What do you get when you mix a mother, her two sons, a bucket of love, a dash of inspiration, and a spritz of Italian charm? A Michelin-star-worthy restaurant with all the flavor and none of the pretentious ego. Trattoria Monti, my friends, is a restaurant that will turn foodie-haters into walkin', talkin', food-picture-snappin' fools, charm the napkin right off of your lap, and make you wish you would have forgone all the other restaurants and eaten here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For those who can't cut through the above blathering (I don't blame you, that was quite the ramble), this was hands down my favorite restaurant in Italy.
Trattoria Monti's food is heavily influenced by the Le Marche region, which is nestled on Italy's central Adriatic coast. Don't let the menu's redundancy fool you, the vast selection of tortini (aka flan) is one of Trattoria Monti's specialties, and you'd be a fool to miss out on the savory creations. Dan and I went for the Aubergine Tortino (Eggplant Flan) and were, quite honestly, enchanted by the egg custard and veggie combination. It paired well with our vino rosso and had the restaurant not had a full house, we would have been fighting over who got to lick the plate. (I'm apologizing now for the out-of-focus, overexposed photos that fail to do these delicious dishes justice).
Next up was a pasta dish worthy of adjectives typically only used to describe a really awesome human being; Trattoria Monti's Tortello al Rosso D'uovo was humble, spirited, and devoted. Humble because of its unassuming appearance. Spirited because it could single-handedly represent the wonder of Italian cuisine. Devoted because of its devotion to being delicious. This tortello, or gigantic raviolo, is stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and egg yolk and snuggled below a puddle of the simplest and tastiest tomato-basil sauce you'll ever encounter. I'd laugh if I wasn't being so darn serious.
Dan and I also indulged in two or four more fabulously delicious dishes; however, the above two are the ones that you simply cannot miss if you find yourself in Trattoria Monti's welcoming embrace. Also, be sure to chat with the two sons (can't miss 'em -- they'll be serving you) because they are the sweetest and most enthusiastic servers around. Trattoria Monti will greet you like a best friend, feed you like a mother, and fill your food-loving soul with pure bliss.