Dining

Boccaccio’s Baked Alaska

Boccaccio’s

  • By Elaine Petrone

Have we got a surprise for you! Just imagine beautiful lakeside dining conveniently located in Westlake Village. Boccaccio’s Restaurant combines excellent food with a view. How decadent. Open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, the extensive menu offers filet mignon, lobster tails, and wild salmon. I personally enjoyed the lobster bisque and the crab cake as starters and then moved on to one of the delicious main courses. Believe it or not, I did leave room for dessert! I recommend you try the Baked Alaska. You won’t regret it and you will certainly remember it. They offer a variety of Italian favorites but can also do vegetarian and vegan options. And naturally the wine list is extensive.

The restaurant can accommodate both indoor and outdoor seating. I recommend the outdoor choice just for the fun of it. Lake Sherwood is privately owned but it is still possible to rent some paddle boats where people can actually have a picnic since their meals are delivered. What a great place to have a special event — wedding or baby showers, bar mitzvahs, or just about anything that is special to you. There is room for everyone as indoor and patio areas are both large enough to accommodate a crowd. The restaurant suggests calling ahead for reservations at (818) 889-8300. Go and enjoy!

Boccaccio’s is located at 32123 Lindero Boulevard in Westlake Village.

Davenport’s Patio

Davenport’s

  • By Nina Sventitisky

If you crave a steakhouse experience, the Valley has a lot to offer. Delmonico’s, Larsen’s, Monty’s, Fleming’s are either played out (read outdated decor or tired menu items) or a bit of the chain white tablecloth experience. Davenport’s is certainly not on that list – it’s modern, with what might be Encino’s (and the West Valley’s) tastiest experience. I’ve been a four-time customer there and each time the meal was outstanding, and vibe superior. Davenport’s elegance comes from several huge coast live oak trees in a gorgeous outdoor patio setting, wrapped with thousands of tiny lights. Tables are suitably placed for privacy and heat lamps warm up the chilly night air. Inside, expect dark banquettes, a sleek bar and lighting that makes everyone look dramatic and beautiful. But food and cocktails and wine are what you come for and you’ll be pleased with what Davenport’s turns out. We usually begin with oysters and the smoked trout spread with cocktails, or a plate of albacore sashimi of excellent quality. The Tomahawk pork chop, Skirt Steak Chimichurri, Chilean Sea Bass and Rib Eye are favorites; it’s the mark a well-run kitchen when the meat and fish are prepared just right – the consistency at Davenport’s is what keeps us coming back. Wine lists are a great restaurant’s big investment (along with talented and professional staff). The-by-the-glass offerings and bottles are extensive and impressive.

Davenport’s is located at 16120 Ventura Boulevard in Encino.

Pizzana’s Cacio e Pepe

PIZZANA

  • By Paige Petrone
  • Photo By Dane Deaner

I’ll admit I’m a bit obsessed with Bobby Flay and New York pizza! So recently when I watched Chef Daniele Uditi featured on Beat Bobby Flay and he beat him(!) with a Cacio e Pepe white pizza … Bobby said that it was “the best pizza in Los Angeles” … I just had to judge for myself. I was surprised to learn that Pizzana is owned by actor Chris O’Donnell and the couple behind Sprinkles Cupcakes (one of my favorites!). There are two Pizzana locations — Brentwood and West Hollywood. It’s basically an upscale pizzeria offering Bianca Pizza, meaning “white” pizza with “slow dough” neopolitan crust which is house made with special care. Chef Uditi boasted that it’s all in the way you handle the dough and it really seems to make a difference. It is really special. He also makes his own ricotta cheese which I think puts his signature Cacio e Pepe pizza over the top. Besides the fabulous pizza Pizzana offers up weekly sandwich specials like the Padrino (Italian Sub) and Chicken Parmigiana. Save room for dessert! The manager was kind enough to include the Torta al Cioccolata made with pistachios to our order, and it was simply divine. A truly nice touch. We tried a couple of other pizzas, but the Cacio E Pepe is the one that makes it worth the trip. So what are you waiting for?! Get goin’ to Pizzana!

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Bianca Bakery’s Fresh Baked Baguettes

BIANCA

  • By ARLENE WINNICK

One of the joys of Covid was discovering new places as I walked the various LA neighborhoods that I usually speed through in my car.  At the east end of Culver City is Platform, a group of unique shops and dining outlets.   Adjacent is the amazing Bianca Restaurant and Bakery.

Where to begin…ah the breads (organic flour is the heart and soul of all baked goods) prepared on premises.  The fugasse, the olive, the pizzas, et al.  They all sell out fast so come early or reserve in advance. Ditto on the creative baked goods from pies (heavenly key lime) to croissants (many stuffed) to divine cakes (from the simplest coffee cake to masterpieces made with deulce de leche and layers of meringue). The gentle genius in the bakery is Federico Fernandez, the Four Seasons Hotel executive pastry chef. You must have a latte – the creamiest one in a city of lattes.

Now to the restaurant (I’ve had just about everything without a disappointment) and it’s no surprise as the owners of Bianca are the Madeo Ristorante family.   My favorites: Spanish Tortilla, the Frittata and the lightest Eggs Benedict for brunch.  At lunch the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Polpette (meatballs) in Marina Sauce, Epanadas plate, and a salad or pizza.  For dinner I always have the Gamberoni Alla Griglia, the special pasta, and Madeo’s beloved sliced Leg of Veal…served on decorative plates!

Bianca Bakery is located at 8850 Washington Boulevard in Culver City.