North Italia Opens in Santa Monica

Handcrafted Italian food. Outdoor patio with natural sunlight and ocean breeze. A delicious and creative bar. A beautiful modern dining room. A humongous open kitchen where you can watch the chefs make masterpieces. YES! Welcome to NORTH ITALIA!


I had the pleasure of checking out the North Italia location in El Segundo and was pleasantly pleased at how delicious the food was which I’m sure also had something to do with the awesome company and our energetic server, Eric. Needless to say,  I was thrilled to find out that North Italia was creating a new location closer to LA on 2nd avenue in Santa Monica. It’s a great addition to the already booming area of the 3rd street promenade which is a 5 minute walk away.

Media invite to preview North Italia Santa Monica before they open to the public? YES PLEASE! I loved the open room concept with North. The patio is an absolute necessity. The bar seating overlooks the main dining room and the main dining room overlooks the open kitchen.

Let’s talk food and drinks. What must everyone start with before they order? Coffee? Cocktail? Both. I’m a coffee freak and will usually order a simple drip brew to get my dining experience started. Another favorite is a bloody mary because I’m fascinated with the fact that you can drink it and eat it plus it was brunch time 🙂 North’s bloody mary is appropriately called THE RED ROOSTER and is like a caprese in a glass. Other than the little chunks of mozzarella (which reminded me of salty boba :-), I found it very tasty.

THE RED ROOSTER. Vodka, spiced tomato, averna amaro, lime and caprese. $11.00 bucks

You can expect everything on the menu to be made from scratch and the kitchen to be stocked with seasonal ingredients.  We started with two appetizers, the calamari and the meatballs. The meatballs were hearty and covered in marinara. Since it’s an Italian restaurant it seemed like an obvious item to order. The calamari was tossed in a lemony vinaigrette with arugula. It was light and I liked the pairing with the peppery arugula but you’ll definitely need to eat this one right away so the calamari doesn’t get soggy.

ITALIAN MEATBALLS. marinara, pecorino and grilled bread. $12.00

 

CRISPY CALAMARI. arugula & grilled lemon vinaigrette. $13.00

The pizza is another must order. I remember falling in love with the pizza during my visit to the El Segundo lcoation. I’m still in love. We ordered a 50/50 which is highly encouraged and also allows you to try two flavors for the price of one. We ordered the Funghi which is loaded with shrooms and drizzled with truffle oil and the Prosciutto, which was topped with arugula and cheese. The pizza’s are hands down my favorite things to order. The ratio of pizza dough to toppings is perfection. I mean seriously, check out how sexy this pizza is.

50/50. PROSCIUTTO and THE FUNGHI. P-mission fig, goat cheese and arugula. F-roasted mushroom, cipollini onion and smoked mozzarella

Next was the short rib radiatori. Another winner! I love short ribs, especially when they’ve been braised for 10+ hours, and the meat melts in your mouth. The pasta was so creamy with hints of horseradish and lemon. A ridiculously superb flavored bowl of pasta. I’m also noticing an arugula theme here.

SHORT RIB RADIATORI. parmesan cream, fresh horseradish, wilted arugula, herbed breadcrumb. $22.00

Here’s me happy and in love with my 50/50 pizza!

Finally, we make it to dessert. The hazelnut torta is pretty! It’s a lot of flavors and if you have a major sweet tooth, than this is definitely for YOU. I loved the handmade toffee and that along with the salted caramel gelato were standouts for me. My friend Kristi Hang was in earlier in the day to try the menu and shared her Italian Bombolini donuts with meyer lemon curd and vanilla mascarpone. The desserts are decadent and rich and wickedly delicious. I included a picture of the bombolini’s from my last visit. Something about lemon curd and vanilla…..YUM!

HAZELNUT TORTA. Surrounded with nutella cream, chunks of hazelnut toffee and topped with salted caramel gelato $9.00 (flower not included)

 

North Italia opens their doors today and will be open 7 days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. There’s plenty of street parking and of course being in Santa Monica there’s a convenient parking garage located right across the street. Go Eat!

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Who is Sam Fox? Founder Sam Fox is the creative visionary behind the incredibly successful restaurant group, Fox Restaurant Concepts. Fox is a numerous James Beard nominated restaurateur in the Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year category, a New York Times best-selling cookbook author, and has been recognized as one of the 50 most powerful people in food service byNation’s Restaurant News for two years in a row. Fox was also recently named in Restaurant Business Magazine’s Power 20 List. North Italia Santa Monica marks the 10th Sam Fox restaurant in the Greater Southern California area, and is part of Fox Restaurant Concepts’ network of nearly 60 restaurants under 16 brands nationwide

Kimlai Yingling is a culinary producer, freelance writer & host who has been seen on AOL.com, MSN.com & Entrepreneur.com. She's been featured in HuffPost, LA Wonders, Dirty and Thirty etc. She has a bachelor's degree in Communications from Washington State University. Find Kimlai on Instagram @kimlaiyingling

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