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dcpolicywonk

Cafe Monti, Italian and Austrian (!) on Duke Street & S. Quaker Lane in Alexandria - Closed

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You might give Tempo a try. It has been around a long time and seems to be a neighborhood favorite. I ate there once many years ago and have no recollection of what I had or whether it was any good.

I would give Cafe Monti a try. Very simple place inside but the food is very tasty.

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I would give Cafe Monti a try.  Very simple place inside but the food is very tasty.

I would second this suggestion and I'm surprised that I didn't think of it myself. It's kind of hard to find, across the street from the strip mall with the big Giant. Next to the carpet and mattress places. Viennese I think. Good carryout stuff as well.

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I would second this suggestion and I'm surprised that I didn't think of it myself.  It's kind of hard to find, across the street from the strip mall with the big Giant.  Next to the carpet and mattress places.  Viennese I think.  Good carryout stuff as well.

Yeah it is a combination of Italian and Austrian. If you go, definitely check out the wiener schnitzel and spaetzle.

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The "Austrian" aspect of Cafe Monti is somewhat overplayed, as the vast majority of items on the menu - even the daily specials - are Italian. One of the few Austrian items offered, a lunch portion of Austrian Goulash with Bread Dumplings ($9.95), was very much of a blue-plate special, cafeteria-level plate of food: two chunks of stringy beef accompanied by two mediocre bread dumplings, all sitting in a pool of thin meat-and-tomato sauce. Inspired by Comet Ping Pong's softshell-crab-pizza-eating strategy, I mashed up the bread dumplings in the sauce in order to thicken it a bit. Cafe Monti is a strange animal - something more than a pizza joint, but so flea-bitten and dingy that it's hard to see it as anything else.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I'm sitting here nodding my head, Don. I ate there last summer after passing it by so many times and saying "that's the place everyone talks about!". The inside is dingy and the wall unit a/c could barely keep up with the heat of summer. Our meals were unremarkable and I thought way overpriced for what you get, given the hole-in-the-wall vibe. The bread, however, was fantastic but not made in house. I remember trying to ply them for their source, but they wouldn't give it up. Probably because they re-sell the loaves whole.

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I think it has gone downhill since the original owner/chef sold it. The goulash used to be pretty good, and my husband liked the fish specials. The owner/chef was Vic Kriedl who has a new place, Cafe Tirolo in Ballston, last I heard, although I've never been there.

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This is one the weirdest little hole in the wall restaurants, and I mean this in the best way possible. I don't hear much about it but I think the locals who frequent this place prefer it this way (looks like alot of the business is local carry-out). I want to spread the word that this place is worth a visit and repeat business.

It's a tiny Italian/Austrian place that was originally opened by an Austrian who then sold it to his South Asian Indian employees who have kept on the tradition. I'm no expert in Austrian food, but the goulash I had was delicious - big chunks of beef in a paprika sauce with large matzo ball-like dumplings. My companions had the vegetarian lasagna and salads that all looked freshly prepared. The bread is also really good - crusty with a soft middle. It's so good that they charge for a slice and they also sell the bread (huge round loaves) separately. I also had the raspberry tart topped with large fresh raspberries which was clearly made the same day it was served. I've heard the calamari is good too.

There are daily specials in addition to the typical Italian fare (soups, pastas, pizza, sandwiches) and Austrian items (goulash, wiener schnitzel, pastries). You order and pay up front at the register, then they prepare your food and bring it to you. There is zero ambience and it feels like a small cafeteria. The outward grunge-y appearance belies the fresh food at bargain prices. Parking is limited - a few spots out front.

http://www.cafemonti.com/

3250 Duke Street (near Quaker Lane)

Alexandria, Virginia 22314

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Driving by this evening after work, I noticed all the lights were out and the closed sign hanging up. I've never seen that before there. There was a piece of paper taped on the front door but I was too far away to see what it might be and in the wrong lane to go over and check it out.

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It would be sad if Monti was gone but, in truth, it's been gone for some time. I actually happened in on Vic Kreidl's first day when he took over from the pizza and sub place that preceded him. He had previously cooked at Tiberio downtown. There were two employees, Vic and his Wife who worked the register and made streudel in the tiny kitchen. He planned to continue to do pizza and subs for the lunch crowd then do real food in the evenings at a good price point. Sure did. I swear the schnitzel was priced at 6.99 for the first few years. Great ecals each night. Huge crowds great reviews. A few years on he brought in more staff and a new chef.... Pleading exhaustion....and eventually sold to one of his managers and started all over again at his little place in Ballston. He had a nice ride in that teeny tiny place though and, for a time, his was the coolest spot in West Alexandria.

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Driving by this evening after work, I noticed all the lights were out and the closed sign hanging up. I've never seen that before there. There was a piece of paper taped on the front door but I was too far away to see what it might be and in the wrong lane to go over and check it out.

They don't open until 11 AM. I tried calling now, and nobody answered. Their main website page is down (although to my surprise, some sub-pages on their website are still up). If someone could confirm that they're closed, I'll change the title and the dining guide. I know this probably doesn't mean much to many people, but it's a little sad to me (I silently grieve each time an independent restaurant closes).

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At Monti's height, there was a line out the door with new arrivals craning their necks to see what Vic has condescended (nice guy but quite conscious of his own talents) to put on the menu that evening and at what astonishingly reasonable price-point...the place was a gem.

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On 2/10/2012 at 9:16 AM, DonRocks said:

(I silently grieve each time an independent restaurant closes).

Possibly a reminder for us all to visit Cafe Tirolo, which hasn't seem to have fallen off the same way Cafe Monti did.

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My understanding is that Vic retired some years ago and left the restaurant in the hands of Koreans who were trained to make his recipes. I went there maybe 6 months after he left and the food was still good. Haven't really been there recently but it is still open.

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new banner hanging across the front of the old Cafe Monti location. A restaurant called Maggio's is opening soon and it says it will be serving Italian and Greek cuisine.

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