Many East Coast transplants (myself included) have moved to L.A. and complain they can’t find authentic Italian food here. We don’t want a pineapple and wheat grass pizza or tofu pasta with holistic sauce. We want a good old-fashioned pie oozing cheese and pepperoni and a hearty bowl of pasta with sauce. Or, as we call it in my Italian family, gravy. Some call it sauce, some call it gravy. It’s a battle for the ages and one I’m not going to get into right now so don’t provoke me. But it’s called gravy.
Lucky for me, I have found not one but two amazing Italian restaurants. Not only are they both in my adopted home of Burbank, they’re right across the street from each other. How awesome is that? One is Tony’s Bella Vista and the other is Pinocchio Italian Restaurant and Monte Carlo Italian Deli (http://www.montecarlodeli.com). Don’t worry, Tony, you’ll have your day at The Bite but now it’s Monte Carlo’s turn.
You’re probably confused, right? Am I talking about two places or one? Well, no, yes and sorta. You see, on one side is Pinocchio’s restaurant where you can get tasty Italian food, sandwiches, salads and pizza. On the other side is the Monte Carlo Deli where you can get such Italian goodies as cookies, pastries, cheeses, bread, wine and gelato. One place. Two sides to get your Italian on.
At the Pinocchio side, I’m partial to the spaghetti and meatballs in marinara. The gravy (okay, I’ll call it sauce for you but just this one time) is delicious. I also like their vegetable lasagna. I’ll admit normally I’m all about the meat but this veggie lasagna is good. I don’t know what they do to their broccoli but it’ll make even the staunchest anti-vegite chow down and beg for more.
|In Italian households, this is considered decor.|
On the Monte Carlo side, where do I begin? I love their cookies. They bring me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen. All that’s missing is the percolating coffee on the stove and my grandfather trying not to get better acquainted with my grandmother’s wooden spoon.
|The ones with the sprinkles|
are my favorite.
Their pastries are delicious too. Some of which they get from Eagle Rock Bakery. Have you ever been to Eagle Rock? It’s confusing because there are no eagles or rocks. But, hey, the last time I was in Jersey it didn’t look new, so who am I to judge?
|That's a lotta gelato.|
So here’s my suggestion for you: Start off at the Pinocchio side and dig into the pasta or perhaps even a sandwich. Then stroll on over to the Monte Carlo side and enjoy a gelato while you stock up on some cookies for later. What do you mean you’re full?
C’mon, there’s always room for gelato.