Visited the Grand Cafe recently, for the first time in about 5 years. The last time I was there, we were staying at the Hotel Monaco, it is adjoining the cafe. We just love the Monaco, so full of artsy touches and ambiance! However the Cafe was much better back then. Not sure what happened, maybe a chef change? – but for the price the food could have been more memorable. The Steak Frites were fine but the steak lacked flavor and juice, the frites needed garlic; the spinach sauté was excellent. For dessert -the Pot de Creme , was way too sweet, just a big lump of caramel with very little “creme” to it (and I love caramel…).
On the plus side, this is a stunningly beautiful setting and very romantic. “Set in a dramatic, carefully restored turn-of-the-century ballroom with soaring ceilings, the cafe recalls the grandeur of old Europe. Art Nouveau and Art Deco.” There are some wonderful vintage artworks on the walls and the architectural details are delightful. It seems that some more modern art has been added to the mix. Some very large bronze sculptures, which I kinda liked, just not in the cafe’s decor. They really distract and confuse the Art Nouveau beauty and grace. There was a great little panel of a frog (above) which reminded me of Mr.Toad at Disneyland. And a grand Art Deco painting above a staircase on the hotel side. The fresh roses in the bathroom didn’t hurt either. This is simply one of the finest buildings in the city to see, full of art and murals.