Italian Restaurants in Santa Monica

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The chefs at Mosto Enoteca consider the relationship between Italian cooking and wine an “enduring affair,” and their intimate eatery certainly keeps the flame alive. Over the flickering of candlelight, diners indulge in grilled New Zealand snapper, dijon-slathered pork chops, and housemade ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and drizzled with sage butter. Plates can be paired with a selection from the wine list, which features a generous assortment of varietals hailing from Italy, and also closer to home. The dinner menu may not be lengthy, but it packs a punch—Zagat named Mosto Enoteca one of the city’s five best Italian eateries in 2013. The restaurant's simple interior keeps the focus on the award-winning food. In the dining room, butcher-paper placemats sit atop rough-hewn tables, and blond-wood wine racks line the walls. Out on the patio, the candles that sit glowing on each table mirror the twinkling city lights beyond.

517 Washington Blvd
Venice,
CA
US

If you look closely at Tivoli Cafe's deceptively traditional menu, you'll find that the classic Italian dishes are made with a very modern sense of sustainability. The filet mignon is made with all natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. The shrimp and scallops are wild-caught to ensure ecological responsibility. The eggs are organic and the chicken steroid free, so diners can indulge without worrying about their health or that their entrees will punch them in the eye in a fit of rage. Of course, each environmentally minded dish is prepared with familiar Italian sensibilities, including leeks and mushrooms dressed in a port-wine sauce. The kitchen's expertise in classic preparations has been well earned, since Tivoli Cafe has been serving patrons since 1989. The eatery's ambiance is as well-honed as its culinary prowess; its homey, family-friendly atmosphere permeates the indoor dining room, extending onto the comfortably heated outdoor seating area.

15306 W Sunset Blvd
Pacific Palisades,
CA
US

Santino's Tapas & Grill's friendly chefs and servers delight patrons with warm welcomes, a convivial tapas-bar atmosphere, and menu of shareable plates, delicious pastas, paninis, and steaks. The outgoing staff members pride themselves in making each guest feel at home, entertaining visitors with positive energy, witty banter, and sophisticated Vaudevillian comedy routines. As diners eagerly devour fresh salads, mouthwatering Spanish finger food, and juicy cuts of meat, a colorful display of weathered-wood accents, colorful artwork, and interesting cork sculptures excites the eyeballs.

1611 Pacific Avenue
Los Angeles,
CA
US

All of Spumoni's homey restaurants brim with Old World ambience and warm zephyrs laden with the aromas of a broad selection of mouthwatering pastas and pizzas. Enjoy extravagant culinary indulgence not seen since the reign of Emperor Boyardee with a delectable antipasti dish, such as the Veggie Tower & Prosciutto, a shuffled deck of tomatoes, eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, and succulent Parma prosciutto ($9.95). For a bigger bite, wrap mouth muscles around the Gnocchi Fradiavola, piquant shrimp and white wine cradling tender spud-infused pasta as beautiful as a litter of Mr. Potato Heads ($16.95). The Herculean array of pizzas, such as the Capricciosa, studded with artichoke, ham, mushroom, and mozzarella ($17.95/12" pie), goes down much easier after a few glasses of muscle-loosening wines, including Sangiovese ($6/glass) and Moretti ($5/glass).Though this Groupon does not cover the $2.50 charge, Spumoni's expedient food runners deliver to homes, businesses, and Muppet-infested trashcans.

713 Montana Ave
Santa Monica,
CA
US

Scientists envision a future where crust scraps will be used to fuel Americans insatiable desire for fuel made out of crust scraps. Today's Groupon helps pass the time with $20 worth of cheese-spackled, toppings-topped, earth-friendly mealpies for $10 at Pizza Fusion, an eco-conscious pizzeria. 1905: Einstein's famous equation, E = mc2, hypothesizes a fusion-style reaction, while Einstein himself hypothesizes a romance between Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. 1946: Designer bombs tested at Bikini Atoll create a variety of decorative cloud shapes, including beach ball, dolphin, and silhouette of the United States.1978: Attempts to use nuclear fusion to prevent magician David Copperfield from appearing on TV are largely successful. 2010: Simultaneous, worldwide experiments with nuclear fusion result in the renewed popularity of player pianos and the transformation of friendly cats into gigantic-instrument-of-mayhem cats.

2901 Ocean Park Blvd, Ste 123
Santa Monica,
CA
US

The Three Faces of Valentino Italian Restaurant

A Local Staple for More Than 40 Years

For a restaurant that essentially started on a whim in 1972, Valentino has proved itself to have immense staying power. In those early days, the vibe was informal to say the least. "We had a handwritten menu, a very personal approach, and offered whatever we had,” says owner Piero Selvaggio in an article for Eater. But this overt simplicity belies the restaurant's knack for trendsetting—they also owned an espresso machine in those early days, long before many places in the United States even dreamed of such a thing.

Today, Valentino isn’t quite the laid-back trattoria it once was. Just in the way people now expect most Italian restaurants to own an espresso machine, they come to Valentino’s expecting fine Italian cuisine devoid of checkered tablecloths and heavy sauces. The restaurant’s evolution is no surprise—Selvaggio has been running a restaurant longer than many of his competitors, and if his Michelin star signifies anything, he's likely still doing it better. Valentino's current-day menus—crafted by Sardinian chef Nico Chessa—keep the restaurant's flair for innovation alive with vegetarian and gluten-free dishes served alongside Italian classics made with farm-to-table ingredients.

Seasonal Dishes

In an attempt to keep things innovative and fresh, literally and figuratively, Valentino changes its menu with the seasons. Depending on the time of year, the menu may highlight duck-meat-stuffed crepes with fruit chutney made of apples, peaches, and pears, or feature a pasta with prosciutto, pancetta, and pecorino shavings. Appetizers may include 24-month aged prosciutto di parma and pan-seared diver scallops with lobster sauce.

Award-Winning Wine Cellar

The thousands of bottles that line Valentino's wine cellar have earned Wine Spectator's Grand Award every year since 1981, the year that wine was first invented. Emphasizing Italian, Californian, and French wines, the selection features everything from boutique-vineyard varietals to the extremely rare 1891 Brunello Biondi-Santi Riserva, one of only four bottles in the world.

3115 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica,
CA
US