MONTE CARLO PINOCCHIO RESTAURANT: Pasta with a side of Creepy Puppets

3103 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505

What could be more delightful than chowing down on delicious Italian food surrounded by a gaggle of creepy marionette memorabilia? Well, apparently nothing, according to Monte Carlo's Deli, which has been haunting Burbank with their Pinocchio doll collection and hearty cuisine for decades.


What looks like a seemingly normal Italian food joint, is actually a dark journey into the demented mind of Geppetto, but with better food, and this place isn't messing around with the theme at hand here. This is 100% Pinocchio fever.montecarlospinocchio_dolls2

That's right folks, people with doll-phobia and those who covered their eyes during Child's Play need not apply, but the good news is that you'll never feel like you're dining alone in these parts. A trip to Monte Carlo's means that you've got "friends" in every corner, staring at your meal with their dead eyes, waiting for you to drop that piece of garlic bread and ready to pounce. It's all slightly unnerving, but maybe I've watched too many horror movies.


The food is your standard Italian fare-- pizza, pasta, salads, antipasto, etc  -- all served cafeteria style by a gang of friendly servers. It's spicy, satisfying, plentiful and the dollar will get you pretty far in the buffet line.


This monstrous slice of Lasagna only cost me about $8, money which I can only assume goes to buying tiny hats and bow ties for the dolls.


Remember: You gotta keep those wooden fellas happy and looking dapper, or else...


Just look at those savory carbs glistening under the hot lights. Food porn at its finest; a God damn work of art. 


Dolls aside, the decor certainly screams "We're an Italian restaurant!" and it's impressively spacious. You've got multiple rooms for dining-- which makes for plenty of customer seating-- classic checkerboard table mats, wine jugs, red booths and brick walls to boot. Definitely looks like the kind of place Joe Pesci would pummel somebody after they've told him to go get his shinebox.


Wander around the joint, and soak in those authentic Italian vibes all you want, but it's hard to shake those creepy puppets off. They're lurking in every corner, watching your every move, and ready to steal your soul--or at least your half eaten cannoli--at any point.


There's also a decently sized market in the midst of this madness, selling everything from banana peppers to fancy Italian desserts, which is perfect for a clean getaway. Don't feel like dining amongst the evil dolls? No problem, just grab a sandwich and be on your merry way out the door in 5 minutes flat.   


And if the dolls weren't weird enough, wait till you get a load of the wall art. This stuff is more creepy and unappetizing than a dinner party at Jeffrey Daumer's.


there's this classic


and these two


and....good god! The puppets are back!


But let's get to the real question on everyone's mind:  what happens inside this place at night? Do the puppets come to life and have a party? do they say grace and feast on whatever table scraps are lying around? Maybe they just get drunk off the fine wine and discuss world domination? Either way, I'm staying the hell away from the place when the sun goes down.