Avenue 31 is an excellent Italian restaurant in Monaco and one that we recommend to our guests looking for an elegant yet informal dining experience with quality, seasonal Mediterranean dishes and a great selection of French and Italian wines. Avenue 31 is focused on creating a warm, friendly atmosphere – very much like being a guest of a large Italian family. Here, guests are always greeted with smiles, delicious homemade Italian food and attentive service. We sat down with Daniela Frittella, the co-owner of Avenue 31, to find out more about her and her restaurant.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to become a restaurateur?
I was born in Tivoli, Italy in 1967, and was the youngest of four children. My brothers and I are 3rd generation restaurateurs. Following in my parents’ footsteps, I started my career working in our family restaurant, Sibilla, in Tivoli. It’s a very unique restaurant that is rich in history and dates back to the 1700s. Located in the heart of ancient Tivoli, next to the Roman ruin Temple of Vesta, Sibilla is one of the oldest restaurants in the world.
However, I always had a feeling that my hometown was too small for me and one of my three brothers felt the same way. I was nineteen when my brother suggest that I go with him to Monte Carlo and I said yes without hesitating.
When we arrived to Monaco, we started working at La Salière, an Italian restaurant in Fontvieille. We were running it for years until 12 years ago, when we got the opportunity to buy Avenue 31. At that time, it was an old restaurant that didn’t have much success. It was a big challenge for us to turn the restaurant around but, today we are very proud of what we have achieved.
2. What was your vision for Avenue 31 when you were planning to open it?
Our vision was and still is to make our guests feel at home, as though a friend has invited them over to enjoy a meal with them and to taste original Mediterranean dishes.
3. What is the dining experience that Avenue 31 offers its guests?
Our focus is on the idea of sharing. A family style meal from starters to desserts where everyone at the table can help themselves to various dishes while enjoying each other’s company. We invite our guests to try our Mediterranean specialties while sharing their meal with their friends and family.
4. How often do you change the menu? Where does the chef source the produce from?
We try to change our menu seasonally, every 3 to 4 months. Before launching a new menu, our chef proposes different seasonal dishes to the team and we collectively decide on the dishes that will be put on the menu. Of course, our guests have the final say and we work accordingly to put together a menu that will please them.
5. Tell us more about the chef. How long has he worked in gastronomy and at Avenue 31? How would you define his cooking style?
Having started his cooking career at a very young age, Chef Giacomo Nogara has worked at many prestigious restaurants throughout Italy and internationally, alongside some of the most renowned chefs. A winner of different gastronomic contests and festivals, he used to cook for celebrities and famous businessmen. George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Naomi Campbell, Roman Abramovic, to name a few, were among the guests that Chef Nogara has cooked for. This is why we like to call him the chef to the stars.
In my opinion, the key elements that define Chef Nogara’s cooking style are homemade and healthy cuisine prepared according to traditional Mediterranean recipes with local, seasonal produce.
It’s now been several years since he’s part of the Avenue 31 team and we are very happy and proud to have him with us!
6. What are your favourite dishes on the menu and why?
I have so many! Let’s start with the pizza. The original Focaccia di Recco is one of my personal favourites. You can only find this focaccia variety in Recco, a small Ligurian town near Genoa, and at Avenue 31. I also love our Romagna Roll which is one of our skizzas, a flatbread pizza, prepared with Parma ham, Stracchino cheese, arugula and black truffle.
When it comes to pasta, I can never say no to our homemade Pappardelle al Telefono with tomato, mozzarella and basil. The New York steak, Miso black cod, and eggplant Parmigiana are also among my favourite dishes on our menu.
At the end of a good meal you must always save room for a delicious homemade dessert and I highly recommend our “à la minute” family style ice-cream prepared on the spot. Trust me, it’s an absolute must-try!
7. Tell us about the selection of wines in your cellar. Where do the wines come from?
We have carefully selected our wine list to ensure the perfect wine pairing with any meal. On our wine list you can find a variety of sparkling wines such as Prosecco and Franciacorta, and of course Champagne. We have a wide selection of Bordeaux and Burgundy, as well as plenty of options from famous Italian regions such as Piedmont and Tuscany, including some of the very best Super Tuscan wines.
8. If you could invite anyone to Avenue 31, who would that person be, which dish would you serve and which bottle of wine would you open?
During all these years spent at Avenue 31, I have personally greeted many famous Formula 1 racers, soccer and tennis players, as well as film and music stars. However, if I could invite anyone to my restaurant, I would love to invite Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick for dinner.
To start with, I would serve them a large selection of our starters and a homemade lobster linguine that would be followed by main dishes such as Miso black cod and New York steak accompanied with creamy spinach and mashed potatos with truffle. For dessert, I would offer them our family style ice-cream and a chocolate soufflé.
As for the wine, we would start our meal with an Italian sparkling, Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta. I would then offer them a nice white wine, Chardonnay Corte Rienzi, and a Tuscan red, Summus di Castello Banfi. At the end of the meal I would open a bottle of Italian sweet wine, Passito di Pantelleria, that would pair perfectly with the desserts.
Photos by Zoya Stafienko for A.M.A Selections. All images © A.M.A Selections