Menton is a third-tier city in the French Riviera that gets passed over in favor of its glitzier neighbors. But its one claim to fame is the fact that it is home to Mirazur, a two Michelin star restaurant that is apparently the 4th best restaurant in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Cannes may have better looking people and beaches, but money can’t buy you a restaurant of this stature and class.
The dining room at Mirazur has stunning coastal views of the French Riviera, which certainly sets the tone for an atmosphere that one would expect from a restaurant like this. And you also can’t help but be impressed by how this one restaurant in such a seemingly random location has managed to attract a very international group of guests from all over. This meal is clearly worth the slight 30 minute detour from Nice.
Dinner is in a tasting menu format only, although you can choose from different lengths. We went with the in-between of the Chef’s Inspiration, a selection of 6 courses that featured regional ingredients from Chef Mauro Colagreco’s own garden as well as the local terrain. The requisite pre-courses of welcoming appetizers arrived first, and the inspiration seemed to be wide-ranging. There were savory macarons with liver mousse that seemed more traditionally French and fried squash blossoms or fish bones that can be found on summer Italian menus everywhere. But then there were also wild cards like a “club sandwich” and a beetroot that felt more New American. This uprooted Argentinian chef who’s trained all over the world has soaked up a lot of things he’s come across.
For a meal from a restaurant ranked fourth in the whole world, I was expecting fireworks from every course, but that wasn’t the case. There were highlights for sure, but for the most part I didn’t notice a technique or a bold flavor pairing that was like no other. One of the strongest dishes in the tasting was a surprisingly simple one, a salad of fresh seasonal cherries, pistachio and string beans, but it’s a creation that I can envision eating at any respected farm to table restaurant. The hake fillet was perfectly poached, the baby goat was impeccably prepared at medium rare, but they were in line with what’s produced at any prestigious restaurant.
Which leaves me to wonder how these Top 50 lists are ultimately ranked. I get the feeling that all the restaurants on the list are very strong, but it’s really networking and good PR that make the difference between a No. 4 or a No. 45. And it also helps if you’re in a trendy location that gets more foot traffic in general. So even though the Top 50 list says Mirazur is the best restaurant in France, take it with a grain of salt. Let’s just say that if you are in nearby Nice or Monaco, it’s not a bad side trip to make. But it’s not worth crying over if you can’t get a reservation, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend planning a whole trip around it.