Fabulous Italian Aperitivo in San Diego's Little Italy
I discovered Monello by accident after overhearing a woman at a restaurant tell her friend that she thought Monello's was the best place to go for happy hour. So, I had to check it out.
Monello's is a restaurant owned by two Italian men, and their menu and chef are Italian as well. In fact, they also own the restaurant next door called Bencatto—the same chef runs both kitchens. Bencatto recently won an award from the Italian government for cooking traditional Italian foods.
After you place your order, you aren't served the typical bread, but instead lupini beans, a popular Italian street food. The happy hour typically includes a selection of small bites that come with the price of your drink. I was too hungry for that, so I ordered one of their pizzas. It was absolutely delicious, with crispy thin crust and fresh vegetables.
The drink with the lime is a Bensonhurst- cinnamon grappa, bitters, and ginger beer. The server gave me a sample of the house made vermouth—a blend of 24 herbs in wine.
Tip: This is Little Italy, so parking can be hard to find. If you're staying in the downtown or Gaslamp area, I recommend walking. If you're not close by, take a cab so you don't have to waste time trying to find a parking spot.
The drinks are incredibly fresh and I recommend sitting outside on the patio for great people watching.