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Extremely short review of Hosteria del Piccolo DineLA lunch.

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had the starter:
GRIGLIATI
grilled fresh calamari, mild spicy Swiss-chard

main dish:
PAPPARDELLE
omato sauce, roasted eggplant, Mozzarella di bufala

dessert:
Meyer lemon panna cotta: raspberry coulis

Everything was terrific.
'nuf said

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  1. that grigliati is fantastic. I would love 3 servings of just that for lunch - with some nice crusty bread.

    4 Replies
    1. re: soniabegonia

      i loved it too. would have enjoyed just having an entree-sized portion of it and stuffing myself.
      the whole meal was more than worth every cent paid for it,
      it was also, worth every CALORIE, (something that can't be said for very many meals.)

      1. re: westsidegal

        just saw their dineLA email... $16 for that lunch - are you kidding me?! I'm so there.

        1. re: soniabegonia

          AND there is no limit.
          you could go there for lunch day after day every day that restaurant week is in effect.
          last year i ate lunch there 5 times during the restaurant week promotion.

          1. re: westsidegal

            Went for lunch today and had exactly the same 3 items you did and was very happy with the quality and value. Found the panna cotta a bit firm for my taste but I do tend to prefer a softer consistency in panna cotta, creme brulee, and the like. The raspberry sauce was delectable. Also sampled my friend's lingua, agnolotto and cream puffs w/ espresso sauce. The tongue had a bit too much creamy sauce on top but it was fine. The agnolotto and cream puffs were really good and i'd probably order those next time. Especially the cream puffs. Loved the squid, again, espcially those tentacles.

            I'm still a bit shocked at the price. I'm pretty sure they were full scale versions of what's on their regular menu. I'd be more than willing to pay the next tier price, whatever that is. I'd like to try their dineLA dinner menu - 4 course dinner for $22.

            I've had their pizza on a previous visit and didn't think it was bad - I don't know that I would choose to order one over one of their pastas but it certainly wasn't bad enough to write off completely if struck by a mad craving right at the crucial moment.

    2. Hmmm. I had a pretty mediocre experience there, though it was just for one meal. I was there with a group so I had a chance to try several dishes, the vast majority I would not necessarily have ordered. I sampled the octopus, the pig ear, the grilled ricotta with mushrooms, the fried ravioli, the bolognese, a couple of pizzas, and the tirabigne.

      I found the pizza to be embarrassingly bad, the pig ear to be utterly disgusting and inedible, the octopus was quite good but also quite stingy, the grilled ricotta was really great, the fried ravioli were not good and the bagna cauda was meh, the tagliatelle bolognese was very good (though I prefer less tomato in the sauce), the dessert was great.

      Looking at your order, I would probably have had a better opinion of the place, too. I think there are some real gems on the menu, but there are some landmines to avoid. Sadly, the pizza are among them.

      6 Replies
      1. re: cacio e pepe

        1)
        if i'm going to have pizza in santa monica, i'm going to be going to Stella Rossa Pizza Bar on Main St., so i don't care at all about the pizza that is served at any other Santa Monica establishment, including Hosteria del Piccolo.
        to my palate, no other westside pizza comes close so there is no point in spending money nor calories on anything but Stella Rossa for pizza

        2) last year, Hosteria del Piccolo served a fried ravioli stuffed with fresh apple as a dessert, and i LOVED that.

        3) i've figured out a way to copy their delicious ricotta al forno with mushrooms, and i serve it to guests very frequently. (i guess this should be on the 'home cooking' board). it took some trial and error, but, ultimately well worth the effort. this is a great party dish.

        4) the portion of octopus they served on my GRIGLIATI starter was not at all stingy.

        1. re: westsidegal

          a.) I think it's worth a warning to stay away from pizza at Hostaria del Piccolo. Yes, Stella Rossa has fantastic pizza, but if you're at HdP and the mood strikes . . . well hopefully people will quash that notion before it grows to a substantial craving. Pizza is a major feature of their menu and it's something they fail at. That's worth noting.

          b.) I'll keep on the lookout for that dessert. Those are very different dishes, though. I love bacala but they were just not that good for me. Perhaps the guy manning the fry-o-lator was out to lunch that day because the offense to humanity that was the crispy pig ears was perhaps my worst dish of 2011. I can totally see an off-night, but for now I'll agree to disagree regarding this dish.

          c.) Please do post that recipe. I thought it was a knockout and I'd love to make it at home.

          d.) Different dishes again. The Grigliati features squid. The Moscardini has the octopus. I enjoyed it, but I did find it wasn't a great value. I *would* order it again if I ended up back there, but it's a good deal smaller than their other antipasti. At least mine was that evening.

          I still think this place is a mixed bag, but if you know what to get and what to avoid (which is why I decided to add to this thread) then I think you can have a great time. Lots to like here, but some real weak points, too.

          -----
          Hostaria del Piccolo
          606 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          1. re: cacio e pepe

            i think i got lucky just because my food preferences seem to "jibe" with the things that they normally do well. (i.e. i've never had any interest in pigs ear, anywhere, so by sheer luck i side-stepped that disaster).

            you're completely right about the squid/octopus issue. again, i got lucky because, being a regular at Mariscos Chente's/ Coni'Seafood, all the octopus that i consume is consumed there: sheer luck, again.

            how does that old saying go? "if given a choice between being smart and being lucky, go with lucky"

            1. re: westsidegal

              True true. Though when either of those fail I find brute force and ignorance to work just as well for me. :)

              Honestly, I wouldn't have ordered exactly as you did, but it would have been close were I not in a mixed group. Though the pig ear was my call. Try a bite of someone else's at Animal one day and you might become a fan. I know I did!

              And Mariscos Chente is indeed a treasure. Love, love, love that place, though I go very rarely now that the Mar Vista locale no longer features Sergio.

              -----
              Mariscos Chente
              4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

              1. re: cacio e pepe

                dunno where you'd be coming from, but i now have a street route from west LA/Santa Monica that will get you to sergio's "new" location, even during rush hour, with hardly any suffering:
                take bundy south, it turns into centinela, take centinela south to the intersection with sepulveda, turn right on sepulveda to west imperial highway,
                left on west imperial highway (east) to Yukon.

                this route has worked for me numerous times in the height of rush hour.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Nice route. I'll give it a try very soon. Thanks for sharing!

      2. ate lunch there again today.
        had the same starter and main, gotta say the restaurant cooks consistently, both were exactly the same terrific dishes that were served to me last week.

        had a different dessert, though:
        TIRABIGNÈ
        Mascarpone cream filled puffs, espresso sauce, cocoa

        this was an OMG experience.
        really fantastic dessert.

        4 Replies
        1. re: westsidegal

          Met some friends for happy hour there last night. I didn't have much of an appetite, unfortunately, after an impromptu afternoon filled with East LA Mexican treats.

          The pizzas were much better this time. I'd upgrade them to not bad and fully orderable. (I know, I know, Stella Rossa . . . but we were sampling the Happy Hour menu and it's mostly Pizze e Paste).

          Pasta dish was pretty good. The garganelle seemed to be of the dried, packaged variety. Very good, but I was hoping they would bring their pasta making talents to bear on such a delicious noodle. The porcini sauce was good and for $7 instead of nearly $20 I was *much* happier. They drizzled the dreaded "truffle oil" on it but the dish withstood that insult just fine.

          Tried to get that dessert that you recommended but they had 86'd it already! Damn! Had to settle for the Tirabigne, which is very nice.

          They may be consistent, but there was something really amiss that first night I dined there. I suspect our waiter had forgot to put in our order and many things (like the pizza which had zero char on the crust and barely melted cheese) were rushed. I'm glad to find out about the Happy Hour menu.

          At Happy Hour prices and with the pizza kinks worked out, I'm definitely a fan.

          1. re: cacio e pepe

            i just looked on their website and could not find their Happy Hour menu.
            will call them to get the HH scoop.
            didnt even know they offered anything at all for HH.
            THANKS for the heads-up!

            1. re: westsidegal

              Yeah, check it out. Worth just swinging by.

              The basics from memory = a bunch of pizzas at $7 each, 2 pastas at $7, a few appetizers and desserts at $6, wines by the glass at $5, and cocktails at $6. 5 pm to 7pm.

              I think it's cheaper than Bodega down the street and that place isn't even in the same league. Fantastic deal when you factor in quality, location, and value. At that hour you can probably even find street parking.

              1. re: cacio e pepe

                WOW!