By Dora McCann Guerreiro | East Village Biz News
With April arrives a delicious new way to load up on carbs. Monzu Fresh Pasta, a casual eatery combining Italian tradition with contemporary flavors, will open at 455 10th Ave. in East Village at the end of April. The restaurant will serve authentic Italian fresh pastas and sauces crafted in-house, while offering a retail section featuring Italian delicatessen products and raw fresh pastas to cook at home.
Monzu Fresh Pasta is the family-owned creation of husband-wife team Aldo de Dominicis Rotondi and Serena Romano, an Italian duo who share a strong belief in the slow food movement. Prior to entering the restaurant business, de Dominicis Rotondi flexed his degrees in economics and public policy as a policy researcher for a member of British Parliament. After earning her Ph.D. in social research, Romano worked as a researcher at the University of Oxford and the University of Naples in Italy.
Despite their professional backgrounds, the pair have always been drawn to the art of cooking, finding inspiration in family recipes and regional cuisines. Having trained with master pasta makers in Liguria, Italy as part of Monzu Fresh Pasta’s planning process, de Dominicis Rotondi and Romano will lead the kitchen in creating a menu that will follow centuries-old pasta-making techniques and flavors inspired by Italian regions including Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia and more.
“Fresh pasta is the quintessential comfort food in Italy. We are really excited to bring this authentic, affordable Italian staple to San Diego,” said de Dominicis Rotondi, who added that choosing to launch in San Diego was easy. “We came to San Diego in 2015 for one of Serena’s academic conferences and fell in love with the city. We had no doubts when it came to picking the place for this new venture.”
Guests can expect a wide range of rotating pastas — like ravioli, tonnarelli and tagliatelle — and house sauces such as Bolognese and basil and pine nut pesto. Monzu’s menu will feature daily and seasonal specials alongside oft-changing regional recipes, and several dishes will cater to dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan diets. For those who have trouble choosing, Monzu will also offer pasta flights.
“Fresh made pasta is different from anything you can buy at a supermarket,” Romano explained. “We hope our customers will appreciate its distinct taste and texture. We also hope to familiarize locals with the regional varieties of pastas and sauces that we have in Italy. There are so many we cannot even count them!”
Part of creating these fresh dishes is using local ingredients, two examples being humanely produced, antibiotic-free eggs from Gonestraw Farms and fine cheeses from Venissimo Cheese.
“We love how much local businesses take pride in their products. The quality is reflected in the mesmerizing taste,” Romano added.
Pastas will be available as a convenient grab-and-go option and can also be enjoyed within Monzu’s casual, Mediterranean-inspired dining room, which will feature a sunny yellow color scheme and botanical accents. Watch for a possible garage door-style window that may open to additional sidewalk seating.
For those hoping to bring the taste home, Monzu Fresh Pasta will also offer a retail section wherein guests will find “cotto” (cooked) and “crudo” (raw) fresh pastas for home preparation alongside imported delicatessen items like extra virgin olive oil, cured meats, Italian cheeses, panettone and taralli.
“We love the food scene in San Diego and are looking forward to getting in touch with the locals,” Romano said. “Downtown is home to a wonderful community of young professionals and students that we are sure will love what Monzu Fresh Pasta will have to offer.”