Monello Little Italy--Underwhelmed
Went to to Monello for dinner last night with high hopes following the recommendations of others, but sadly left a little disappointed. A friend of mine and I shared their Bencotto pizza and aglio olio pasta dish and we both felt both dishes were missing an ingredient or two that would make the dishes stand out......maybe the fact they use ricotta cheese instead of mozzarela made a difference with the pizza but it was not that flavorful (though the crust was good). The people next to us ordered their pie with sausage--maybe that might have made a difference. The pizza supposedly has pancetta incorporated into the sauce, but it was very hard for me to detect this at all. Because I happen to like Bencotto (by San Diego standards), I will give Monello another shot by trying another couple of dishes, but I left a bit unimpressed.....in terms of ambience, the designer did a wonderful job and it has a much warmer, homier feel than Bencotto with far better acoustics but I prefer the food at Bencotto. I would be more inclined to visit Monello for a cocktail rather than the food based on what I ate.
I had a wonderful experience there this past Saturday for breakfast. My husband and I wandered in after the Farmers Market. We sat at the bar, service was attentive. The owner was there and talking to customers. The first thing I saw were the fresh Bomboloni and cornetti. Couldn't believe it. I have been known to make my husband leave work at noon on a Friday to drive to San Fran to buy Bomboloni at the Ferry Landing Market on Sarurday morning! Didn't think I'd see them in San Diego!! I ordered the vanilla custard filled. It was delicious. Still warm, fresh yeasty dough, crunchy and sugary on the outside! Fresher than in San Fran where they drive them in from another location. Also tried the orange filled. Excellent. And tried a bite of my husbands cornetto with chocolate custard. Again, warm, croissant-like, fresh and delicious.
Good espresso and the small Brie and proschutto bite-sided sandwich was a nice salty balance. Italian street food is the theme here. Loved everything about the place.