I love Puglia and I love Monti, so, theoretically, I should love Pugliamonti, an organic vegetarian restaurant that opened in my neighborhood last summer 2009. I visited in late March with Mamma Parla and my friend Jessica and, while there were certain things about the place that I liked very much (the homemade durum wheat bread, delectable focaccia, and well chosen Puglia-driven wine list, to name a few), there wasn’t anything that I truly loved.

The tris di burrata starter was fine, though the accompanying sauces did nothing for/with the cheese in the way semi-sun dried tomatoes or a coarsely ground black pepper would have. The grilled goat cheese and pumpkin puree’ was decent, but not mind-blowing.

For our first course, my mom and I both ordered pasta fatta in casa with artichokes and ricotta scante. The sauce was insanely heavy and there was none of the pungent fermented gym sock stench and associated mouth burning that accompanies a respectable ricotta scante. The dish was bland and unnecessarily heavy.

Jessica’s cheese stuffed cannelloni were deep fried. I found that super weird and, not surprisingly, delicious. Granted, I’ve never seen such a thing in Puglia, but who cares! It’s deep fried carbs stuffed with fat and therefore amazing.

In sum, the food was alright but, like too many vegetarian restaurants I have encountered, the kitchen makes up for the lack of meat by making the dishes heavy and heart stopping. One grappa was insufficient to burn off all the fat from that meal, so we walked, or more accurately lumbered, the long way home.

Pugliamonti is located at Via Urbana 104 (the old Mexico al 104 location from back in the day). The food is moderately priced and at lunch there is a prix fixe menu that includes a pasta, a vegetable side dish, and fruit for € 9.