In this edition of The Rundown, we’re revealing all the details about Rampoldi New York, the second location of the iconic Monte Carlo restaurant, tucked away on 64th Street just across from Lincoln Center.
Here, the entire menu of the Monaco original is faithfully reproduced, and the dining room features nearly identical décor. After a grand opening party complete with Prince Albert II of Monaco in attendance, Rampoldi fully opens to the public on Sept. 26. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
1. This is the first Monegasque restaurant in New York (and possibly anywhere outside of Monaco).
Until now, the only restaurants serving Monegasque food could be found in Monaco, and the original Rampoldi was one of the first. Rampoldi New York aims to change that.
For the record, Monegasque cuisine is a mixture of Southern French and Italian food with a lot of luxury ingredients like caviar, foie gras, and truffles added for good measure, according to head chef Antonio Salvatore. It’s appropriate, given that Monaco, nicknamed a “Billionaire’s Playground” with the world’s highest average wealth per capita, is the richest nation in the world.
But this cuisine is not just about being flashy; Salvatore says it’s about serving great-tasting food made from the finest ingredients. “The new Monegasque kitchen we put together is the best of Italy, the best of France, and a touch international,” says Salvatore. “We work with a lot of fresh products, Mediterranean products, and not too much flour — no heavy sauces. It’s a very clean taste.”
Due to Monaco’s Mediterranean seaside location, seafood and fish, in particular, are popular ingredients in the principality, as is seasonal produce like asparagus and artichoke in spring, zucchini and eggplant in summer, and pumpkin in fall, while olive oil and lemon are featured heavily year-round.
A classic Monegasque dish, for example, is a seafood bouillabaisse, and the one at Rampoldi, bursting with rockfish, clams, mussels, squid, potatoes, saffron, and star anise, is a must-order. The beef tartare, which is prepared tableside at Rampoldi, is also a classic. Asparagus with a traditional mousseline French sauce is also on the menu.
Salvatore (who is actually Italian) joined MC Hospitality in 2016 to run the original Rampoldi in Monte Carlo. He also opened La Table d’Antonio Salvatore Au Rampoldi, an intimate dining room below the main restaurant in Monaco, which was first awarded a Michelin star in 2021. Most recently, he came to New York to open MC Hospitality’s Casa Limone (opened in 2021) and to relaunch the Atlantic Grill, and he now serves as head chef of the entire restaurant group.
2. The original Rampoldi has an illustrious history that New York aims to uphold.
At the corner of Place du Casino de l’Opéra and the Hotel de Paris by Carré d’Or in Monte Carlo, Rampoldi has stood since 1946, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the principality. It’s a favorite of celebrities and the international elite; Princess Grace of Monaco and Roger Moore used to dine there, and you’re likely to spot an A-Lister or two today as well. In 2016, when Salvatore came on board, he revamped and modernized the menu with an emphasis on contemporary Monegasque cuisine, and the restaurant underwent a renovation. The New York location hopes to carry on the restaurant’s elegant and storied traditions, while appealing to New Yorkers at the same time.
3. Rampoldi New York is almost an exact replica of the original, even down to the location.
When MC Hospitality set about expanding Rampoldi to New York, being near the opera, like the Monaco original which is adjacent to Opéra de Monte Carlo, was a non-negotiable. “Rampoldi always needs to be near a cultural institution. In this case, it’s the Lincoln Center Opera,” says Salvatore. “This is intentional. It’s not possible to open Rampoldi in, say, the basement of Rockefeller Center.”
Aside from the location, the design of the two Rampoldi restaurants is almost completely identical, down to the red glass water goblets on all the tables. Just like the Monaco location, Piero Manara of interior design firm Casa Manara designed the dining room in New York and everything is imported from Italy, France, and Monaco. The floors and wall panels are Italian Rosso Imperiale marble, the chandeliers and bubble sconces are custom Murano glass, and the leather banquettes and chairs are custom-made by Milan’s Fratelli Boffi.
One thing that’s special to New York? A triptych of Mona Lisa paintings that pay homage to Grace Kelly, the American actor and mother of the current prince of Monaco, Albert II, commissioned by Spanish artist and fashion designer Domingo Zapata, who is close friends with the owners.
The menus are also identical, with favorite dishes all present, including crab ravioli topped with branzino, clams, garlic, parsley and bottarga; filet de boeuf ‘Rossini,’ which is Argentinian angus beef topped with red wine sauce, black truffles, and seared foie gras served alongside a truffle potato purée; and Salvatore’s version of vitello tonnato.
4. The sole menu item that’s only found in New York is a $45 cocktail.
One thing that MC Hospitality Group CEO Alex Teisanu knew needed to be different here in New York was the bar and cocktail menu. In Monte Carlo, not many people are walking in off the street without a reservation to sit at the bar, and in many European restaurants, the cocktail menu mostly sticks to the classics. But of course, Teisanu knows that wouldn’t fly in NYC. Here, comfortable bar seats are kept for walk-ins, and Teisanu introduced a signature New York cocktail, called the Monarch.
“I thought, how can I pay tribute to a restaurant of this caliber? I’m not going to make a spicy margarita,” says Teisanu.
Instead, the Monarch is made with Courvoisier XO cognac, Grand Marnier, apricot purée, and egg whites, topped with brandied cherries and gold flake, and served in a tall, skinny martini glass. And it’s sold for $45.
The wine list boasts 300 different labels, 70% of which is French and Italian, 20% from the U.S. (the Monaco location doesn’t carry any American wines), and 10% from various international wine regions.
5. You’re encouraged to sit and stay awhile.
Although Rampoldi is located near Lincoln Center and there will undoubtedly be many pre-show diners, neither Salvatore nor Teisanu wants any guest to feel rushed, though they promise to do their best to accommodate any guest that comes in with concert tickets.
For them, the Rampoldi experience is all about leisure and the enjoyment of fine food. A one-and-a-half to two-hour dining limit, now standard among many New York restaurants post-pandemic, is not something he favors.
“In our business, if we forget about the hospitality side, we forget why we’re here,” says Teisanu. “Of course, we’re here to generate sales and revenue. But we don’t forget where we started, and we started by taking care of people.”
Rampoldi New York is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m.
Devorah Lev-Tov is a food, beverage, and travel journalist with bylines in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Eater, Vogue, and more. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two children, and senior shih-tzu. Follow her dining adventures (usually at a reasonable hour) on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.
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