Right splat in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Macdougal Street lays Monte’s — a hardcore, old school Italian restaurant with no frills. Chef Pietro Mosconi has two restaurants, both of which are within the same couples of blocks — Monte’s and Villa Mosconi.
I’ve been to both of these restaurants, and I can confirm that both of these restaurants are the real deal.
I’ve wanted to go to Monte’s for a long time, and I’ve passed it for ages. It is practically always packed in the evening, and the restaurant is not too big in size, although there is an upstairs level.
We came for lunch, and we sat upstairs as there was a private party taking up the entire lower level. Evidently, Monte’s has no problem with hosting a private party using its space (though, I wonder how much an event would roughly cost). The waiters gave me this impression that they themselves have been at this restaurant since the dawn of time. Nonetheless, they were friendly overall.
The menu is relatively straightforward — pasta, seafood dishes, meat dishes, appetizers, etc. All of the pasta dishes sounded astounding. I went for the chicken bolognese, which was recommended by our waiter. We also decided to share the hot antipasti appetizer, and a veal Valdostana.
The hot antipasti, which they called Antipasti Misti for 2 on the menu, was absolutely great. There was simply nothing wrong with it. It came with stuffed mushrooms, baked clams, mussels, shrimp, eggplant rollatini, and zucchini. The sauce was on point and the flavor profile was exactly the way I would’ve wanted it. No BS here.
Then, my entree did not disappoint either. The chicken bolognese is chicken stuffed with prosciutto and cheese, and topped off with some brown sauce. They always say that the secret is in the sauce, and it is restaurants like these that confirm that notion. I ate the whole entire dish, and couldn’t regret a bite. They offered my chicken with a side of pasta or veggies, and I opted for the veggies, which went great with the leftover sauce. The veal also had an excellent sauce, and did not seem to disappoint as well.
Nonetheless, the true winner of the evening was the tiramisu. Apparently, their tiramisu is Chef Pietro’s own recipe. In addition to my earlier comment about sauces, they also always say (whoever they even is) that the true testament to an Italian restaurant’s success is the quality of their tiramisu. Well, damn — the tiramisu at Monte’s was truly some of the best I have ever had. With layers of cream, love, and talent, their tiramisu was as delicate and heartwarming as any Italian dessert could be.
All in all, I had a very positive experience at Monte’s. Their food does not disappoint, and you could tell that their restaurant really does dish out the good stuff. Out of Chef Pietro’s two restaurants, my impression is that Monte’s is better for a more comfy and home-like atmosphere, as well as more of a crowd. The one time I went to Villa Mosconi, the place was not nearly as crowded as I have seen Monte’s. Nonetheless, perhaps the best pasta I have ever had in my life was at Villa Mosconi’s down the block. It’s all in the chef at the end of the day, I suppose. I’d come back for sure, and I’d definitely order the tiramisu again.