italian: mona lisa.

date 10.27.08

contact 353 Columbus Ave./San Francisco/94133/415.989.4817

hours Sun-Thurs 11am-11pm/Fri-Sat 11am-12am

price $15-$30

After having minor difficulties loading a dresser into the car Dan and I knew we weren’t going to make it to the ramen place in Daly City in time to eat.

Plan B: drive around SF until we found something open that we thought looked good.

Dan decided that North Beach would be a good place to go because they had a lot of restaurants open pretty late. After walking around and looking at a few menus we found ourselves at Mona Lisa. For me what did it was their extensive menu. I like to have choices and this place has LOTS of choices.

I wasn’t expecting this place to be as big as it was. From the outside it looked pretty small, but it was a decent size. On a Monday night at 9pm this place was pretty packed, which was also one of the reasons we chose this place. We figured if that many people were there eating, it had to be somewhat good. The tables are close together and the lighting is pretty dim, but I think it adds to the charm of the place. Everywhere you look there is some kind of decoration. Lots of busts of statues, paintings on the ceilings and walls, pretty much every inch is covered with some kind of something. Our waiter was nice, helpful when I asked which risotto was better. As a former waitress I can be very picky about service, but I was happy with the service here.

Inside Mona Lisa.

I ordered the Risotto San Francisco. It was VERY tasty, something I would order again. Chunks of crab meat, slices of asparagus, and tomatoes in some kind of sauce. It was just what I was looking for. Some of the crab was still in the shell which made me a little scared that I’d have one of those Pretty Woman moments where I pick the meat out with my fork and knife and then have the crab fly across the room. Luckily that didn’t happen. Having to pick the meat out was a little annoying, but the food was good enough where I didn’t really care. I could have finished the whole dish, but stopped myself because I was full. For $16.95, I feel like I got my money’s worth.

Risotto San Francisco: Salsa Rosa, Asparagus, and Crab.

I am a dessert whore, so of course we got dessert. The dessert menu has a picture and description of every dessert which I like, that way I have a better idea of what I’m ordering. There were a lot of choices, fruity or chocolatey, whichever you prefer, they have. We decided we’d get two, one fruity and one with chocolate, just to cover our bases. We decided on the Exotic Bomba and Black Forest Cake, each of which were $8.00.

The Exotic Bomba was quite tasty: mango, passion fruit, and raspberry sorbetto covered in white chocolate. It was a lot bigger than it looked in the picture, but I wasn’t complaining. The raspberry sorbetto in the middle was probably my favorite, but none the less, it was a nice lite dessert.

Mango, Passion Fruit, and Raspberry sorbetto covered in white chocolate.
Exotic Bomba: Mango, Passion Fruit, and Raspberry sorbetto covered in white chocolate.

The Black Forest Cake was okay. Chocolate sponge cake with a layer of chocolate cream, chantilly cream with cherries and white sponge cake, with chocolate on top, this dessert was a little dry, but still tasty. If you get all the layers in one bite it isn’t so dry, but if you only get the cake, it’s pretty dry. Maybe it wasold or an off day, either way, probably wouldn’t get it again.

Chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate cream, chantilly
Black Forest Cake: Chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate cream, chantilly

Overall, for about $60, $70 after we added tip, we got two entrees, a glass of wine, and two desserts. Not bad for a good late night meal. Would I go back? Definitely.

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