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Amidst all of the tourist traps, sketchy seafood joints and chain restaurants, we pleasantly found ourselves at Il Vecchio during a night away in Monterey Bay. I had done a little research ahead of time (scouring Yelp for decent finds) and was really happy we settled on this sweet little spot.

Upon entering, the interior was stunning. The owner (who came up and introduced himself) told us it was previously an antique store and that they had decided to completely gut it and start from scratch. I loved the use of old pictures frames with chalkboards, mismatched chairs in the entrance and the salvaged wood bar with old school diner bar stools.

Ariele [the owner’s daughter] has designed and built the interior by hand, using 95% reclaimed and recycled material. All of the chairs, fixtures and materials used in the construction were collected by Ariele on her road trip across the country in March.

Reservations are recommended. We walked in and had two seats at the bar after a 30 minute wait. It is not a huge space and the intimate dinners they aim to have can be quite lengthy. They do have complimentary red and white wine for customers while waiting which is a huge plus.

I recommend approaching the menu from a sharing standpoint… well actually I do that with most menus because I want a taste of everything! We started with the salumi e formaggi, which had a good mix of Italian cheeses, meats, artichokes and olives. Seeing how much food came in our antipasti portion, we decided to share the gnocchi al gorgonzola mele which had a cream sauce slow cooked with fresh apples. It was heavy for a gnocchi dish but too delicious to stop eating. The tart of the fresh apples added a flavour I had never previously had before with pasta.