The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime, or reserve room for large parties
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Changing station
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu? Yes
Allergy Info: Alert the server so precautions can be taken in the kitchen; Chef Rob always makes sure to have a couple gluten free options on the special menu.
Italian cuisine is a family favorite. Sure we love a fantastic pizza pie, but we also enjoy a variety of Italian dishes. Toledo has many fine Italian restaurants but on this particular Sunday we were anxious for a change of scenery. With Dolce Vita Italian in Monroe, MI having been awarded “Best Italian Restaurant in Monroe” recently we decided to head north.
Chef has Toledo ties
One of my favorite restaurants in Toledo closed some time ago and I haven’t quite gotten over it. I really haven’t. Revolution Grille was truly one of my favorites. Lucky for me, Revolution’s chef is now at Dolce Vita! Chef Rob Campbell is now serving up fabulous Italian just up I-75. Dolce Vita opened in 2000, was purchased in 2007 by current owner Nino Perna, and Chef Campbell joined them in early 2018. Perna’s business partner is Ryan Philbeck.
Come with an appetite
At Dolce Vita you can find the traditional Italian comfort foods that you crave, such as The Trio that my youngest enjoyed. Most people (other than my youngest who has a bottomless pit) would be full halfway through that entrée, which offers lasagna, fettucine alfredo, and chicken parmesan. The classics were done just right. I loved that it was the daily special for only $12.99. Currently Sundays are also all you can eat pasta for only $10.99.
I couldn’t pass up the gnocchi alla vodka in a cream and tomato sauce with pancetta and peas. Ahhh…..it had peas…so it was hands off to my youngest with the allergies. Nicely done on my part! I didn’t have to share my dinner OR my leftovers!
Our two dinners were reasonably priced so I gave the go ahead to my oldest son to order the shrimp scampi for $22. Chef Campbell put a nice spin on an old favorite. Served over ciabatta toast with sauce which included tomato, garlic, basil and olive oil, the dish was oh so good.
At the beginning of our meal we enjoyed lightly breaded calamari. According to owner Nino Perna, “The menu is always changing with the seasons.” As soon as they begin one season Chef Rob is working on the next menu. Perna said they even grow their own garden in the summertime, and try to support the local farms in the area as much as possible.
I have to comment on the bread, however. I am a lover of all breads, rolls, biscuits, doughnuts, bagels, you name it. That being said, we were disappointed in the bread served on each table. We probably asked for three refills because each basket had one tiny slice for each of us, and it was cold. I won’t lie, I was expecting a bit more than that, but nonetheless was glad that was the one lone drawback.
Bring the kids, your date, or the whole gang!
Perna explained it’s a family restaurant so they regularly have many families dining with them. He said that the biggest misconception is that they are a fancy restaurant. (I’ll admit, I was adamant about what my boys wore to dinner.) They are, however, a casual dining establishment and those dressing up a little bit will feel just as comfortable as the person who stops in wearing jeans and a favorite hoodie.
There’s a nice selection on the kids’ menu for those 12 and under and the prices range from $5 to $9 for the shrimp or sirloin. Of course pasta and lasagna are options as well as the fan favorite, chicken tenders. Dinners other than the pasta dishes are also served with fries.
Dolce Vita offers a large private room, seating at least 40, and on the other side of the restaurant is a beautiful chef’s table. Perna said they have custom dinners throughout the week prepared by Chef Campbell just for your group. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun!
Dolce Vita Italian, 391 Telegraph Rd. Monroe, MI 48162
734-241-6100 | monroedolcevita.com