As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the first and third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!
I love when I travel and I get to go to some great local places to experience some fantastic regional favorites. Just as much, I love to tell people my favorite places when they are visiting Boston or New England. But getting to discover new places always is the best. And thankfully, Price’s Dad, Tom, was so eager to show us around to his favorite places when we were visiting him in AZ for Thanksgiving. So after several hours strolling around the World Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium, we went to Monti’s La Casa Vieja in Tempe.
Monti’s La Casa Vieja has been around for over 120 years and is connected to a really pasts since it was first built in 1871. Charles Trumbull Hayden built the original adobe hacienda as a home when he settled in the area to establish a flourmill and a ferry service for crossing the Salt River. Over time that home transformed and grew into a hotel, blacksmith shop, post office, general store, and then a restaurant. After the Hayden family moved to a new home in the 1890s, they began referring to hacienda as La Casa Vieja – Spanish for “The Old House.” Originally, the community became known as Hayden’s Ferry, but in the late 1880s, the name changed to the Vale of Tempe, and few years later, the town’s name was officially changed to Tempe.
Since the 1890’s, a restaurant of some sort has been operated at La Casa Vieja as it was convenient to e to those who had traveled a great distance to use the flourmill or ferry service. It was run by the Hayden daughters until the 1930s. The details about the restaurants at La Casa Vieja are sketchy from the Great Depression through 1954 as it was run by several owners.
In 1954, La Casa Vieja was purchased by Leonard F. Monti, who had been operating a 13-stool diner in Chandler since 1946. Monti opened his new restaurant, “Monti’s La Casa Vieja”, for business in April 1956, after waiting for tenant’s lease to expire. Since then it has been run by members of the Monti family. Today, Monti’s La Casa Vieja serves approximately 500,000 customers annually.
Our server was pulling double duty be being out waiter as well as the bartender on the quiet afternoon. We didn’t get there until 3.30 from the zoo so it was during the afternoon lull so it worked out well that we got great seats by the window and fast service. The waiter was so nice and it didn’t hurt that it made a really great banana strawberry daiquiri.
It was so hard not to fill up on the bread that was brought out to us. It was similar to a focaccia bread but was less oily and was a slight bit denser. The bread was topped off with fresh rosemary and the the scent was perfuming the table as it was served warm. I could have eaten the whole basket, but thankfully I saved room for the real deal!
The reason why Tom brought us to Monti’s was for their filet mignons. He was raving about their filet lunch deal and how you get a great steak for a fantastic price. And it was not just about the price as they didn’t skimp on quality.
I had Monti’s Classic Lunch Filet for $12 which was a 5oz filet served with cheesy garlic bread, a side, and cheesy garlic toast. Price and Tom had the regular Arizona Raised 7 oz Filet Mignon for $22. Their dishes came with 2 sides, which they had a side salad and loaded baked potato. Either entrees could have been wrapped with applewood smoked bacon for an additional $2. I think that with a great cut of meat you don’t’ need to add a lot to it so I skipped the bacon.
The three of us split a side of onions and mushrooms. These went perfectly with the steak. Each bite was loaded with flavor from the juicy steak, caramelized onions, and the meaty mushrooms. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare with a nice char on the outside and a tender, juicy interior.
I highly recommend going to Monti’s for their filet’s. It was a great deal and, best of all, it was a fantastic meal.
100 South Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85281
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