Okay, this week I had my first visit to Locanda del Lago in Santa Monica and I was truly blown away by the fantastic Italian fare.
We ate some stuff I”™d never had before (namely thinly sliced tongue with a vibrant parsley pesto) and my companion was also very impressed with the quality of the imported prosciutto di parma that came served wrapped around a breadstick, and stuffed with tuna-caper aioli (Grissini — $6).Â I adored the Polpettini ($8)- tender venison meatballs served in a flavorful red sauce with red wine reduction – these would be great for snacking on at the bar.
We also sampled their perfectly seasoned, slow-cooked Ossobuco alla Milanese ($29); an unusual Risotto al Gorgonzola con Barbabietole ($15 / 21 -Â risotto cooked with creamy blue gorgonzola and beets – wow); Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese (wheat pappardelle, roasted garlic, savoy cabbage, yukon potato and creamy Bitto cheese-sage fondue…$13 / 18); Pesce in Crosta di Sale ($34 -Â Chilean sea bass beautifully steamed inside a crust of salt, protected by thin layers of potato and served with baby artichokes); Volcano Chocolate Cake ($8) – it was all so wonderful!
Unfortunately they didn”™t have their eight-hour Octopus dish available, but I know when I can get it.
This weekend they are offering their Festa della Mamma (Mother”™s Day Feast) all day long on Sunday, May 10th for brunch, lunch and dinner, along with their impressive regular menu.Â This set menu is also being served on Saturday, May 8th (dinner only and also Friday May 14th at dinner).
This special Mother’s Day Feast features a menu of Chef Roberto Maggioni’s favorite childhood dishes, pairing his innovative contemporary touches with his Mamma Cristina’s traditional home-cooked Italian cuisine. The three-or four-course Festa della Mamma matched with wines (optional), will be served.
This popular Santa Monica restaurant is renowned for its unique menu, which spotlights the cuisine of Bellagio on Lake Como in Northern Italy.
Festa della Mamma begins with SautÃ©ed Spanish Baby Octopus, fresh heirloom Tomato-Parsley reduction paired with Prosecco Brut, Zonin, followed by Gorgonzola Risotto With Market Red And Gold Beets (absolutely superb) matched with Sangiovese, Di Majo, “˜08.
Main course options are Grilled Wild Alaskan Black Cod, Creamy Porcini ConsommÃ© and micro arugula-radish-parmesan salad paired with Pinot Noir, Chalone Vineyards, “˜08, and Lido Ranch All-Natural Veal Stew, market snap peas, Polenta “Au Gratin” and cabbage-ham-fontina involtino paired with Cabernet, Hess Estate, “˜06.
The three-course menu is $45.00 (choice of black cod or veal stew), the four-course version is $59.00, and the wine tasting pairing is an additional $24 (not including tax or gratuity). Each selection is available a la carte, for $16, $19, $32 and $28 respectively.
Available also is a special Mother”™s Day dessert: Crispy Italian BignÃ©, with pastry cream, for $10.
All their pastas, focaccia, desserts and gelati are made fresh daily in-house. Seasonal dishes, as well as numerous regular menu items, feature produce from the local Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to utilize the freshest, organic, most flavorsome produce available while keeping the purchases local to Southern California from local growers.
Also, Thursday is pizza & pitcher night at Lago — $8 pizzas and $20 pitchers! Barman Joe will muddle up some market fruit margaritas, mai tais and mojitos.
Festa della Mamma reservations are essential.
Valet parking is available ($5)
Locanda del Lago
231 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica.
- Mon – Thurs: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
- Fri: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
- Sat: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm
- Sun: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm
Review by Pauline Adamek