I have heard a lot about this restraunt, mainly that it is great but very very very expensive, almost to the point of being a fault (lets face it, no matter how good food is, there comes a point when the price is just absurd and more a reflection of the name then of the food).
Is this really the case with them? I have heard they have a bit of a snooty atmosphere as well and have heard a few horror stories on other discussion boards about hostess, waiter, and chef attitude at the restraunt.
Is there anywhere else in Santa Monica/Brentwood/Westside area for great authentic home cooked type italian with creativity that doesnt come with the arm and a leg price tag or holier than thou attitude? Is this restraunt really truly worth it in comparison to some of these other places?
Via Veneto is my tops, but it's also very expensive. One of my new favorites is La Vecchia Cucina, which is like Via Veneto without the high price tag. Very cute place and great food. Both are on Main Street Santa Monica.
La Vecchia Cucina Restaurante
2654 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Was there recently for the first time. Service was cold but not awful. Pumpkin ravioli were okay but I've had much better for much less. And the Langoustines we wonderfully unimpressive. The atmosphere is great for certain occasions (i.e. entertaining your fiancée’s republican parents) especially when you factor in the charm of the whole little village off the sea strip. But for the money, I'd generally look elsewhere.
I may be in the minority on this board, but I love Giorgio Baldi. Personally I've never experienced attitude problems from their hostess nor waiter but you do need to endure the very dim light, and crowded tables. And they do require that you order your appetizers and entrees at the same time.
As for the price, if you stay away from the lobster, langostino, or anything with white truffle oil, and just order their pasta (love their raviolis or raviolinis because they are about the size of thumb nails) and risotto you will be having a very delicious meal without breaking the bank. Don't be afraid (and be sure) to ask about the price of anything billed as daily special!!! Do expect small portions though--it's quality over quantity. If you can swing it, I urge you to try beef carpaccio w/ white truffle oil ( ~ $25), grilled langostino (~$36 for 4 pieces) and whatever raviolis or risotto they are making on that day! You will walk away happy but not stuffed!
On the westside, I also like:
La Botte--IMO, they cook a much better branzino than GB.
Portofino--excellent caesar salad and squid ink pasta with uni.
Another favorite Italian place, though not on the "westside", is Ago. Love their pasta, pizza, steak, and calamari steak which is not on the menu--although I don't enjoy the "scene" there.
Yeah, another snooty place that pushes the specials without mentioning the prices (if you even cared, you wouldn't be eating here). Fawn over the regulars and VIP's, who are eating for show rather than taste or sustenance. Fortunately for them, they have the ideal location to sustain the charade. For the rest of us, there are much better options.