is more than a trend. Plant-based Monaco, here we come!