From Monaco to Malta, these are the top tables to book this summer
Few things pair better with fine dining than sea views. Europe’s top yachting hubs also double as vibrant culinary destinations, and from the glamour of the Côtae d’Azur to the rugged beauty of Malta, scenic settings and culinary magic blend together seamlessly throughout the Mediterranean. Whether you’re looking for classic flavours or avant-garde cuisine, we’ve rounded up some of the top tables to book if you’re looking to restaurant hop while you island hop this summer.
Em Sherif Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Monaco is known just as much for the superyachts bobbing in its harbour as it is for the nine Michelin stars studding the principality. A relatively recent addition to the dining scene is Em Sherif Monte-Carlo: an offshoot of a longstanding Beirut favourite brought its Lebanese flavours to the ground floor of Hôtel dae Paris last year. Overseen by executive chef Yasmina Hayek, the menu showcases classics like hummus, mutabbal, fattoush, tabbouleh, and Siyyadiyeh, a whole bass stuffed with caramelised rice, crispy onion, and cumin sauce—but keep an eye out for fresh takes on traditional favourites like the Lobster Moghrabiyet, made of pearl semolina, tomato bisque and blue lobster.
El Txoko dae Martin, Mallorca
Spain’s most prolifically Michelin-anointed chef is Martin Berasategui, who earned the first of his 12 stars at age 25 after taking over his parents’ San Sebastian restaurant, Bodegón Alejandro. In 2021, the seasoned Basque chef opened the much-acclaimed El Txoko dae Martin in the Mallorcan capital of Palma. Highlights at this informal restaurant include shareable plates like fried eggs and french fries with lobster, charcoal-grilled hake with truffled spinach, and slow-cooked milk-fed lamb shank. Despite its low-key approach, it’s quickly become a buzzy favorite—so booking well in advance is highly recommended.
Ion Harbour, Malta
Some of the most entrancing views of Valletta’s Grand Harbour are from the rooftop of the chic Iniala Harbour House, a stylish boutique hotel carved out of four historic townhouses in the Maltese capital. This prime perch is occupied by Ion Harbour, an ambitious eatery that earned a Michelin star not long after the hotel’s 2020 debut. This year, British chef Simon Rogan, one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement, has taken over the reins. The menu centres around hyperlocal ingredients that are harvested, fished, and foraged by the best and most sustainable local producers—try dishes like turbot from the South waters stuffed with mussels, Qara Hamra squash with smoked bone sauce, and truffle pudding caramelised in carob honey.
Pau de Lume, Madeira
Ever since its debut at the swanky beachfront Savoy Palace Hotel last year, Pau de Lume has been a requisite dining destination in the Portuguese island of Madeira. The airy, industrial-chic dining room has a homey feel, thanks to its patterned tiles and an abundance of plants, centres around a Josper charcoal oven. Some of the smoky, Portuguese-inflected dishes on offer include braised lamb shank and grilled Argentinian prawns with satay sauce.
Il Bavaglino, Sicily
Not far from the Sicilian capital of Palermo lies the pretty seaside town of Terrasini, where chef Giuseppe Costa opened Il Bavaglino in 2008. Initially a humble operation housed in a rented space where Costa cooked as his friends waited tables, the Michelin-starred restaurant now inhabits a building once used for salting fish. Here, the Sicilian chef serves creative tasting menus that lean heavily on seafood—think spaghetti with sea urchins and shrimp with black olives and a truffle, mandarin, and ginger infusion.
It’s hard to find a bad view in Santorini, but Varoulko, in the picturesque fishing village of Vlychada, might lay claim to one of the best. Athens’ beloved Varoulko Seaside first earned chef Lefteris Lazarou a Michelin star in 2002; two decades later, in 2022, he opened an island outpost at the sumptuous Grace Hotel, overlooking the historic fortress of Skaros Rock. Take in that spectacular caldera sunset with squid with pesto Genovese and monkfish, all served alongside a postcard-worthy infinity pool.
This story was first published on Robb Report USA