Friday, June 20, 2008

Mona Lisa Smiles!

When it comes to nice restaurants in Norwich that don't fall into the "Pizza Parlor" category, the list is painfully short. Unfortunately, Norwich is just not the restaurant mecca of southeastern Connecticut but I am now happy to say that I have found one more place that serves some excellent food in a nice atmosphere complete with friendly waitstaff - Mona Lisa's Restaurant & Lounge!

During EMS Week last month, I was lucky enough to win a trivia contest and receive a prize in the form of a $100 gift card to Mona Lisa's. I had never been there before so wasn't sure what the food was like or when I was going to use the gift card but I was pretty sure that $100 would buy one heck of a nice meal; I just wasn't sure when I would have occasion to use it. It dawned on me that perhaps Amanda's birthday would warrant the perfect occasion to make use of that particular windfall but when I broached the subject to Amanda and Darci after getting home from work on her birthday neither of them wanted to go! Apparently they had feasted on chicken fingers and fries just before I got home and they just weren't hungry. Oh ...

Still, better late than never as far as birthday celebrations go and we decided to go Thursday evening instead. The girls were told with ample time to plan ahead so as not fill up on anything else and after a brief stop at the Yantic Cemetery so I could take some cloud pictures (yes, more cloud pictures!) we got to the restaurant with plenty of time to beat the dinner rush.

After we were seated and had menus in hand, I told Amanda and Darci that they could order whatever they wanted including an appetizer or two. Amanda's eyes grew big as that's not generally something she hears from me - usually it's more like, "don't go overboard because I'm not made of money! " Given carte blanche with the menu, she was free to choose something she really liked but might not normally get the chance to have. Unfortunately they didn't have her all-time favorite - fried shrimp - on the menu but Amanda loves all sorts of seafood so she decided on the Broiled Seafood Platter. Darci chose one of the evening's specials, Chicken Kiev, and I decided to treat myself to the Surf and Turf with a 12-oz New York strip steak and broiled swordfish - which is one of my all-time favorites!

When the mozzarella sticks and stuffed potato skin appetizers the girls had chosen arrived at the table they immediately dug in but I had to interrupt and tell them to hold up, I needed to take pictures! Darci looked at me a little funny but Amanda, who has been the daughter of a blogger long enough to realize that everything gets photographed, told her that it was okay, it was "a blogging thing and just go with it." In that respect, I believe I have taught her well!

We had a lovely dinner - the food was quite excellent and the portions were more than ample, the waitress was very attentive and offered free refills (take note of that, Mr. Gus!) of our drinks, and the girls really seemed to have a good time even though we weren't at Burger King or the local Chinese buffet or wherever else it is that teenagers like to go!

All in all, it was a lovely evening and I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Mona Lisa's again should the occasion warrant it. Of course, I probably won't have the benefit of a gift card at my disposal the next time but it would be worth paying out of my own pocket! I'd be more than happy to recommend the restaurant to anyone who might be in the Norwich area, too - I'm sure Mona Lisa's could make anyone smile!


  1. Yum - I haven;t had breakfast yet and everything looks great..

    Nothing much is better for dessert than tiramisu!

    Glad you ladies had a good time.

  2. Tiramisu is my favorite (that is if I have a space left in my tummy after a big dinner :o)
    Have a great weekend, Linda!

  3. I LOVE MONA LISA'S! They truly have some AMAZING italian food,the only place I ordered a lasagne and didnt receive a 3"X3" square. I actually got somethign that filled me up! Although, like you said, Norwich has its fill of Italian eateries, Mona Lisa's also has plenty non-Italian food to choose from! Good choices!

  4. how cool you won at trivia!!! score!

    so know that amanda's friends say..."yeah...linda is a cool mom...but when you go out to eat she makes you take pictures with your food?!?!"

    just sayin'

  5. Oh Linda, my mouth is watering! What a wonderful dinner! And how lucky you were to win the $100. :)

  6. It all looks yummy and a freebie too!

  7. I feel like I've just been to dinner with you three. Wow, lucky you to win the $100.00 gift card. I've never won anything that big. All the food looks good. I am glad you all enjoyed yourselves. Just one question -- Any money left? LOL

  8. That looks so good! Isn't it great to go out once in awhile and focus only on the food and not what it costs?

  9. Anonymous10:35 AM EDT

    I also agree. maybe you can treat yourself to like, an in-home massage or something to make up for it. :).Since I am a man I will not submit an idea of how you should indulge yourself. But, I will say that he better bring you back a sandwich!


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