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“Great ultra-local, seasonal food in Davis” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Monticello Seasonal Cuisine

Monticello Seasonal Cuisine
630 G Street, Davis, CA
+1 530-792-8066
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Ranked #94 of 178 restaurants in Davis
Cuisines: Organic
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Davis, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great ultra-local, seasonal food in Davis”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2012

This wasn't my first time eating here, but a recent experience:

Rhonda and Tony have created a wonderful restaurant for the die-hard locavores in Davis. They have taken over the space abandoned by the former owners of Osaka sushi, just north of the Davis Food Co-op.

Monticello's produce come from a Capay Valley farm (Fiddler's Green) that also graces the Davis Farmer's Market. The meat is also locally sourced and humanely raised. To further their local bona fides, Tony and Rhonda also support local art by providing wall-space to foodie photographers for the Second Friday ArtAbout (full disclosure: my photos are currently showing for display only).

The space is well-designed and has a friendly feel. And for those who liked the food at the Bistro served at the Farmer's Market... well this is amazing. The menu changes weekly to reflect seasonal food. At my last dinner, I had the pan-fried gnocchi with a wild mushroom ragout. What a blissful experience! I don't think I'll be able to have gnocchi anywhere else. While I understand that the sauce will change, Rhonda assures me that the gnocchi are on the menu to stay. Fantastic. They also do a pretty impressive burger, and served it the way I ordered it: rare (it is not common for restaurants to do this). They can do this, because the meat is from a reputable source and does not need to be sterilized.

Now, I've read some reviews about how long the food took. I'll admit that I had to wait a while. But, hey, Rhonda and Tony are proud to be members of the Slow Food movement (even starting a new Davis/UC Davis chapter). This means food is made from scratch and cooked to order. Nothing is waiting under heat-lamps.

I highly recommend coming here and supporting a local restaurant that gives back to the community. If you go with the right expectations (remember, Slow Food), you'll love it. And if you are starving, order an appetizer,

  • Visited February 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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14 reviews from our community

50% Recommend
    5
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    3
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Possibly the worst dining experience I have ever had.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2012

We came for dinner on a Saturday night. The restaurant was at about 70% capacity. We ordered two entrees and a side and then proceeded to wait about 40min for our food, with no updates from the server. The server finally told us that our food was about to come out, which it did about 5min later. At that point we mentioned our disappointment with the wait to the server; she was apologetic and said she'd send over the manager.

The manager came over and was immediately confrontational. When my wife explained the situation, the manager simply stated that the restaurant was very busy (although it was only at 70% capacity) and that orders were taking a long time to come out. At that point I stated that it would be good for them to mention the wait times up front so that diners could set their expectations. She replied that there was no way for her at the front of the house to know how long food would take to come out from the back of the house. (!) I repeated this back to her to make sure I heard right, and she confirmed it.

Let me repeat that: According to their manager, their front of the house (including all servers and the manager) have no idea how the kitchen is doing and therefore cannot tell you how long it will take food to come out.

The main thing was her very confrontational and hostile attitude. We are generally very nice people who try to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'm not used to having anyone working at a restaurant be so openly hostile to me. It was very off-putting and it ruined the whole dinner as a result. The server checked in us afterwards and again was very nice - she tried to comp us a dessert but at that point we weren't interested. (I still left a good tip as I don't believe in punishing the waitstaff for the manager's bad behavior.)

I would not recommend that anyone dine here. It's one thing if someone makes a mistake one night - it happens to everyone. However, if the manager of the restaurant is immediately hostile to legitimate complaints, that's a big problem.

Visited February 2012
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Davis, Ca.
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Davis has its first slow food restaurant.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2012

Where does our food come from?

There is no problem in answering the question at Monticello, a restaurant in line with the International Slow Food Movement: local farms, local wineries. Organic, sustainable are key words. Chef-owner Tony is as sensitive about his preparations as he is about the quality of his ingredients. From the whole wheat house made flatbread to the Fiddler’s Green (the farm that supplies Monticello with most of its produce) carrots, turnips and penne with arugula pesto, everything is fresh, tasting like right out of my mother’s garden not to mention the juicy Neiman flatiron. The pickled herring is as good as it gets. Be surprised for surprises if you go. Seasonal and what is available on a weekly basis determines the menu!

Monticello opened a year ago. Diners are met with an especially warm greeting at the door. Having dined there several times in the past months, it is clear that the staff has the kitchen to table organization down. Servers are kind and caring. Tony mingles with the clientele as food preparations allow.

It is wonderful to have a fine dining restaurant, one not necessarily geared to the pocketbook of the UC Davis students. Some say the prices are too high, but the annual income of Davis residents is reportedly higher than the national median. Prices are in line with nearby establishments of fine dining caliber. Davis has a plethora of restaurants that suit student pocketbooks!

Wonderful tasting of menu wines or local winemakers are a weekly event as is the incredible music of Bob Wren on Fridays. Slow food restaurants create social gatherings of food conscious people. Monticello is no exception.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Davis, California
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Beautiful space, great food, unusual local wine list, reasonable prices”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2012

This is one of the best restaurants in Davis. All the food is locally sourced. Everything seems to be very fresh. The portions are generous. Great atmosphere--quiet, friendly, colorful art on the walls, plenty of space between tables. Give them a try!

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Northern California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2011

Have been here several times, most recently for their special Thanksgiving dinner. Their food is like home cooking - if you bought all your food at the local farmers' market, and were a really good and creative cook. The restaurant is relatively new, so sometimes there's a few kinks but I always enjoy eating here. The owners are great people and have put a lot into making the restaurant a special and unique place. Every course of the generous Thanksgiving dinner was excellent, including the fabulous desserts, with enough left over for snacking the next day. The food was also healthy and wholesome and I didn't end up with that overstuffed feeling all too common after holiday meals. Monticello's a great addition to the improvinng Davis restaurant scene.

Visited November 2011
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