Monelli | The naughtiness of Neapolitan pizza

If you are happy with plastic mozzarella and artichokes out of a can then Monelli may not be the place for you

rachelzc
Rachel Zammit Cutajar
22 June 2014, 11:17am
Enjoy the thick soft base of a Neapolitan pizza topped with the best Sicilian ingredients
Enjoy the thick soft base of a Neapolitan pizza topped with the best Sicilian ingredients
Pizza is the ultimate comfort food. However you do not have to go down the fast food route to enjoy a gourmet pizza. At Monelli in Paceville, a pizza is as good a meal as you can get.

Though summer has hit the Maltese shores and eating outside seems to be the order of the day, when the midday heat gets too much, why not take a break from the sun and charge your batteries with a superb meal – even if it ‘just a pizza’.

As you go through the automatic doors you are immediately transported to a Sicilian world, where food is the most important part of the day. Whether its lunch or dinner, the restaurant is always packed with locals and Italians, many of whom are repeat customers.
Brothers Ricky and Luca, who also own Tana del Lupo across the road, and their team of Italian pizzaiolos, waiters and staff are sure to draw you into their world of bustling Sicilian life. 

The cool, modern décor draws you in to a world where food is the number one priority
The cool, modern décor draws you in to a world where food is the number one priority
The décor is simple with modern tables, cutlery and glassware. You can choose to sit inside or on the terrace outside. Sicilian antipasti and various meats are on display and catch your eye as soon as you walk into the restaurant, making your mouth water from the word go.
If the antipasti do not whet your appetite then the specials board will give it a second go with innovative pasta dishes and fantastic meat treats.

The star of Monelli’s menu however is the pizza. Cooked in a wood-fired oven, the Neapolitan pizzas have a thicker and softer base than the traditional pizza. What sets this pizza apart from the rest however is toppings.

Imported directly from Sicily you can choose from a selection of mozzarella di buffala, San Daniele parma ham, ricotta salata, provolone, scamorza and many other Italian treats that are hard to come by on the island.

The best way to enjoy these pizzas is to share with friends to get to taste a combination of different toppings. You can also have two different selections of toppings on the same pizza. For the non-meat eaters, vegetarian options are also available and are just as tasty as the meat-loaded pizzas.

Although it is difficult to keep yourself from polishing off the entire pizza, save some room for dessert. The scugnizzi – deep-fried pizza balls covered in warm nutella or pistachio cream - are impossible to resist.

I can never decide whether I prefer the chocolate covered balls or the pistachio ones so the only option is to order one portion of each!
A great meal is not complete without an accompanying glass – or bottle – of wine and in this area Monelli does not disappoint. The extensive wine list is as good as its sister restaurant across the road, from a glass of the cheap and cheerful stuff you can drink in large quantities to the more expensive wines to sip and savour. 

The service is usually quick and the staff is attentive and willing to bend the rules to keep the customer happy. However when the restaurant is busy, things take a little longer.

The prices are not cheap, compared with other pizza places, however the ingredients aren’t either, so if you take the attitude that you get what you pay for, the prices seem a lot more reasonable.

If you are happy with plastic mozzarella and artichokes out of a can then Monelli may not be the place for you, however if you can appreciate the oozing, weepy mozzarella di buffala and other top notch ingredients, there will be no other pizza after Monelli.
Monelli is open daily for lunch and dinner between 12:15 and 15:00 and 19:15 and midnight.

Monelli
Monelli, Wilga Street, Paceville.
Tel: 21360036 / 21360037


rachelzc
Rachel Zammit Cutajar graduated in economics from the University of Malta...