Authentic Italian Food That Ain't No Olive Garden: Via Veneto

So between our little shopping excursion and the Viral Marketing event, bro and I hit up a restaurant that I've been meaning to try out for awhile now..Via Veneto. Straight up - if you have the money to spend on really great Italian food - this is the place to be. If you are like us, people who wouldn't necessarily drop a bill unless it's your birthday/anniversary/or "i'm sorry" day...I would suggest going elsewhere.

You walk in into this pretty small sized room and you are instantly transported back to Italy. You have handsome Italian men..uhhh...(sorry got distracted right there)...the chairs are rustic (or else just have a bad paint job), the creepy candles flicker on the walls, the old, brass looking hanging chandeliers remind of being in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

We open our menu up and wa-bam - $20-$40 per dish. Woah mama. I guess that's what you get if Rosario Dawson lists you as one of her favorite restaurants (i.e. celebrity hangout) and you even have a "celebrity" co-owner (guitarist Warren Cuccurullo of Duran Duran and Missing Persons fame). Maybe I should have asked for a rendition of 'Hungry Like a Wolf" as part of my meal! (Sorry, bad joke.)

They bring us bread and olive oil, apparently they are out of balsamic. (Strange.) Then, our waiter spouts off the long laundry list of specials - maybe too many cause my mouth is salivating but my head doesn't remember anything but lobster, seafood and asparagus.

This is where bro gets worried. YOU ORDERED WHAT?! Lobster? The most expensive thing on the list? Guilt sets in. Oh No.

Alas - the seafood salad comes and it is light but delicious. We think it's soaked in olive oil, but there is a nice mix of vegetables like tomatoes, arugula, bell peppers and green onion with seafood - octopus, langostino and scallops. Needed a bit of salt but overall very satisfying and like nothing I've ever tried.

Bro gets the fettuccine bolognese - noodles are thick but perfectly cooked, not too crunchy or soft. The sauce is not too sweet with just the right amount of meat. Portion was generous.

My dish arrives and thank God but I knew he had said ravioli somewhere in there! I have the half asparagus ravioli and half lobster ravioli plate. Now...there weren't many ravioli but this dish was AMAZING. The ravioli wasn't too thick or hard, it was soft, and the cheese and spinach inside with lobster were perfectly proportioned. No overpowering taste. The asparagus ravioli was easily the best pasta dish I have ever had. The sauce was light and savory. Next time, I'm going full asparagus ravioli.

We finish our meal and the check comes out to, with tip and tax, and flat water (because I always mistake tap with flat)..$99.

Overall?: Delicious meal at a higher end Italian food restaurant. Would definitely recommend it for a hot date or an anniversary. The place is dark and a little too cramped to come with more than even 6 people.

Who Should Go?: People who want the ambiance, who like to see how the celebs eat, who love asparagus and who can imagine it with ravioli. People who want to say, "Yo babe - I know of this really great, little neighborhood Italian restaurant. Serves really authentic food" and be THE MAN.

Tips?: Valet parking is available right in front of the restaurant but we found street metered parking. Make reservations, this place gets really busy at night. Don't let your mind wander during the specials. If you are a baller get the rib-eye, I hear it's amazing.

Via Veneto (Yelp)
3009 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 399-1843

Via Veneto on Urbanspoon

Views: 168

Tags: food, italian, main, monica, restaurant, santa, street, veneto, via

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Comment by Mary on September 24, 2008 at 4:42pm
OMG, the seafood salad looks totally YUM. I hate that it is expensive, but heck, my birthday is only...2.5 months away...
Comment by PANDA JU on September 23, 2008 at 5:34pm
Comment by jenni on September 23, 2008 at 1:12pm
i need to try this place again... i don't remember it being great. but everyone raves about it.

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