Today is: Monday, April 23, 2018
Campagnola Trattoria Restaurant Review
The flagship restaurant of Carlo Podda has been serving up authentic Sardinian cuisine since 1994. The restaurant boasts an elegant welcoming romantic setting and extensive menu that is peppered with flavorful favorites such home made pastas such as Lasagne Nostrane, featuring my favorite; Carpaccio Classico, and Gnocchi al Pesto, potato pasta in a pesto and sun dried tomato sauce. In my opinion, I loved the freshly
made pasta. It is softer, chewier and fuller in taste than ordinary pasta. The
service is gracious, and the staff is waiting to cater to your every need.
Located in Westwood, within walking distance of UCLA, the restaurant, which
has been serving authentic Sardinian cuisine for over 14 years, is a consistent
favorite among locals. The restaurant looks is casual and inviting. Parking is
plentiful on the street in front of the restaurant, as well as on neighboring
blocks, and it is only moments between car door and front door.
The main dining room occupies the center of the house. Upon setting I instantly wish
I had an excuse to throw a private dinner party here. The crowd is subdued,
mostly older couples on double dates enjoying the outdoor patio.
While many Italian restaurants try to recreate the ambiance of a trattoria or evoke the romance of the Italian countryside, Campagnola Trattoria's has restrained itself. The decor neither evokes Italy nor tries to recreate it; it instead strives to create a comfortable, elegant atmosphere that lets guests feel at home.
The menu is a treasure trove of flavorful creations, and as our eyes pour over our options, our stomachs start to rumble. Right on cue, a server arrives with a basket
of warm garlic bread, thick slices of soft dough surrounded by a delicate layer
of crispiness, a medley of toasted garlic, butter, sesame seeds, and spices.
Grotta Rossa Carignano Del Sulcis 2005
We turn to the wine list, a short but inviting selection of Italian and American bottles. The by-the-glass selection includes several offerings from each wine category, including several intriguing Italian varietals. We opt for a glass of the Grotta
Rossa Carignano Del Sulcis 2005 from Sardegna, and I did the Argiano Super
Tuscan 2005 from Toscana. The restaurant also serves Italian beer, Birra
Moretti, and has a full coffee bar, not to mention a separate wine menu.
con Pere e Pecorino
The Campagnola Trattoria’s is Sardinian at heart. Each bite is an adventure, a combination of wildly diverse ingredients, each contributing their own textures and flavors. We started with a selection of appetizers that were all delicious, including the Calamari Fritti; my guest mentioned that it was the best calamari he ever tried! I
loved the spicy marinara sauce. Then we tried the Carpaccio Classico, a thinly
sliced raw beef topped with arugula, capers and shaved parmesan in a lemon
dressing. Its flavor, bursting of fresh and delicious meat, we loved, it was
awakening, lively, and vibrant, wowing our taste buds with each bite.
Salcicce e Spinaci Pizza
The Insalata con Pere e Pecorino is another medley of textures and flavors, not
daring to let us down between courses. Glistening from just-applied dressing,
the salad is a tower of harmonious but varied components. We relish in the
fresh, tangy dressing, the nutty walnuts and the sweet green apples, happy
that even the salad course is given the utmost of attention.
The pasta selection at Campagnola Trattoria’s is varied and exciting, with a collection that includes unique family recipes as well as classic dishes. Variety is the overarching theme, with each dish arriving with a myriad of textures and flavors on the plate. The Malloreddus All’Agnello is a quintessential example, a deep bowl of homemade Sardinian gnocchi in a lamb sauce with peas and mushrooms, and topped with pecorino cheese. The bowl arrives brimming with gems. One bite reveals that
while the presentation is playful, the flavors are serious, the tomato sauce is
fresh, vibrant, and lively, and just light enough to refrain from overpowering
the delicate taste of the pasta. What's more, the bowl seems bottomless
despite valiant attempts, our forks never reach the plate.
We also loved the Lasagna Nostrane, thin lasagna pasta layered with bolognese sauce, parmesan cheese, béchamel and tomato sauce. Wonderful lasagna
that will truly allow you to experience what a real lasagna taste like.
Agnello al Rosmarino, Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops
But the dish that will linger in my mind the longest, the dish that captures my heart
this meal, is the Agnello al Rosmarino, grilled New Zealand lamb chops in a red
wine and rosemary sauce served with roasted potatoes. A rather popular dish at Italian restaurants, the version at Campagnola Trattoria’s surpasses any that I
have sampled. It comes down to the quality of the lamb, it is so sweet and
creamy that it seems beyond tender. The dish arrives with a trio of lamb chops.
The lambs rest in a shallow pool of red wine and rosemary sauce. Each bite is
transporting, absolutely pillowy lamb melting on the tongue while a chorus
of tangy, sweet, and creamy flavors dance across the palate. I must say
that nowhere has this dish jumped with such joy, such harmonious
flavors and perfect execution as at Campagnola Trattoria’s.
Pesce Bianco al cuore di Palma, A delicious grilled fish served with heart of palm
Chef Carlo Podda was amazing, he also sent us their delicious Pizza which was perfect, our choice was the Salcicce e Spinaci, a Italian sauce, spinach, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce and also the special fish of the night; the Pesce Bianco al cuore di Palma, a delicious grilled fish served with heart of palm, capers in lemon sauce. Truly an amazing and light dish that you will not feel heavy, simply a divine alternative for those who prefers seafood instead of meat.
Tartufo Ice cream
We eye the dessert tray with curiosity, the Tartufo Ice cream. It arrives in all its
Sardinian glory a chocolate with Zabaglione cream with caramel and hazelnut sauce.
My favorite thing about eating this Tartufo is that it requires absolutely demolishing
a perfect form and there is no other way to ensure each bite has that perfect
ratio of tasting this delicious dessert. I slowly savor a spoonful and
realize there is nowhere else in the world I'd rather be.
Campagnola Trattoria’s doesn’t transport you to Italy and it doesn't need to. Instead, it reminds you of the pleasures that are to be had in this wonderfully diverse city we call home. Indeed, if there is one thing Campagnola Trattoria’s gets right, it's
making guests not only feel comfortable and warm, but providing such
well-crafted, fundamentally good cuisine that everything else seems
to vanish and all we know is this: we are at home.
Special thanks for owner and Chef Carlo Podda
for your generosity and great taste.
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at www.campagnolatrattoria.com
Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
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