After a long awaited and anticipated reopening, the popular Italian restaurant, Il Monello is back. Located at 337 East 49th Street, it is the loving project of veteran Restauranteur Steve Haxhiaj and Executive Chef Jaime Chabla who have a long history with the original eatery.
Many remember the original Il Monello, which was opened in 1974 by Adi Giovanetti. The NYC staple served Manhattan’s well-heeled and savvy diners with delicious northern Italian cuisine for over three decades. There was great fanfare when the restaurant received a 3-Star rating from The New York Times. When Giovanetti retired in 2001, the restaurant was entrusted to Steve Haxhiaj, who had worked under Giovanetti from busboy to waiter and then manager in the decade of his tenure. The restaurant unfortunately closed in 2008 due to losing the lease.
Fourteen years later, Haxhiaj and Chabla have reimagined the well-missed institution. Chef Chabla is a seasoned chef with twenty-plus years of experience working in some of the finest kitchens where he honed his skills. Chabla came to the United States from Ecuador in 1992, in search of new opportunities and to pursue his love of the culinary industry. His passion for the restaurant business began with his first job working as a dishwasher in a restaurant. He is now the executive chef at the Tuscany Steakhouse, located in Midtown, where he runs back of house and where Haxhiaj runs the front. Haxhiaj and Chabla work closely together to curate menus that are created with the highest quality ingredients and where every dish is made from scratch.
Together they are bringing back some of the acclaimed dishes from the original Il Monello and adding some new dishes from the duo’s experience at Tuscany Steakhouse.
Filled with classic Italian dishes, the menu includes a wide range of antipasti, pasta and seafood and meat options. The pasta dishes, in particular, are a must-try, with options like the Linguini Vongole, Cacio e Pepe and Fettuccine al Ragù all making an appearance. The U.S.D.A. Prime Dry Aged steaks are also a highlight, with a variety of cuts to choose from. And for those looking for something sweet, the signature desserts certainly satisfy. There is also an extensive and thoughtful wine list and expertly made cocktails.
In addition to the tasty food, Il Monello also has a warm, intimate, and inviting atmosphere. The restaurant is decorated in a classic Italian style, with a distinct modern European vibe, and a welcoming staff. White tablecloths and cozy seating are upscale, yet not stuffy or pretentious. It’s the perfect balance of excellent service, ambiance and gastronomy.