Hospites sacri sunt. Ristorante Monna Lisa’s owner, Maurizio Bracci, holds true to his restaurant's motto, espousing the sanctity of hospitality. Maurizio is a warm and welcoming host, who turns hospitality into a fine art. The atmosphere is casual, familial - we are at home at his table. The dining room, with walls the color of corn and table linens the color of wheat, sets the tone for meals that celebrate the bounty of the territorio. Below is another dining room, an old-fashioned taverna where private parties can be accommodated and simpler, traditional peasant fare is offered. The centuries-old wine barrels were impossible to move from the structure where they began their life, so when Maurizio restored the tavern, he simply incorporated them into the walls, where, he says, they will remain.
Menu offerings include both fish from Lake Trasimeno, specialties from the sea, or dishes typical of the Umbrian-Tuscan region of Italy. Their tagliere antipasto, a wooden platter with a bounty of local salami and cured meats, bruschette and variously aged Tuscan pecorino cheeses, could have easily been subject for a still life painting, had we left it untouched. Not possible. Choosing to sample a little of the sea, a little of the land was a good way to proceed. Most memorable were the gnocchetti all’ortica con polpa di granchio e capesante – tiny green gnocchi bathed in a creamy tomato sauce made with crabmeat and scallops. We did not stray far when selecting a wine. The hillside vineyards of the lake region, Colli di Trasimeno, produce a grechetto that is superb – a dry, white wine that whispers of white fruit: peaches, pears and even of bananas.
Ristorante Monna Lisa is a family-run restaurant, with wife Josefina in the kitchen making an art of her cooking. Each course arrives at the table, skillfully prepared and artfully plated. Her dessert of macedonia spills from a waffle cone reminiscent of a cornucopia, accompanied by ice cream, whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar – not simply served, but presented as a gift!
Gift yourself a meal at this delightful restaurant!