Today is: Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Da Vinci Restaurant Review
Main Dining Room
Da Vince Beverly Hills from 1980 with a prime location at Santa Monica Blvd. makes it a place to see and be seen, with windows facing the hippest corner of Beverly Hills. A warm interior suggestive of an Italian villa extends, with mirrors on both walls, where Master Chef Alfredo prepares the Tuscan specialties that put Da Vinci
in the top ten of Italian restaurants in the U.S. Add to that an excellent
selection of Italian wines, moderate prices, and an enthusiastic staff,
and it’s easy to see why Da Vinci is booked daily.
Walking into Da Vinci, it is evident why the restaurant is one of the most popular in the area. The ambiance is comforting, the atmosphere lively, and the energy bustling with excitement. The restaurant’s prime location, within walking distance from the most famous shops in Rodeo Drive, makes it an ideal place to see and be seen, and it is
no surprise it is the favorite spot of all major celebrities and famous people. Find yourself at the cozy bar for a pre-dinner cocktail and get a peek at the by-reservation-only ‘Dean Martin Booth’, where "Dino" dined nightly for many years, a must for that romantic evening or special occasion. This is the heart of Da Vinci, embracing its entertainment history and living up to its motto to 'Dine in Romance and Nostalgia".
A first choice for everything from casually elegant dinners to corporate and private parties, Da Vinci has played host to many of the city’s most prestigious events. While this is partly due to the restaurant’s ideal atmosphere, including a private bar area, a semi private dining section, and amenities such as a full bar with talented ; part of this undoubtedly stems from the genuine passion and excitement of Executive Chef Alfredo, and his long career of opening successful restaurants where he not only served as chef but as gracious host as well. While the atmosphere is one of the
most inviting around, it is the food and the service that makes Trattoria
Da Vinci a favorite among Angelinos and visitors alike.
Da Vinci Martini made with Tuaca
Seated at our table, the complexity of the breads and olive oil was a delightful
treat, as was the balance of the aged vinegar. We immediately knew
we were in for an evening of the highest quality.
Island Ice Tea
After fawning over the wine list, which offers one of the best selections of Italian
wines I have seen, I ordered a glass of Tormaresca Chardonnay from Puglia. Connoisseurs will delight in Da Vinci’s vast collection if Italian wines, especially the exclusive selection from the owner’s personal cellar, which includes several vintages
of the revered Tignanello and Solaia Antinori wines. For those less inclined to
indulgence, the wine list contains an equally extensive and approachable selection
of reasonably priced Italian and American wines, both by the glass and bottle.
Turning out attention to the dinner menu, which seemed almost as extensive as the wine list, I must admit I felt slightly overwhelmed. In addition to the selection of Antipasti, Insalate, Primi, and Secondi courses, a generous selection of daily specials prepared by the Chef all looked tempting. Thankfully, our server was well versed in the intricacies of each dish, so much so that his eyes displayed vicarious delight as he described them. His list of recommendations was long as well as varied, demonstrating Chef’s range of talent. Our server excitedly recommended the Scallops Limone, tender scallops sauteed in a Lemon garlic tarragon sauce, a Carpaccio al Parmigiano, thinly sliced raw tenderloin of beef, slivered artichokes, olive oil lemon and
Parmigiano and Prosciutto e Melone, thinly sliced Italian Prosciutto di Parma
with chilled fresh melon, which we would ultimately order.
Carpaccio al Parmigiano
Prosciutto e Melone
We started with the Carpaccio al Parmigiano a plate of delicately sliced raw filet mignon circling slivered artichokes, olive oil lemon, alongside crumbly slivers of Parmigianno Reggiano. The carpaccio slices had the consistency of silk, threatening
to slip off our forks as we lifted them from the plate. The slices were fresh and exquisite, although the dish’s excellence was truly revealed with a bite that
combined the delicate meat with the lemon sauce and salty capers. While
alone each component of this trio was excellent, together the bite seemed
to take on certain synergy, approaching the sublime.
Caesar salad for two prepared table-side
This sensation would continue throughout our meal, as Chef’s creations would demonstrate brilliance in strategically intertwining distinct flavors and textures to
reach heightened sensations of taste. This was certainly true with the selection
of the Caesar salad for two, prepared table-side is a diners favorite.
Gnocchi with Pesto, Ravioli Antoinette, Penna Amatriciana, Paglia e Fieno
Recommendations include to not miss their homemade pastas. We had four samplers,
the Ravioli Antoinette, homemade with chicken, veal, spinach and parmesan in pesto sauce, the Paglia e Fieno, baked white & green noodles with ham, peas, mushrooms, in cream sauce, the Penna Amatriciana, with crispy pachetta, tomato, parmesan and fresh tomato sauce and the Gnocchi with pesto sauce. Each bite was an explosion
of flavor that gave way to a melting sensation as the flavors dissipated and the pastas dissolved on our tongues. I couldn’t help but feel that these unique dishes
creatively intertwining and screamed the essence of Northern Italy. All pastas were cooked
to perfection. The al dente spirals were firm to the bite, giving way to a rush
of flavor from the sauce caught between the spirals. I realized I had
never before tasted pasta cooked this perfectly.
Our server brought us a glass of Ruffino Pinot Grigio, which he thought would pair excellently with the dishes we had ordered. The crisp pinot grigio seemed refreshing after such decadent appetizers, while the Ceasar salad served a light intermezzo
before our entrees. We savored the clean bites, contemplating the
genius of the classic pairing of this trio of ingredients.
As my date took a sip of the Chianti Classico Peppoli that we had ordered to accompany our entrées, I took a moment to contemplate our surroundings. The
rich leather studded chairs and white clothed tables were mostly full around us, and
a lively chatter filled the air. Outside, a constant stream of foot traffic filled the brick sidewalks, while cars and the occasional pedicab slowly rolled by. For a moment,
I imagined myself in the heart of Florence, seated at an elegant outdoor table
at a small Trattoria. The experience, I realized, would be quite similar.
Rack of Lamb Flambee Tableside
My guest did not want to miss the Rack of Lamb Flambee tableside in a dijon roseman brandy reduction, slow cooked over the course of a day, the tender and generous portion of meat was practically falling off the bone when it arrived on
our table. The soft meat dissolved upon hitting the tongue, imparting a savory
sensation throughout the mouth. The lamb was absolutely sublime!
Garlic Lobster Tail
I was told not to miss my favorite dish the Garlic Lobster Tail, broiled with garlic paprika, olive oil & herbs. No butter. Again, Chef’s talent arose in intertwining
distinct textures, and each bite was again absolutely irresistible! One of the
lobster dish I have ever tasted. I absolutely recommend this one.
Feeling at ease in the warm and by now bustling dining room and tempted by the
lavish desserts of Italy, we decided to indulge in a flavorful end to our meal. We
opted for the Crepes Butterscotch which is also prepared, better yet ‘orchestrated’, table-side with a flaming crescendo. Ask for it by name as this item is not on the
menu, and you just may see onlookers discretely whisper “I’ll have what
they’re having”. A perfect conclusion to a truly impressive meal.
As we walked out on to the busy Santa Monica boulevard, content and full, I knew Da Vinci was a place I would delightfully return to. For being so far from his native home, The Chef provides an excellent rendition of true cocina Tuscana, bringing the authenticity of a Florentine restaurant to the lucky streets of Beverly Hills.
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For more information please visit their website
Article by: Mary Adams
Photos by: Chris Marx
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