Fresh pasta, great ingredients, and good technique are just a few of the reasons why Louise’s Trattoria in Santa Monica has been a continuing success since it opened 30 years ago.
Recently remodeled, the restaurant located at 1008 Montana Avenue is at the heart of Santa Monica’s busy north-west shopping area.
Although Louise’s Trattoria falls under the category of a chain restaurant with seven locations across the Southland, each restaurant has its own individual style and personality.
Robert Serritella, Louise’s Trattoria President and CEO, said Santa Monica was unique because Montana Avenue was one of Los Angeles’ original neighborhood trattoria areas.
Put simply, a Trattoria is a small restaurant serving simple Italian food.
Serritella said the inspiration of the menu comes first from Italy, then California, and then the entire Louise’s team.
The menus are kept similar except for regional specialties, according to Serritella.
Louise’s Famous Focaccia comes out in a basket piping hot when you sit down at your table.
The space is cozy with Italian warmth. Booths line one wall with two rows of tables taking up the other two-thirds of the space when you walk in, with the kitchen at the back that you can peek back to watch the chefs busy at work.
Among the appetizers worth ordering if it’s your first visit are the Crab Cakes ($10.95). The crab is sweet and seasoned with fresh herbs and spices, pan seared and served with Cajun aioli and avocado relish.
Louise’s offers the chance to try some interesting cheeses as well. Burrata and Beets ($8.95) uses only the best fresh local Burrata cheese and served with oven-roasted organic red beets, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Try the Grilled Tomato with Goat Cheese ($8.95) from Sonoma if the idea of seared cheese cakes served over a ripe grilled tomato sounds like your style. The newest cheese appetizer is the Mozzarella Caprese ($7.95). Enjoy fresh buffalo mozzarella, red ripe Roma tomatoes, and sweet basil drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper.
Moving onto the main courses, the Pappardelle with Italian Sausage ($12.95) is the location’s specialty dish. The pappardelle pasta is served with spicy Italian sausage and plum tomatoes — tossed with garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes. The dish is served in a trio of Bolognese, tomato, and cream sauce.
An Italian restaurant isn’t complete without pizza. There are six selections that come in three different sizes, 10 inches, 14 inches, or 16 inches, which are great for sharing family-style.
The BBQ chicken pizza ($11.95, $14.95, $18.95) doesn’t disappoint with red onions, mozzarella, smoked Gouda, BBQ sauce, and cilantro.
What makes Louise’s pizzas so special is the dough is handmade and hand tossed in the kitchen with real cheese and fresh toppings.
Another popular pizza is the Village Special with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, mozzarella, and onions. The Roasted Tomato and Italian Sausage pizza is another highlight with roasted tomatoes, Italian sausage, mozzarella, mushrooms, fresh oregano, and red chili flakes. Cheese, margarita, and vegetarian options round out the other three pizza selections.
Chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, and scallop dishes are available as entrees with fresh pasta and seasonal vegetables.
Most of Louise’s customers are loyal guests who keep coming back to enjoy the attentive service from its long tenured staff. For new guests, it only takes one visit to feel that you’ve become part of the Louise’s Trattoria family as well.
1008 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica
Hours: Mon. through Thurs.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.