Motivated by the success of their first restaurant, the beachside Caffé Delfini in Santa Monica, co-founders Alessandro Ercoli and Gianpietro Silardi joined forces with Franco Lupinacci to expand their culinary expertise to Beverly Hills. The result of their collaboration is Delfini Città, which holds true to the threesome's Roman roots by welcoming whole families to carouse across several upscale Italian dining rooms, a chic bar, and a rustically urban pizza lounge where head pizza chef David Santiago unleashes his award-winning brick-oven pies.
In the central dining room, plush red pillows are individually strung behind the benches of long wooden banquet tables, offering each guest a comfortable way to recline between bites. Textural, but primarily monochromatic artwork adds sleek panache to the setting without steeling attention away from Luca Buaffi's Italian dishes, including hearty pastas and free-range veal in delicate wine sauce.
Wherever a group decides to enjoy dinner, the glow of moonlight is never far away, as most of the walls are littered with enormous picture windows. To continue revelry even after dessert, patrons can stop by the bar for a recommendation from head bartender Mark Disalvo, who mixes a diversity of Italian-inspired cocktails as well as pours from a vino list that includes more than 20 world wines and 50 by the bottle. Then, amid Delfini's low light, tipplers can enjoy their libations of choice while watching black-and-white movies on the bar's flat-screen TV, originally purchased in 1932.
Each morning, brothers Mario and Salvatore Marino stroll through local farmers’ markets in search of the ripest produce, returning back to their restaurant just in time to pull fresh bread from the oven. The pair actually oversees three LA restaurants—La Bottega Marino, Il Grano, and Marino Ristorante—each of which highlights the traditions of the owners’ homeland, Napoli, with handmade pastas, pastries, pizzas, and panini sandwiches filled with seasonal ingredients. As noted on the LA Weekly web blog, La Bottega Marino’s menu foregoes Italian-American standards like caesar salad and fettuccini for more authentic specialties such as porchetta—an herb-rolled pork loin wrapped in pork belly and roasted with a light seasoning of salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel. In addition to perfecting housemade meals, the Marino brothers spend time building their wine list by collecting varietals from almost every Italian region, including the region whose excess CO2 yields bubbly prosecco.
Il Forno Caldo translates to the hot oven —an appropriate name for an Italian restaurant where chefs fire up a cavalcade of Old-World dishes to pair with pastas rolled and cut fresh daily. While angel hair, rigatoni, and penne simmer in sauces such as pesto and bolognese, the tireless chefs fashion linguine lassos to reign in clams, mussels, and other delectable sea candies. Out in the dining room, which Gayot calls an "unexpected charmer," diners dig into slices of pizza fresh from the kitchen's eponymous hot oven, or sip one of 300 wines extracted directly from the giant, pulsing grape in the restaurant's cellar.
During the meal, guests can form finger-puppet ghosts with the white linen tablecloths or compare blowfish impressions in the mirrored wall panels. Rich red curtains lend an air of Old-World glamour to the romantic dining room, whose honey-colored wooden shelves display gleaming bottles of rare, classic, and California "cult" wines.
In 2011, The Huffington Post selected Pici Enoteca as one of their 20 Favorite Pizza Spots in the country. Food Republic highlighted the lemongrass pizza, where they detailed Jason’s process of creating a lemongrass paste with ginger and garlic that flavors a tomato-basil sauce. Deep-fried ginger encrusts the pie’s top, while black-carbon steel cookware gives the thinly rolled dough its trademark crunch. Like the lemongrass pizza, all of PICI’s menu items are vegetarian, though diners may opt to add meats or a sprinkle of granite. Whether ordering a pie, hand-rolled pasta, or a fresh salad, customers can bookend their meals with inventive appetizers such as artichoke fritters with boursin cheese and, of course, a slice of cheesecake.
Opened in 1966, La Dolce Vita boasts a rich history and has been a favorite destination of celebrities including the Rat Pack and President Ronald Reagan throughout the years. Today, diners at this Beverly Hills staple can sample Executive Chef David Schanhals's menu of Northern Italian cuisine that is expertly made from scratch. Dishes include tantalizing risottos, veal saltimbocca, and steak Sinatra—a choice cut of beef accompanied by sautéed peppers and a chianti reduction. Guests can socialize and sip seasonal cocktails and Italian and Californian wines at the bar or in the lit-just-enough dining room. The posh-yet-charming decor features romantic leather booths, rustic exposed brick, and a Ferrari-engine-powered tomato-sauce blender.
Chef Carlo Podda, a native of Sardinia, expertly prepares fresh pastas with New Zealand mussels and calamari and layers lasagna with Bolognese sauce and parmesan cheese. His regional Italian cooking and handmade pastas helped earn Campagnola Trattoria recognition as the Best New Neighborhood Restaurant in Los Angeles Magazine, as detailed on their website. In the dining room or the outdoor patio, servers deliver braised veal shank with saffron risotto, as well as fresh-from-the-oven pizzas crowned with arugula, prosciutto, and paper hats. Behind the restaurant's full bar, mixologists sling cocktails and uncork bottles of Italian and Californian wines from the extensive list