Went to Monica's in the North End on Friday evening. I had never been there before. Reports on the board here seem to classify it in the "reasonably good" category. After my visit, I'd agree. I typically go to Pomodoro's and to Artu, both of which I've always enjoyed and thought to be a decent value.
We had reservations for 8 o'clock and were early but they were able to seat us immediately. The room was about 1/2 full, which surprised me on a Friday evening. Room is relatively pleasant, with neutral toned decor.
I ordered a glass of chianti by the glass (I think it was $8) which was fine. They served us Italian bread with a white bean dip which I liked.
We ordered a grilled calamari app, a goat cheese/carmelized onion and cured meat pizza type app, two house style salads ($8). I ordered the white fish entree ($25) and my friend ordered the chicken with asparagus ($21).
Our waitress was pleasant and friendly and checked in with us several times. There was some confusion as I ordered my dressing on the side and then my friend decided to do the same a few moments after the waitress had taken our order -- when he asked to make the change, she said she'd have to check and see if they were already made. She asked if I also wanted it on the side and I said "yes, which is how I ordered it" and she looked perplexed. But salads arrived with it on the side so all was fine. Salads were extremely standard -- leaf lettuce, cherry tomato, carrot shavings and purple onion rings with a standard evoo dressing. Can't complain but after the lovely salads some places do, you can't help but wonder if it couldn't be made a little better.
App pizza was tasty although small. App calamari was extremely simple (Three large pieces and 3-4 small octupi on the platter and that's it) and a generous amount, but extremely difficult to cut. Perhaps if it were served in smaller pieces? Entrees were fine. My fish was good although not exceptional, with lots of french style green beans in a lot of olive oil. Served with tomatoes. My friend said his chicken was all right, although he did not finish it.
Decat Coffee was delicious -- except -- it tasted so good I wondered if she had given me caffeinated. This seemd to be the case based on my state of alertness hours later.
So all in all, an OK place. I know the North End is overpriced and I would say this was no great value, but was a decent meal and pleasant experience. I haven't tried Sage which everyone seems to love, so I'd likely go there instead next time or back to my old stand-bys.