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Oct 28, 2005 01:27 AM

Review: Divina Cucina, Montrose

  • d

Divina Cucina
3730 Verdugo Rd (between Verdugo/Honolulu Blvds. and Broadview St.)
Montrose, CA 91020
1 (818) 248 30 77

My home office is in Montrose and for a while, when I was "benched" for a few months, I was based out of that office and ate lunch in Montrose every day, at least once a week at Divina Cucina. That was four years ago, and I haven't had a bite of lunch in Montrose since then.

Today I had a meeting at the home office over lunch and we adjourned to Divina Cucina. The prices had gone up some, but since the company was paying, I didn't mind at all.

The first thing you'll notice about Divina (besides the bizarre parking) is that the decor is absolutely beautiful -- tile and wrought-iron chairs, lamps and autumnal leaves and tchotchkes just so, both on the patio and inside.

I should mention at this point that I've only been there for dinner once; it was for our first anniversary and I was so deliriously love-drunk that I don't really remember much about it.

The lunch menu has a large number of pastas, a couple of salads, and some sandwiches, all of which come with either a small side salad or a cup of soup. The cheapest meals are around $7, the most expensive are around $9. The meals start with bruschetta and also bread with olive oil and vinegar.

Today, I had the Italian-style chicken sandwich, which is flattened chicken breast, grilled zucchini and grilled eggplant on focaccia with pesto mayonnaise. It was absolutely incredible. As my side I had a cup of cream-of-pumpkin soup, which needed a bit of salt but was just delicious. (Side note: when I was eating there four years ago, occasionally they had yellow bell pepper bisque, which was the most delicious soup I have ever spooned into my massive maw -- it was so good I ordered it to go and ate it for three nights straight.)

My colleague ordered a vegetarian sandwich, with zucchini, eggplant and roasted red peppers, which he loves; he had a small Caesar salad on the side.

The service was very good -- drinks were topped-up invisibly and often, the service was friendly but casual, and Horacio, the owner, came over to make sure we had everything we needed.

It's definitely a place to go for a relaxing lunch. They have an incredible wine list (sadly, corporate policy forbids drinking at lunch); someday I'll go for dinner and we'll order from that list.

I give it thumbs-up.

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  1. I love this restaurant and have never had a bad meal. I have eaten dinner there often, and I especially love the pastas. The salads are great and the bread fabulous. It is equal if not better than any Italian Restaurant in Pasadena and the service and parking are much better.

    1. I love this place! I haven't gone to lunch, dinner only... The dinner is pretty expensive but the food is pretty good. Their eggplant parmesan is really good, but a little bit too expensive for the amount they give. Their appetizer that's eggplant, ricotta (or goat cheese, i don't remember) is also very tasty, but expensive for the amount.
      The risotto is also delicious, along with their pastas.
      I just wish the prices went down a little... I think it's either equal or a little more expensive than the ones in pasadena.
      But i do love their decor. (:

      1. I love their Chopped Salad!!!
        The place is just across the street from my studio and I grab a salad to go from them once a week.
        I've been to dinner 3 x now and have always gotten charming/attentive service and great food.
        Been for a sit down lunch once and really enjoyed the energy of the place.
        Lots of "ladies who lunch", people enjoying a bottle of wine (love the wine list!) and the lunch specials are great!

        4 Replies
          1. re: thomtompkins

            Funny, thomtompkins, we just got back from our chooped salad and some other snacky bits from Davina, just about an hour ago.
            It's not BASHAN, it's not Palate, but it's great service, nice atmosphere (4 birthdays in the patio going on while we ate) and solid, no frills good food.
            A perfect way to spend a mellow Sat after a long and wonderful day teaching fitness workshops.
            I live only 3 miles down the road, I teach across the street and it's perfect, since I strolled on down to Rosso Wine shop for a perfectly-perfect line up of 3 great wines for $10 and then strolled back up the street for my dinner with my hot-dog-eating-cheese-loving-partner-in-crime and a glass ov gavi de gavi.
            No attitude, no pretense, happy staff that are pleasant and helpful...the owners help out when it gets busy and are super nice.
            I like it. But what do I know. I just like friendly service and good food.

            1. re: tatertotsrock

              Tater: and you know what I think.....I bet you were pretty unhappy about Ingredients closing werent you? The "swinealicious" dinners had to get your blood pumping..... (im sure that you know them really well) but I got the email this week about what their up to now so it sound like things are percalating along for them ok and thats good. I havent been to Cobras and Matadors forever so I may have to take a look them up there sometime soon.

              And have you been to Foundry on Melrose? Greenspan is a fan of the hog himself and usually has some killer pork belly in the menu in one preperation or another. He combines the most unusual things with it that I would have never thought of and it always comes out delish. And dont miss his flank steak and braised short rib dish...served on top of celery root and potato puree with a spoonful of what I would call caramelized onion jus....spectacular. But I bet you've been there....

              1. re: thomtompkins

                Yeiks, you're killing me with the porky-goodness. I guess I should try to make it to the Foundry sometime but it's almost impossible to get myself to venture out with places like Bashan and Palate and the chopped salad and carpaccio, and pizza fro Davina.

                Wasn't the "swinealicious" dinner at Ingredients amazing?
                Funny thing is, I am writing this to you from atop of the beautiful chopping board/back counter from's my desk fitness studio is in the Ingredients space...much good food is enjoyed in this place, still.
                As a matter of fact, you can read about how much I've enjoyed some leftover pizza from DAVINA here, several times.
                I do really enjoy their pizza, especially for it's ability to taste amazing the next day without being refrigerated...also love their beef carpaccio...I get it with just a drizzle of their sauce and some good.

                I hear Alfi (from Bistro Verdu) is on one of the places that Mike is watching over...Sgt recruiter?