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The level of the monsters you encounter is determined by the Level of the Place you are exploring. Provided that your Level is within the Range you will explore at that level and the monsters you encounter will be that level. After each fight you have the option to move up one to a tougher level or down one to a safer level (so long as that is still within the Level Range). The higher the level the better the loot, and vice versa.
The Monsters can be a little weaker or stronger depending on the word before their name. For example you could encounter a puny Troll, and he would not have good Attack and Defense, but if you meet a colossal Mutant Spider he would have very strong Attack and Defense and may take more than one "hit" to defeat. Bosses always take more than one, sometimes as many as three successful "hits", making them very hard to kill.