Restaurant of the Week: Monaco’s Pizza

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Monaco’s Pizza, 7325 Day Creek Blvd., Suite 101 (at Base Line), Rancho Cucamonga

Monaco’s is in the Henry’s Market center at Base Line Road, just up the road from Victoria Gardens. The interior has an upscale look: There’s a greeter’s station and the decor includes faux-marble tabletops, dark wood chairs and wine bottles behind glass.

The menu has a page with the restaurant’s backstory. I didn’t finish reading it before the waitress arrived but did manage to glean that the same family ran Sal’s Red Devil Pizza prior to this restaurant.

We ordered the seafood linguine ($16) and the cheese ravioli ($9.50). They came with dinner salads, which were basically iceberg lettuce, cheese and olives, with dressing in a small plastic container, as if we’d ordered the food to go. This salad would cost $3.50 if ordered separately.

Now, this is essentially the same salad you get at San Biagio’s in Upland, only San Biagio’s is an unpretentious place where you order at the counter. The Monaco’s salad is kind of a weak for a place with upscale pretensions. The entrees, however, were perfectly acceptable, if not up to the level of the decor.

I went back on my own for lunch to try the pizza. I read a bit more of the Monaco’s story, such as the family’s arrival here around 1960 and someone’s (the mother’s?) employment at Nordstrom, but once again had to order before I could get very far. I ordered a small pizza with anchovies and mushrooms ($14). Pretty good stuff, with generous, quality toppings and a moderately thick, slightly crunchy crust.

My friend Bob, who lives in the neighborhood and recommended the place, especially likes the pizza. If I lived nearby I’d probably go there more frequently. (For one thing, maybe then I could finish reading the family’s story.) But Bob agrees the food is more casual than the decor.

* Update, February 2014: I returned with a friend for dinner and to take photos. He had a calzone, I had a pizza. As with the above, which was with a different friend, neither of us was particularly impressed by the food, only the decor. The calzone was cold in spots and the sauce bland; my pizza was okay but nothing special. And I took a photo of the menu’s “story,” which is also on the Monaco’s website. The same family has owned Sal’s Red Devil Pizza since 1991 and opened Monaco’s in 2006.

 

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  • John Lyons

    Whenever my grandson and I have to go out to dinner just the two of us that is where we go. It is good pizza it is a good dining experience for the whole family they have a private room great for parties. John Lyons Rancho Cucamonga

    [The legendary John Lyons (of Rancho Cucamonga council meeting fame) on my blog! In a weird way, I feel like I've "arrived." Thanks for dropping by, John. -- DA]

  • Scott

    Couldn’t you have just kept the menu after ordering, finished the story and left the menu on the table when you were done????

    [I thought that just as the waitress walked away... DA]

  • Don

    After reading your review and seeing an attractive ad in a local shopping guide we decided to try Monaco’s last weekend. We were disappointed. The lasagna had a bland pink colored sauce, not the dark red tangy sauce that lasagna is supposed to have. My wife said the fettucini alfredo was ok. The bread was smashed thin and the salads were ok.

    Judging by the price and the decor of the dining room I expected more. This food is comparable to the corner discount pizza delivery, who will at least deliver. Monaco’s would not deliver saying they only have a 5 mile delivery ratius. Google and mapquest both put our home 4.5 miles from them. oh well.

    While I don’t think I would ever go back, I am somewhat courious to try the pizza before writing Monaco’s off for good.

    [Your experience wasn't much different from mine. Maybe, like me, you'll think more highly of the pizza. -- DA]

  • Christy

    I was just reading the review and noticed a few errors. First, behind the greeters station is a tile wall, not frosted glass. Second, the table tops are real granite, not faux-marble. Anyways, I love the restaurant and go there all the time.

    [My memory, in the first case, and my knowledge of stone, in the second, let me down. Thanks, Christy. -- DA]