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Monaco

Food, Dining, & Drinks

Dining Etiquette

Monacan Food - Chicken in Monaco
Chicken in Monaco

Depending on the person and the circumstances, when to arrive for a meal in Monaco varies. Generally business meetings begin close to the scheduled time, but for most social occasions, be prepared for a few minute delay. Dining out is common, but if you're lucky enough to be invited to a local's home, be sure to bring a small gift.

Due to the country's laid back atmosphere and aura of exclusion, dining takes on a fairly relaxed environment, but you will be judged on your dress and behavior, so paying particular attention to these things is very important. You'll probably be served wine and dinner will commence on the host's lead; be sure to keep your napkin on your lap and eat in the continental style (knife in the right hand, fork in the left).

You may be served multiple courses and you are expected to eat each dish you're served. If you don't like something you're served you will soon run into trouble, since you're expected to finish everything on your plate. Also, as you eat in this social setting, avoid conversations about religion, politics, money, and business (even with business partners), since eating is a time to socialize, not a time to offend people.

Generally, when eating out, your bill will include a service change in Monaco and no additional tip is expected. If service is exceptional, it is not entirely uncommon to add an additional tip of up to 10%, but it is not necessary.

History & Influences

Monaco's diet begins with its location on the sea as seafood dominates the menu. Among these fish, cod and anchovy are perhaps the most common for food, although dozens exist. In addition to this, the country has a great growing climate as numerous fresh fruits and vegetables, such as onions, garlic, and olives (or olive oil) are readily available and incorporated into many dishes.

Although Monaco's cuisine is still fairly loyal to its Mediterranean roots, the French and Italians have also made a substantial impact on the food. Multiple French dishes are common in Monaco as are Italian pastas.

Staple Foods

There is no true staple food in Monaco. Many dishes are cooked with olive oil or served with it as a dip or side. Additionally, as a Mediterranean diet, fresh vegetables are common and found in nearly every dish.

Regional Variations & Specialties

Barbagiuan: sweet pastry filled with rice, cheese, leeks, and either pumpkin or spinach
Fougasse: another sweet pastry made from orange-infused pastry and topped with nuts and anise seeds
Socca: pancakes made with chickpea flour
Stocafi: dried cod cooked in tomato sauce

Drinks

Monaco is one of the world's smallest countries, yet has access to just about everything. Tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks, and milk are all widely available.

On the alcohol side, again, everything is available as both French and Italian wines dominate the market. Other popular international beers, wines, and hard liquors are also easily accessible. However, the national drink is champagne and it has become somewhat of an institution to grab a glass of the "bubbly" when dining out, even if just for lunch.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Monaco, but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

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This page was last updated: March, 2013