July 28, 2021 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

Homeless Man Charged with Hate Crime in Assault of Korean Woman in Santa Monica

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Melvin Taylor faces charges in connection to July 23 incident By Sam Catanzaro Hate crime charges have been filed against...

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs, Claims no Wrongdoing

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Off Leash Dog Park And Picnic Area Coming To Downtown Santa...

Two Arrested for Main Street Bike Shop Burglary

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

Two suspects were arrested for the burglary of a Main Street bike store after the owner witnessed the crime via...

Council Selects Berkeley Deputy City Manager to Helm Santa Monica

July 23, 2021

July 23, 2021

David White to be Santa Monica’s next City Manager starting in October  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City Council has...

Ocean Park Library Set to Reopen

July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

New self-service hours begin July 28 By Sam Catanzaro The Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch is set to...

Police Tase Suspect Following Santa Monica Beach Stabbing

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

32-year-old man arrested Sunday evening on Santa Monica Beach, suffers head injuries in arrest By Sam Catanzaro As part of...

Santa Monica Beat: Santa Monica Beat – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Serial Killer Arrested by SMPD Sentenced to Death * New Grants...

Santa Monica May Ban Lobbyists From Serving on Boards and Commissions

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

City Council instructs staff to draft ordinance to bar paid policy advocates from serving on board, commissions, task forces   By...

Water Near Santa Monica Pier Remains Questionable as Beach Closures Lifted Following Sewage Discharge

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Edify TV: Local Cafe Supporting Foster Youths

July 14, 2021

July 14, 2021

La La Land Kind Cafe recently opened its first California location in Santa Monica, delivering not only unique coffee and...

Santa Monica Experiencing 9-1-1 Call Outage

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Update: As of 3 p.m., 9-1-1 phone service in Santa Monica has been fully restored. Please call or text 9-1-1...

Santa Monica Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Match.com: Santa Monica Beat – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit With Match.com* SMPD and Services...

17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Spills Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...