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Jun 9, 2010 01:40 PM

Eatalian - new and exciting Italian in the South Bay

While perusing the LA Times, I came upon a review for a new Italian place in Gardena's industrial section. The review made me skeptical, but thought I would take a look.

Located just east of the 110 Frwy just off Redondo Beach Blvd, it's in an industrial warehouse building. The inside is spacious and very clean with lots of windows which enable you to watch them make mozarella cheese, gelatos, bread and pastries. Next to those rooms is a bar behind which they make their Neapolitan pizzas and various pasta dishes.

I tried their gelato sandwich, which was really a sandwich. Hazelnut gelato inside a roll, not a cookie. Delicious.

The staff the was very friendly; I was offered a variety of breads with olive oil while waiting for my pizza to go. I ordered the "Rock" which has spicy salami, blue cheese, spinach and bacon.

The pizzas are thin but not as crispy as I would like. not quite up to par with Antica, and the ingredients are a bit sparse. Still it was good.

As they are a brand new place, I will come back and try it again, maybe to try the pastas along with the pizza, and desserts.

If you in the area, Eatalian Cafe is definitely worth a look. They open for dinner Thursday, June 10th.

The pizza may not be Antica, the gelato may not be Bulgarini, but it's a one stop restaurant serving all the best things Italian.

Looking forward to what others have to say.

Eatalian Cafe
15500 S. Broadway St.
Gardena, CA 90248

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  1. Sounds nice. I, too, was very curious (and skeptical) about this after seeing the review in the LA Times. Thanks for the initial report and news on dinner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

      Just marveling at all the equipment behind the glass, whether it be the Mozzarella cheese makers (when they get up and running), the gelato makers, or the bakery, was totally worth the "price of admission".

      I haven't gotten into the swing of taking pictures for posting, but in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words to describe the place.

      I will go back soon and report.

      1. Thanks for the review, and for the notice that they start opening for dinner tomorrow. Gelato sandwich sounds great!

        1. yeah, i read that too, and the review makes it sound really really really exceptional, but i was kind of skeptical.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kevin

            it is exceptional. Well, they say Gardena, but its on the other side of the 110. I am in that area often enough, and I discoved it when they had just opened before the review. The pizza looked really good, and I was just surprised there was anything that good in that vicinity. I thought that was Compton. It might not be Compton, but its close enough that it opens a great place to eat that is lacking in the area. I didn't have time to eat that day, but I have gone back after the review was posted. It's good food, the toppings are sparse.

          2. Sorry, but does anyone know if they really did open the place up for dinner? I was considering taking my parents for dinner tomorrow (Saturday) night, but I just called the number (I double- and triple-checked it against the LA Times article, Yelp, and Ogawak's listing above), at a little before 6:30 pm on a Friday, and nobody answered. I let it ring forever before hanging up.

            So... no dinner yet, then?

            (btw, apparently Chowhound never sprang forward during DST, so it appears that I posted an hour before I claimed to have made this call.)

            4 Replies
            1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

     (this will fix your non compliance with daylight savings problem too)

              1. re: Servorg

                Ah, goody, thank you Servorg -- problem solved. Hmm, but I'm guessing this will keep happening as long as I log in through the pop-up login, which is what I'm taken to whenever I get logged out and want to log back in. Blearg. Not a big deal.

              2. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                I don't know why they didn't answer the phone but they are open for dinner.

                1. re: apple7blue

                  Yes they are open for dinner but they are closed Sundays.

              3. Warning: this is a really disorganized, rambling narrative of my lunch at Eatalian. Please read at the risk of losing eyeball control from rolling your eyes in frustration at my lack of coherence.

                I went yesterday (Saturday) for lunch with my parents. We knew the location was in an industrial part of town, but were still kind of amused/shocked at first to see the entrance, which had some nice big signs (including "PEN" which I took to be "OPEN" but somehow missing the initial "o") around what looked like a prison entrance, with gates.

                Anyway, the interior was as beautiful as the LA Times review pictures: huge, spacious, bright, with skylights that let in tons of bright, natural light that help the place save on electricity. The giant glass-walled "laboratory"/cheese factory with its floor-to-ceiling stacks of aging parmesan was there, and it was beautiful.

                I won't continue waxing poetic on the visual aesthetics; the interior is simply gorgeous.

                Like Ogawak, we ordered a rock pizza, as well as linguine alle vongole and a Roger calzone. The pizza crust was very thin but it wasn't crisp enough... oh hey I'm echoing Ogawak's sentiments, but yeah I have no clue what could've helped, maybe a hotter oven or something, but it tasted slightly undercooked. The toppings were really delicious, though.

                The Roger calzone was nice and big, but for whatever reason it arrived at our table barely warm on the outside. The inside was fine, though, so maybe it just loses heat really quickly... or I don't know. It was topped with a generous amount of pancetta. I don't remember what exactly was inside, but I do recall the mozzarella was REALLY mozzarella-y. I mean, it was the nicest-tasting mozzarella I've had in a long while, and made me really enjoy every chew (not just every bite).

                I was SO disappointed they were out of gnocchi! I asked if they were made in the restaurant and our waitress, Kim, said she believes so. Kim was, by the way, so clearly an experienced pro. I felt kind of bad for her when I noticed that the entire restaurant had only one other waitress besides her. The place filled up fast shortly after I'd arrived, and I could only guess that it was the LA Times review earlier this week that created this sudden wave of diners. It was impressive and heartening, because Eatalian's location is pretty freaking awful, but you spend one minute inside and find yourself hoping it doesn't get done in by that factor.

                But back to Kim, she was amazingly coordinated, ubiquitous, responded immediately to eye contact or a subtle hand gesture, and never made us wait -- when my mom ordered a cappuccino about five minutes after Kim had already taken our order, Kim just went and made it and brought it right over. Much later in the meal, I asked for an espresso and again she did the same thing: made it right away and brought it over. And by this point the whole place was full and there were ten or twenty people waiting by the sleek leather couches (i.e., waiting area) to be seated.

                Even more disappointing, though, was no gelato that day!! I was so looking forward to having a gelato sandwich, but their freezer display case was broken, which meant no place to hold the gelato. I vow to return for the gelato sandwich.

                The linguine was okay; the clams were really badly prepared in that they were totally filled with sand and grit! In each shell there was visible residue, and in the puddle of broth at the bottom of the finished bowl was more sand. The flavors were nice and clammy and the linguine were al dente but I'm not sure it justified being 13.75.

                Anyway, I really want to go back, alone this time, and sit at the bar and have a pizza, a gelato sandwich, and a cappuccino.

                P.S. They had a tv projector strung up high that projected the USA-England World Cup match onto a big patch of white wall where everybody could see; it was a nice setup even though the room is too bright during the day to see projection tv images clearly; I do like it better than flat-screen tvs, this somehow feels more festive and communal and less bar-like.

                P.P.S. While I stared longingly at the cheese-making room and looked all around at the gelato case and the bakery case and the espresso machines in the center and the open kitchen with the fiery oven, I wished they would offer to give tours of the place, because everything looks so fun and fascinating. Anyway...

                6 Replies
                1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                  Oww! my eyes! just kidding I followed perfectly. I live in SD but work in that area sometimes. Sounds cool I'll have to check it out. I love fresh Mozzarella.

                  1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                    Thanks for the report. I agree about how beautiful the place is. I wished the pizza were a little crisper and I really want this place to succeed as a restaurant, though I understand they are a wholesaler for the mozzarella, gelato and baked goods. The South Bay needs a place like this. Actually I've never ever seen or heard of a place like this.

                    1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                      Correction! Dumb me, it wasn't giant slabs of pancetta generously covering the calzone, it was prosciutto -- probably speck (I don't remember what the menu specified). Duhhh...

                      1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                        The location is great. Why should the same neighborhoods get good places to eat? There is nothing in Compton which it is closer to than most of Gardena to get a good pizza from. The best pizza around there used to be chains.

                        1. re: apple7blue

                          I think the location is totally bizarre. Nothing against Gardena (I love to eat Japanese food there), but I don't know if it is Gardena . It was such an industrial area, that the restaurant was hard to find and the parking stunk. Great location if it was an Earl Sheib and I was looking for a paint job. All the surrounding places were auto shops.

                          1. re: bsquared2

                            only in la!

                            jaybee's is also tucked away in the middle of an industrial area. what other restaurants can we add to the list?