89 Main Street, Peapack
Hours: Daily, 11 am–10 pm
Style: Intimate Abruzzo-style Italian restaurant housed in an early-20th-century Peapack residence with a beautiful stairwell and cozy fireplaces. The tablecloths, napkins and waiters’ coats are all stark white, while Italian landscapes on the walls add splashes of color and warmth.
Don’t Miss: The complimentary small plates of sliced sopressata and spiced zucchini, as well as a basket of crisped, thin, garlic-seasoned crackers and warm, toasted bread and fresh Parmigiano-reggiano, right from the wheel. The Black Angus aged-steak carpaccio with light gorgonzola sauce ($12.95) is wonderfully light, and not to be missed. The mesclun salad with oranges, avocado and shrimp in a raspberry dressing ($12.95) is a perfectly citrusy precursor for the heavier pastas to come, such as the ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms in black-truffle sauce ($29). The four-cheese gnocchi ($19.95) is another good choice. To finish off the meal, the mascarpone limoncello cake ($8.95), is delightfully flavorful yet not overly sweet. It is served with a dollop of regular whipped cream and one of light mascarpone, garnished with a kiwi slice.
The Scoop: Il Monello is the sister restaurant to Il Mulino in New York City, which has the same menu. The Jersey establishment offers the same delicious meal for nearly half the price.
Heads Up: Il Monello is BYO. If you haven’t planned ahead, just stroll down historic Main Street to the nearby liquor store. Parking is in the back, and event rooms are available upstairs.