Just paces away from the best eating houses in Galway, this pleasant restaurant is one of the city's least known but most authentic Italian restaurants. A Sicillian style neighbourhood restaurant with dark wood tables and chairs and the typically open kitchen with busy chef, Mona Lisa Café & Restaurant is situated in the heart of Galway’s West End right across the road from The Crane Bar and Massimo, serving up authentic Italian food in a warm atmosphere with great staff and friendly faces.
In the West End there is no need to make the trip over the bridge when you have such a wealth of choice on your doorstep. There is the elegant Aniar, maybe Kashmir for something more spicy, or the friendly folk in Pearla na Mara to visit, and more. Mona Lisa, set on the main drag, is among the most popular of these dining options. This restaurant serves a wide range of traditional, homemade, Italian dishes and classic Italian wines. Many of the staff are Italian, further adding to the authentic vibe of this dining experience.
There is always a warm welcome, we were quickly seated and brought some water and a basketful of lovely bread while we perused the menu. We chose the calamari fritti and parmiggiana all a Sicilian to start. My baked aubergine layered with delightfully stringy Scamorza cheese and tomato and basil sauce was a bowl of pure comfort, while the semolina battered squid was pronounced the best ever eaten, high praise indeed.
The specials menu was filled with good things of the season - the cooking is as passionate as the menu is extensive in choice, while maintaining the depth of flavours. It expertly incorporates the fundamentals of regional Italian cuisine with special care and attention to detail so that you can enjoy the best of Italy in this relaxed, cosy, atmosphere.
The importance of restaurants to our communities is often overlooked. They provide employment to not just the people working directly, like the chefs and front of house staff, by the nature of the business they need many inputs. They are supplied by fishermen, farmers, and butchers. Most of these foodstuffs will usually come from within a short distance of the restaurant, so when you spend money in a restaurant which uses local suppliers, much of your money will go back into that community. Mona Lisa is just that sort of community restaurant.
If you like authenticity in food, good-quality ingredients, and simple cooking that brings the qualities of those ingredients to the fore, then you'll like Mona Lisa. For reliability, consistency and great food at reasonable prices, Mona Lisa gets full marks.