Italian dining is now available on the Santa Monica Pier, as Ristorante Al Mare officially celebrated its grand opening Wednesday. The Italian restaurant is one of the first venues spotted at the base of the Pier Bridge and its noticeable blue-and-white signage and modern décor makes the eatery quite hard to miss.
Indeed, during the official ribbon cutting at 6 pm on Wednesday evening, a handful of tourists joined the official photographer and press in taking pictures of the ceremony with their respective cell phones.
Several guests populated Ristorante Al Mare for dinner just prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony and officially christened the eatery.
Paolo Simeone and Franco Sorgi are the restaurant’s owners and operators. Both joined forces in the 1990s and opened Trilussa in Beverly Hills before expanding Trastavere on the Third Street Promenade.
After adding La Piazza in Los Angeles to the roster, Simeone and Sorgi brought Ristorante Al Mare with a soft opening just ahead of Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” arriving to Santa Monica Beach.
The two-story restaurant with a rooftop deck features a fresh Italian menu. On the first and second floor dining rooms, the décor is elegant and modern. The space is airy and the overall environment informally upscale.
Up top, the third floor dining deck offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Pier, and downtown area.
On the main menu are a wide variety of appetizers, salads, pizzas, soups, and main courses.
Some unique menu items include: Mexican Pizza with spicy marinara, mozzarella, jalapeno, shrimp, avocado, onions, and cilantro; Chitarrine Nere ai Frutti di Mare, which is made of house squid ink spaghetti with calamari, shrimp, mussels, clams, and spicy marinara; and, Cioppino, which is a seafood soup with shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, salmon, sea bass, mahi mahi, spicy marinara sauce, and grilled Ciabatta bread.
Of course, there are popular Italian dishes on the menu, as well, such as Margherita Pizza, Calzone, Lasagna Bolognese, Penne all’Arrabbiata, and Chicken Parmiagana.
Ristorante Al Mare offers an entirely different menu for lunch, offering sandwiches and salads between 11 am and 3 pm daily; the main menu items, including those mentioned above, are offered from open to close.
On the lunch menu, sandwich options include as the basic Caprese (tomato, mozzarella, basil pesto, black olive spread) and the filling Aragosta (lobster meat roll, tomato, red onions, celery, parsley, and romaine and mustard dressing).
Other sandwiches on the lunch menu are the Parma (grilled asparagus, parma prosciutto, fontina cheese, and fried egg), Pollastro (grilled chicken breast, mashed garlic broccoli, feta cheese, and tomato), Grigliato (thick sliced gruyere, tomato, caramelized onions, and honey mustard), and Ortolano (burrata cheese, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, grilled squash, and basil pesto).
Ristorante Al Mare is also available for private events.
The restaurant is located at 250 Santa Monica Pier and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm.
To reach the restaurant by phone, call 310.458.4448 or visit www.ristorantealmare.com.
The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce presented the ribbon cutting ceremony.