Caffe Italia

    The secret is out, and Caffe Italia, a treasure of a restaurant, will not stay hidden for much longer. Tucked away in a modest  strip mall on Burbank Blvd in Sherman Oaks, Caffe Italia features amazing Neapolitan and Sicilian Italian cuisine. A  faithful popular following  through their old world eats and warm and inviting hospitality makes it a true neighborhood gem.

                Owners and managing partners Ferdinando Donadelli and Cosimo De Vaia’s desire was to open an authentic Italian Restaurant akin to their Italian heritage, and offer the familiar flavors  of their mother’s cooking.  “Our cuisine embraces the cuisine of Naples and Sicily,” says Donadelli.  “The food is always made fresh to order with the most premium of ingredients to  bring out the most optimal exquisite flavor of each dish. The traditional cooking  techniques of Italy are our foundation, and Caffe’ Italia builds upon the simple, hearty fare of the old country,” states De Vaia

               Taking over what was a small pizza restaurant, they turned Caffe’ Italia into an understated rustic charm, the perfect spot for everyday dining. Chef Gerardo Posa much traveled but of late coming from Aspen Colorado, is at the helm.

               Start you meal with a  variety of classic Italian Antipasti & Insalate, such as the cream Burrata with caprese tomato, creamy mozzarella, oregano, basil and arugla, dressed with balsamic and olive oil  No need to shy away from using your bread to sop up the aromatic broth of the Pepato di Cozze alla Napoletano, translated as steamed mussels Neapolitan style. For a light indulgence, there is the Insalatina di Pere e Gorgonzola, comprised of baby greens with pears and  blue cheese, drizzled with vinaigrette dressing, or the Insalata Vegetariana, a mixed chopped vegetable salad with mozzarella and lemon dressing. For a little bit of everything and perfect for sharing, go for the Antipasta delia Casa, a smorgasbord of cold cuts, mozzarella, olives, roasted peppers, and artichokes.

               There is nothing more global to Italian cuisine than pasta, and Caffe Italia has a generous selection to choose from, all made in-house. For the fundamental types there’s Gnocchi al Ragu’ di Carne, featuring potato gnocchi with meat sauce.  Lovers of seafood can indulge in the Spaghetti al Sapore di Mare, comprised of spaghetti pasta with mixed seafood in a light tomato sauce, while vegetarians can get their fill with Risotto Vegetariano con Caprino, risotto with veggies and goat cheese. The Penna ali’Arrabbiata features penne pasta and  garlic in a spicy tomato sauce, that also offers a gluten free option.

               If you crave a  main course, leaving the carbs behind, the Carne & Pesce offers Costolette di Agnello Scottadito pan-fried lamb chops, accompanied by Madeira sauce or the omega-3 rich Salmone alla Groglia, grilled salmon with Salmoriglio sauce. For  heartier  appetites, Bistecca di Manzo alla Griglia, a grilled ribeye steak  is done to perfection

               The shining gem in this hidden treasure is the Traditional Italian Pizza. Simple and savory Italian pies take the traditional ingredients of Italy and serve up the tastiest pizzas this side of Naples. Relish the Capricciosa made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, anchovies, olives, artichokes, oregano, or the Emilia, topped with mozzarella, arugula, and Parma Ham.  How about trying the exotic Tonnara, that includes tuna, onions, olives and basil, or the Siciliana topped with anchovies, capers and black olive. If you would like to turn up the heat, try the Diavola, with spicy salami, or the Calzone Ripieno, a baked folded pizza stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta,salame , black pepper and basil.

               There’s always room for  Dolce, and Caffe Italia has a dessert to satisfy everyone from the Cannoli alla Siciliano to the Torta di chocolato con pere e noci, a chocolate tart with pears and walnuts. Fruit fanatics can savor the Crostata di pesche e mirtilli, also known as the peach and cranberries tart, while those dreaming of something rich and creamy can tuck into the Torte di ricotta  a dreamy ricotta cheesecake, or the Gelato with its two wonderful flavors vanilla or chocolate.

              

               Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner Monday through Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.;Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

               Caffe Italia is located at 14056 Burbank Blvd in Sherman Oaks, phone (818) 465-3690 www.CaffeItaliaLA.com

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