Monello
Monello

Monello

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.lovemonello.com/
  • Phone: (619) 501-0030
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch

    Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00am - 2:30pm

    Dinner

    Tuesday - Thursday: 2:30pm - closing; Friday & Saturday: 3:00pm - closing; Sunday: 5:00pm -closing
    APERITIVO-ITALIAN HAPPY HOUR (complimentary bites with drinks) 4 pm to 7 pm all week
    Brunch

    Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Comfort Food, Pizzeria
  • Executive Chef: Fabrizio Cavallini
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Kettner
  • Public Transit: MTS Transit Trolley Stop Green Line: County Center/Little Italy
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: The Little Italy Association offers valet parking Tuesday through Sunday at the corner of India St. and Fir St. (in front of Influx) for $8.00 beginning at 5:30pm.

    Limited street parking is available. Metered parking is free after 6:00pm until 6:00am Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.
A word from Monello
Bencotto's younger brother is born and who knew Italians could be so naughty? Monello-literally "little devil"-is a term of endearment used for little boys when they're misbehaving. We're intrigued by their naughty nature and positively entertained by it. Monello's offerings embody our Northern Italian heritage with unleashed passion, unafraid and unapologetic with its own playful twists on the most beloved, street-inspired fare of our hometown Milano.
UNABLE TO FIND A TABLE? CHECK OUT OUR BROTHER RESTAURANT BENCOTTO NEXT DOOR - SAME CHEF!
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Monello reviews from OpenTable diners
97 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (56)neighborhood gem (56)hot spot (32)special occasion (30)good for groups (27)great for outdoor dining (26)great for brunch (21)vibrant bar scene (18)romantic (17)great for lunch (17)late-night find (8)scenic view (7)notable wine list (6)kid-friendly (3)Show More
  • Our new favorite restaurant
    hiker
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    We took some old friends here and we're not disappointed. We all like Italian food and Monello offers the best we've had in a long time. Located in San Diego's Little Italy area, there is convenient access and much to do. The restaurant design is inviting and well done. The menu is clever with great selections in all categories. Three of us had chicken which was perfect. One had the octopus, which was soft and delicious. Be sure to take a tour of the cheese and parma refrigerators!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    The restaurant was very cute and had great people watching from all areas (outside, bar area, table seating, etc). The servers were amazing and so attentive. I loved that with each cocktail ordered during happy hour, we were given small bites to tide us over until dinner (and all the cocktails were delicious). The food left a little to be desired, however. I ordered what was supposed to be a spicy spaghetti dish (EVOO, breadcrumbs and jalapenos) to which I added chicken; when I first put my knife into the spaghetti to cut the strands, a bunch of oil shot out. Not the EVOO used to coat the noodles, but additional oil that saturated the plate. Aside from the oil, the food didn't taste like much. I expected there to be some flavor with breadcrumbs, jalapenos and chicken, but I tasted nothing. I was a bit disappointed :( I was thankful, however, that our server brought over a few more of the poppable beans they offer as a starter - I dined on those.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One dish to remember
    DVonB
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    The Seafood lasagna with the saffron should never be removed from the menu. it is a dish so good that I will return just for it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent food, but very loud and service not great
    SurfingAttorney
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    I wanted to like this place and I did, but not enough to go back. They were either understaffed or their waitpersons aren't that well trained because we waited a long time after being seated for anyone to even notice us. After first contact, the waiter again forgot about us. Food was decent, but it's not cheap and nothing mind blowing. Be aware that the ambiance isn't "energetic", it is LOUD. I don't know if it has to do with the acoustics or proximity of other diners near us, but it was very difficult to carry on a conversation without shouting. All in all, good place (not great) and prices aren't cheap enough to get me to want to return anytime soon.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Disappointed
    Disappointed
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Appetizers were uniformly bad. We ordered spaghetti with clams and it was tasteless, I mean tasteless. Fortunately the manager was very eager to please and offered a replacement. Our other entre was the grilled octopus which was very good so we ordered the boiled version as a replacement and it was pretty good. We both enjoyed the grilled vegetable platter. Everything needed salt. Conclusion: stay away form the pasta. This is not an Italian restaurant, and it doesn't live up to the hype.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Finally. A quiet brunch!!
    Princess
    Dined on 11/1/2014
    Wow- great food, nice outside dining too! Wait staff is do prompt / friendly. Nice place without big crowd in a Saturday morning about 10:30ish. Could split breakfast dishes with a side easily !!!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Grazie Fabrizio e Guido!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The little Italy Festa introduced us to Morello and we are so glad!!! Our first experience there for dinner on Saturday was great. Friendly & prompt service, delish wine, OMG, the food is to die for!! Four of us shared four different pasta dishes... All unique and wonderful. We highly recommend!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • But Too Noisy
    FrequentEater
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Monello is probably great for the younger crowd but was way too noisy on a Friday night for us more mature diners. We could not hear the waiter or each other at a table for 4. Definitely a trendy place with good food. Our guests had octopus and said it was cooked perfectly. The house-made pumpkin gelato was creamy & delicious.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyed
    Luv2eatVIP
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    The food was very good and I would go back. Serve was okay...
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So tired of loud restaurants
    seawood
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    I asked for the quietest table so the four of us could have a conversation over a meal. They gave us their quietest, and it did not matter. Still way too loud to try to converse in a small table of four. It just ruins the evening when you cannot hear your tablemates speaking. The stress and strain of leaning in and trying to hear outweighs the food or service. Sorry. Are there any quiet restaurants any more? So over this loud trend. They say people tend to buy more drinks in a loud place. We did not and did not stay for dessert because it was so uncomfortable. We would have if it was a little more peaceful and relaxing. They lost more business here.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing food OK service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    Absolutely everything at Monello is delicious my only negative feedback is that the service felt very rushed and really took away from the experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Monello was disappointing
    Nigel6
    Dined on 10/5/2014
    The service was off. We were seated outside and found it difficult to get our server's attention. We even had to resort to calling the restaurant to request that the server check on us. With respect to the food, the pasta dish was excellent. However, I order grilled octopus and found it to be soggy. My husband ordered a branzino. The fish was roasted properly, but the seasoning was bland. I don't like overly complicated dishes, but the preparation of this fish seemed to be very basic (olive oil). The restaurant is attractive and trendy. It is a safe bet for drinks and pasta dishes. Non-pasta dishes are more risky. The wait staff was competent but stretched too thin.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Could have been better...
    BiondaVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    This was my second time to Monello, and boy, I never remembered it being so LOUD! We had to yell to hear our party of 4, which was really tiresome. The waitress had zero knowledge of Italian cuisine, which made asking her questions about the menu a moot point. The spaghetti carbonara was excellent, but when we asked a server to have the kitchen recut our pizza, he told us "that's how they do it in Italy" and walked away. My previous experience here was excellent, so maybe the new staff just needs better training on customer service and cuisine? Not really willing to give it another try, though. Too many other great Italian spots in town...
    Special Features:
    hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Authentic Italian
    MikeD
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Not a Vermouth connoisseur, but they make their own and bring you authentic Italian small bites through out the experience. It's a great place to try a few things. I had the Spinack lasagna, great meat sauce. My girlfriend gets the Aglio spaghetti each time and their cheese and meat plate is full if unique Italian kinds. The raspa dura cheese is phenomenal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another delicious meal!
    CeehVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    Enjoyed our Sunday brunch! All dishes were fantastic! The size of the Monello Eggs Benedict was really small, but my friend's breakfast pizza was huge, so I nibbled off hers! Drink service was very slow, but I'd certainly recommend the bloody Mary they whip up!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DebbieVIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The service and food were outstanding. Our server, Megan was attentive and let us enjoy our evening. The Assistant Manager, Hamilton has an excellent eye for detail and always welcomes us graciously. Valentina treats every guest like family. All of the wonderful components create an exceptional evening!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Underwhelmed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    I really wanted to like Monello. I had tried a friends left over pizza and thought it was pretty tasty, so I took my wife for dinner. It's a cool setting and ambiance was good. Service was fine as well, but after spending $140 on dinner ($35 on wine), we would not be in any hurry to return. I really wanted to like it, but it under delivered.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great choice for restaurant week!
    sf2sdbound
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Decided to come here for restaurant week, since I wanted Italian. The food was delicious, really recommend their vegetable puree soup, was really tasty and you could taste the vegetables and it was such an experience in your mouth. My boyfriend got the lasagna and I the spaghetti with clams, and both were super good. We ordered for the 5 of us, a meat and cheese platter and it was big, enough for all of us and the choices of cheeses were really good, despite that I am not a big fan of cheese. Also, their Monello dip is superb, now only if they were to put in a jar and sell it. Overall really recommend this place and people should come here more often and not just for restaurant week, any day of the week.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Night Time Nosh
    noshability
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Busy all day at a conference, came back to neighborhood hotel to nap, and found Monello online.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • delicious!!
    Luv2dine
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    great food and great service! atmosphere was casual, yet still maintained an upscale ambiance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice and Fancy place
    surprisednhappy
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Thought it would be more quiet. Went there for our weeding anniversary, but not as romantic as what i had in mind for the occasion. Service was good, music was good.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing service & food!
    margiemurphyVIP
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We had to change our reservation for a group of 10 girls multiple times due to flight delays and the staff was extremely accomodating and so friendly. We had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed the food. We ordered family style and loved every dish. We also loved the ambiance. Everyone was impressed - thank you Monello!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Monello is outstanding!
    indocynVIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    I've always had a wonderful meal here. The fresh made pasta is so delicious! I also recommend the raspa dura cheese as an appetizer and to use on your pasta entree. Excellent!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service supreme
    littleitalydiner
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    Hamilton runs a very good restaurant. Service was excellent and Hamilton, the manager, made a trip to our table to check on our satisfaction with both food and service. The pizza is the best and the branzino, light and flavorful. Lovely sitting out on the patio on a glorious San Diego evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OurFaveItalian...que bene
    OurFaveItalian
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We have to drive 40 minutes to get to get to Monello, but we're happy to do it because it's so good. If you're a spaghetti carbonara fan, look no further. Their house-made red vermouth is truly remarkable. The house-made chocolate gelato is the best outside of Verona. And the staff couldn't be nicer and more attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ear splitting noise
    sashaBVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Yes, it was so loud walking in the door that we almost walked right out. But we did stay. The food was well prepared and tasty and the service pleasant and efficient. It's possible we'd go there again on a week night, but if the noise is just as loud, we'll turn right around. The restaurant trend these days is loud and vibrant - leading to more drinks being bought and more money for the restaurant. When one can't hear across the table, it doesn't matter how good the food is.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food!
    Cyrious
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    My husband and I decided to go here for our 22nd anniversary. When we arrived early the staff was more than accommodating. They found us a nice quiet table toward the back of the restaurant. A large group was seated behind us and they were young and very loud! The whole place was very lively on a Saturday night. Despite all that our waiter was at our service all night. We couldn't have asked for a better server. We both ordered from the specials. Hubby got seafood lasagna which was so creamy, cheesy and delicious! Best seafood lasagna ever! I had red snapper in a zesty citrus and fruity glaze...spectacular! I didn't want potatoes so the waiter put in a special order of veggies for me at no extra cost, fantastic!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • great brunch spot!
    betheats
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    so many delectable things to choose from! took my mother there for her birthday and she can't stop raving about it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great as Always
    BrianVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Still one of my favorite places in San Diego! Consistently great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • BelleFerrariVIP
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    meal was excellent. The fresh pasta was thoroughly enjoyed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • you won't be disappointed
    marpoz
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Even though Monello's big brother restaurant Ben Cotto gets all the hype, don't miss a chance to try Monello. It's slightly more casual but the quality of the food is just as worthy of praise. The energetic atmosphere makes even the most casual diners feel at ease.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Another wonderful meal!
    CeehVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Took my parents here and they adored this restaurant! Every item on the menu is delicious, but we're found that the specials are not to be missed! Can't wait to visit again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • interesting
    richbham
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Nice selection of beers and wines, the cocktails looked like they would be great too. Homemade vermouth they let us sample.
    Special Features:
    romantic, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing place!
    JayelmVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Thank you, Monello, for making another memorable evening. The food (seafood cannelloni) and the service (Megan and Lance) we're phenomenal. This is a premiere restaurant destination in Little Italy lost definately, but it deserves a place in the premiere eateries in Sand Diego!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bdinesout
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    The service is very attentive and welcoming, but not intrusive. The food is really well flavored and the presentation is beautiful. Hamilton was our waiter and he couldn't have been more professional and yes friendly. We love this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious!
    EnJoyVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    From to start to finish our meal transformed us back to Italia! We're still dreaming of the grilled octopus starter, the perfectly fired pizza with raspa and spinach, and Monello's 'cacio y pepe' is the best we've had here in the States!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Awesome
    JerryVIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Unique menu with excellent food! Will come back again and again as we have already!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 60 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.2
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 143 reviews are from the Monello reviews archive.
  • Mouthwatering!
    vptwins
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    This gem in Little Italy was quite a find! We made a reservation for our party of 10 and finished sight-seeing an hour early. We expected to be told that we would have to wait, but the friendly staff said that it was no problem and we were seated in less than 5 min.the waiter made excellent recommendations and we all enjoyed the food immensely. The wood fired pizza reminded of the pies in Sorrento and Naples...thin, fresh, and delicious. The lasagna special had a fantastic meat sause and soonach layer and I would highly recommend starting with the mini calzones. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • YUM!
    teenVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    so good, so creative, so satisfying! a treat at every meal!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food and ambient.
    Lillocode
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Quality and authentic Italian food. One of the best Restaurant in Little Italy.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.