Mona Lisa Italian Foods – Little Italy, San Diego – May 2019

Living on the edge of Little Italy, we wandered down Kettner many times, looking for coffee or breakfast, going to Avis car rental and heading to the trolley stop. We wondered what all the fuss was about, as the area did not seem very Italian.

So, after we dropped the rental at Avis, we had it in mind to grab some Italian food for dinner. Patty suggested Mona Lisa as it looked like a good family restaurant, simple and unassuming and as it was a straight run back to the hotel afterwards.

Once inside the restaurant, it looked like the real deal, no glitz, just a comfortable room and hopefully delicious food. This first Mona Lisa was opened by Grandfather Stefano Brunetto in 1956. A tuna fisherman, he had always dreamed of opening his own business. This location also houses an Italian deli. The restaurants are now run by the third generation of the family.

What we really wanted more than anything was a big salad. Patty chose the Ensalata Mista and I chose the Caesar. Accompanying this was a larger than expected Mona’s special pizza and carafe of the Rosé house wine. The salads were delicious, freshly made and lightly dressed. The pizza was served piping hot and was indeed special and the advertised liter was closer to a liter plus a glass. We did our best, but ended up taking three slices of pizza back to the hotel. Cold pizza is always good for breakfast. Prices and service was very reasonable here.

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