August 9, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Taste Of Northern Italy At Locanda Del Lago In Santa Monica:

Many restaurants come and go in a flash, so when a restaurant reaches a big anniversary, there’s reason to take notice.

This year Locanda del Lago marks 20 years at its location on the Third Street Promenade at Arizona Avenue. This is a prime corner that draws locals and travelers alike. It’s also right in the middle of the downtown farmers’ market.

Owner West Hooker-Poletti is a native of Milan and named his restaurant after the inns along Lake Como in northern Italy. The restaurant specializes in dishes from the Lombardy region of Italy, made with seasonal market produce.

A new executive chef, Gianfranco Minuz, joined the restaurant in October. Minuz is from Friuli-Venezia Giula in northeast Italy and has a long career working at restaurants in Italy and the U.S.

The restaurant’s menu has homemade pastas, risottos, pizzas, and entrees, many of which are indicated as Lake Como specialties. There’s also a section of small tasting plates like roasted bone marrow with crispy risotto cake ($7) and sun-dried agone, a shad-like fish from Lake Como, served with grilled polenta ($10). Look toward the open kitchen and you’ll see an additional weekly chef’s seasonal market menu written on a blackboard, along with a list of the farms that supplied the week’s market ingredients. At lunchtime a popular antipasto buffet can be ordered as an appetizer ($9) or entree ($14).

Try the Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese ($18), homemade buckwheat pasta prepared fondue-style with Bitto cheese, roasted garlic, savoy cabbage and potatoes. This hearty dish reflects the culinary influence of Switzerland, which borders Lombardy.

Roasted chestnut and blueberry risotto ($20) is a new dish introduced by Minuz. The tart blueberries from Harry’s Berries pop in your mouth, balancing the nuttiness of the chestnuts and the rich chewiness of the rice grains that are stained a startling blue color.

One of the menu’s popular entrees is Chilean sea bass baked in a salt and egg white crust ($36). The crust is cracked open tableside, and the juicy, tender flesh that emerges is served with a colorful mix of sauteed,thinly-sliced veggies.

Something new that Minuz has brought to the restaurant is a whole animal dinner series he calls “morso della bestia” (bite of the beast), a nod to the snout-to-tail philosophy of carnivore cooking. The series launched in October with a six-course menu ($60) of a market greens salad adorned with lamb belly; sauteed lamb offals with grilled polenta; hand-cut pappardelle pasta with lamb ragu; and a garlic-thyme roasted leg of lamb. The monthly dinner is served family-style on the last Thursday of each month and includes unlimited house wine.

On the other hand, Lago also serves a Meatless Monday menu that includes fish but no dairy or meat.

“Our Meatless Monday menu was inspired by (film director) James Cameron, a long-time customer who talks so passionately about how much it would help our environment if everyone avoided eating meat just one day per week,” said General Manager Megan Sheehy.

Market-inspired desserts ($8-$15), gelatos, ice cream and sorbets are all made in-house. A recent dessert special on the weekly seasonal menu was a tasty northern-style ricotta cheesecake served with candied orange and vanilla sauce.

The wine list is extensive and includes a good selection of wines by the glass. There’s also a farm-to-glass menu of signature cocktails ($12-$14) like a Caprese Martini made with vodka, cherry tomato, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar, and the George Clooney Martini – grapefruit, blood orange, Aperol, and gin (Clooney owns a villa on Lake Como, as do many other celebrities).

The restaurant’s interior feels rustic and cozy, but on a warm, sunny day the outdoor patio seating along Arizona Avenue makes for good people-watching, catching-up with friends, and enjoying what might come closest to a taste of Lake Como without ever crossing the ocean.

Locanda del Lago is located at 231 Arizona Ave. For more information, call 310.451.3525 or visit lagosantamonica.com.

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica Obtains Injunctions Against Landlords in Section 8 Voucher Discrimination Lawsuit

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Judgment requires landlords to accept voucher, pay $20,000 in restitution  By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has obtained...

Local Nursing Home Tells Wrong Patients Family Their Loved One Died: Santa Monica Beat – August 8th, 2022

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Local Nursing Home Tells Wrong Patients Family Their Loved One Died* Santa...

Brentwood-Adjacent Residential High-Rise Complete

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

The first high-rise residential development built west of the 405 in over 40 years is now leasing luxury apartments. Learn...

Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City: Santa Monica Real Estate Report – August 8th, 2022

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

Property, Developments, and Listings on the Westside.* Mixed-Use Downtown Apartment Complex Has Highest Rents in City* Gardening Tips for Fall*...

Supervisor Holly Mitchell Calls for Update of Marina del Rey’s Vision Statement

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Marina Del Rey is now considered part of District Two in Los Angeles County and now falls...

Meridian Building Sells in Santa Monica for $18 Million

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Redcar Properties buys Santa Monica office at 1448 15th Street By Dolores Quintana Redcar Properties purchased a second property in...

Pier Vendors File Civil Rights Class Action Law Suit Against City of Santa Monica

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

Class action lawsuit alleges that the city is depriving minorities with low incomes of their vehicles By Dolores Quintana A...

LA City Council Votes to Ban Homeless Encampment Within 500 Feet of Schools

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Final vote expected next week By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Council this week took steps to...

Coming Soon: Third Annual Century City ‘Rock & Roll Casino Night’

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Proceeds from the August 25 event support Chamber programs and services for the business community  By Susan Payne  The Century...

Santa Monica Restaurant Holding Seafood Festival

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Dia del Pescador comes to Socalo August 4-7 By Dolores Quintana Socalo Restaurant in Santa Monica is holding a special...

Nate ‘n Al’s Deli Reopens Renovated Indoor Dining Area

August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022

Longtime deli reopens indoor dining for first time since pandemic  By Dolores Quintana The iconic Nate ‘n Al’s Deli has...

Santa Monica College Named One of 40 Best Film Schools in U.S. and Canada

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

SMC alongside Stanford University, UCLA, USC, ArtCenter College of Design, and California Institute of the Arts, among others  Santa Monica...

Music Director Roger Kalia Renews Contract With Orchestra Santa Monica for Another Three Years

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

“I am grateful and honored to continue and deepen my relationship with Orchestra Santa Monica for the next three years,”...

Final Vote Set for Ban on Homeless Encampments Near Schools

August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

LA City Council to vote on bill that would ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers...