Although tomatoes were specifically invented for use as messy projectiles at subpar comedy shows, restaurants have proved that they can be enjoyed when eaten. Enjoy the second most popular use for sauce-bearing fruit with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at Granata's Italian Villa in Downey.
Baking fresh bread and preparing made-from-scratch sauce every day since 1952, Granata's Italian Villa panders to patrons with sumptuous dishes and flavors from all over Europe's gastro-centric boot.
The authentic menu, printed on paper that smells like the Tuscan sunset, tickles anxious taste buds with classic Italian appetizers such as the fried calamari ($8.95), garlicky bruschetta ($7.50), or jumbo shrimp cocktail, which can be unsafe for eaters allergic to oxymorons. At the linguine con vongole pasta party, freshly steamed clams mingle with noodle ribbons while being smothered with robust discourse by a red or white sauce. Satiate seafaring steak cravings with the ahi tuna steak served rare on a bed of sautéed spinach ($21.95), or inhale the stomach-straightening grilled flat-iron steak ($17.95) accompanied by a pasta sidekick.
Granata's Italian Villa courts patrons with a full bar and formidable wine list, heated outdoor patio, live music at least once a week, and a chaperon to remind amorous diners to keep at least a noodle's length apart.
Granatas and Tapas Restaurant
When owner Frank White took over this Downey eatery—then called Granata's Italian Restaurant—in 2011, the Granata family had already been serving Italian cuisine there for more than 54 years, according to the Downey Patriot. Today, White still plucks recipes from the family cookbook but has also added his own touch with a new menu of hot and cold Spanish-style tapas. Made with gourmet ingredients such as fresh clams, spanish piquillo peppers, and rich serrano ham, the new plates are small enough to be shared with friends or slingshotted spitefully at enemies. The chefs also use locally sourced ingredients for classic Italian meals whenever possible, festooning linguine carbonara with fresh sweet peas and veal parmigiana with rich tomato sauce.
In the renovated dining area, blue pendant lamps light the full bar and surrounding cherry-wood tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs share wall space with murals of the Venetian canals where Leonardo da Vinci first learned to jet ski.
11032 Downey Ave.
Downey, California 90241