Invasion of the bot writers

Upon a recent visit to the New York offices of my publisher Google, it dawned on me that computer geeks have overtaken alpha males in the corporate hierarchy. Everywhere I looked, I saw barely graduate-aged technical whizz kids wearing ripped jeans and Google glasses and zipping to internal office meetings on push scooters. The few employees over the age of thirty-five were all editorial staff. These dinosaurs could be spotted a mile off with their staid chinos, ties or bewildered expressions. 

Now cyberspace gurus have invaded the starched haven of Michelin-starred restaurants. It seems that coders are using custom-written programs (bots) to grab the best tables leaving traditional diners frustrated. These bots survey restaurant websites for available tables and then grab them before humans have time to reserve. The algorithms are hard to beat, as bot writers are careful to conceal their online identity. Upscale restaurants in New York, London and Paris are reacting by limiting their online reservations and setting aside tables for last-minute regulars. Monaco is yet to be hit by such high-tech problems: long may Southern France continue its Luddite tradition of telephone reservations.

Better still are informal addresses where you can just rock up after work. Some Monaco institutions are rumored to be on their way out such as Michele Piepoli’s Sabor di Vino, a eulogy to wine with 10,000 bottles of vintages from all over France and beyond. Other places have just arrived. Last week I went to the opening of Bar 1154, a new apéro-tapas bar hidden above rue Grimaldi on allée Lazare Sauvaigo. While little ones ran around the pedestrianized street, we enjoyed a mouth-watering selection of Italian charcuterie and tapenades served up by the genial Ricci and Louis-Michel. Watch out for their red-hot bruschetta that will leave you gasping for a glass of beer. Another new place worth a visit is One Apple overlooking Fontvieille’s port. DJ Fabian mixes music as diners gaze at the super-yachts over drinks and no-nonsense Italian food. It won’t be long before you’ll have to start reserving your table in advance. 

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