353 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.798620 -122.407645
Neighborhoods: Northeast, North Beach
my favorite! – I love this restaurant. It has a great decor, and yummy food. I would eat there every day if I could afford it. there are a million choices to choose from. make a resa if you can!
Horrible service – The food was horrible, but worse, their service was a nightmare. It's a shame that I still have to give them one-star because there is no non-star rating in the system. They don't deserve any star!!! When we asked for a check after our meal, the server had us wait for 30 minutes and the restaurant wasn't all that busy!!! When we asked them to split the check because we needed split checks, the server and the manager exchanged Italian profanity. I smiled as if I didn't understand the Italian, but f$#@ them! Please don't go there, or at least if you go there, don't tip'em.
Bland food, slow service – As out-of-town tourists, we seemed to be the perfect target for this joint. Their menu looked impressive and we made an impulsive decision to stop by. While the restaurant was not full at all, our service was very s_l_o_w. We even thought of walking out a couple of times. The wine we ordered was not in stock, finding a replacement took the server another 30 minutes. The salad that I ordered was just perfectly fine, not horrible, but not memorable either. The gnocchi that I ordered were bland and the sauce too rich. They completely overcooked my husband's pasta. We were ready to go and have dessert somewhere else but the server must have sensed our frustration and brought chocolate dessert on the house which was delicious. That nice gesture on his part brought our tip back to the normal level but we're definetely not coming back. If I am paying $100 for a dinner for 2, I expect both more than mediocre food and responsive service, especially not on a busy night.
Best atmosphere, largest menu in North Beach's Little Italy – I've been to San Francisco 4 times, and I've been to Mona Lisa 6 times. It is now a regular stop for me everytime I'm in town. I've tried branching out to other Italian restaurants nearby, but it's never quite as good. My favorite dishes are the pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter sauce and the gorgonzola gnocchi. If you're going for quantity, you'll be more full from the gnocchi as the 5 ravioli servings aren't as big. The only dish I've ever been disappointed with was the pesto chicken rigatoni because the chicken was overcooked. I dare you to compare menus with another restaurant and find something as extensive. They had about 10 creations of each type of pasta - 10 gnocchi dishes, 15 spaghettis, 10 fettuccinis, 10 pennes,... I've been to Italy once, and in my opinion, Mona Lisa is as authentic as it gets in California. The atmosphere is unique in North Beach - not a typical restaurant with a slick bar and neon lights. You feel like you found a truly authentic place a few blocks away from the Roman Colosseum. The interior decor stirs feelings of "old Italy" with paintings of famous Italian oil paintings on the ceiling and Italian busts along the walls.
Fabulous service!!! – This is a wonderful restaurant with great service! The owner was so personable and friendly! I have been to Italy and I have to say that the food at this place is just as good as the food there. I would definately recommend this restaurant to anyone who is looking for great food and wonderful service!
As a tourist, this was great for me – During my trip to San Francisco, I unfortunately had terrible luck with restaurants. Besides being overpriced, I felt like the food wasn't anything special - at least not the way everyone talked it up. So it's not surprising to me that my dinner at Mona Lisa was the best meal I had in the three days I was there.
I had the gnocchi with gorganzola and it was creamy and delicious. I was absolutely starving and cleaned my plate. I just couldn't get enough. After the meal I had the tiramisu, which was one of the best I've ever had (nothing beats Dolce Vita in Riverview, Mich. though).
Overall I think it was a great meal and was very happy with the experience. I can see how it is very touristy, but as a tourist it worked for me.
Bland food, so so service – This was a disappointing experience. True, only emergency-level hunger could lure an SF native and longtime resident into a tourist trap on Columbus Street. But still, we expected the food to be decent. The wine was quite good, but the spinach salad was very bland. I ordered risotto with eggplant, which has a tomato-based sauce. It was almost tasteless and did not agree with me for whatever reason and I spent the rest of the night miserable. The service was slow, even though the restaurant was not overly crowded. One plus is there is a lot of bad, knock off art to look at. But I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone, native or tourist. Also, I thought the waiter would have been gracious to at least ask whether I liked my meal given that I left most of it on my plate and didn't ask for it to go.
blahhhh – I think this place has a lot of personality and is obviously loved by many but I was far from impressed with their food. The wine we had was ok, but everything from the salad, bread to our main courses and even dessert was nothing special. The cesar salad had no flavor and the marinara pasta sauce was very bland. I was very dissapointed as I had high hopes for this cute restaurant.
Worst Ciopino I have had to date. – I just had ate the Ciopino at Mona Lisa. Since they have a show kitchen, I watched as they made it.
I was very suprised to see them cook seafood for 1/2 an hour. When the Ciopino arrived, it was so cooked down, I had to add my entire 16 oz glass of water to it to make it edible. The seafood was way over cooked. At $25.95, it's the most expensive Ciopino on Columbus.
As a Ciopino lover, this is one of the worst I have had.
Great service!!!!!!!!! – All I have to say is DELICIOUS, the food is out of this world! The restaurant has a lovely ambiance and the staff is really superb, especially the young couple (I believe they are married...)that often wait on me. I am a regular and look foward to everytime I get to go to Monalisa. Try it, I know you'll make it your favorite place to dine too.
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