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Monica's is the quintessential family-run Italian restaurant. It's named after the mother of the family, the one whose fresh pasta and sandwich recipes are the basis of the business. Her four sons and one daughter are the cooks and waiters, as well as the artists who decorated the restaurant with its faux-stained-glass wall tiles, cartoon sketches, and nun illustrations (monaca is the Italian word for nun).

On the lunch menu are salads ($3.25 to $5.25), Monica's homemade pasta ($8.95 to $10.95), subs and sandwiches ($3 to $5.25), and grilled meat and fish ($7.95 to $11.95). The sandwich with grilled prosciutto and provolone cheese ($4.25) is warm and delectable; a welcome surprise are the perfectly crisp french fries ($1.25), which are lightly seasoned with fresh pepper.

Monica's is moderately priced for dinner, with dishes ranging from $4 to $13; the extensive menu includes gnocchi, pork chops, pasta, veal, steak, and seafood. Monica's salumería (butcher shop), which is across the street from the restaurant, is scheduled to open later this spring.

Monica's, located at 67 Prince Street (North End), in Boston, is open daily from noon to 10 p.m. Call 720-5472.

-- Theresa Regli

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