Locanda del Lago serves authentic cuisine from Bellagio and the Lake Region of Northern Italy. This Santa Monica locale overlooks Third Street Promenade and brings a taste of Italy to this coastal town. Since its opening in April of 1991, Lago has provided some of the tastiest dishes to foodies, celebrities and locals alike. Their warm décor and seasonal menu along with an air of casual class enhance the dining experience. Come out to Lago where Europe meets the West Coast and enjoy the outdoor patio for people watching and genuine California sunshine as well as some of the most imaginative Italian cuisine Los Angeles has to offer.Read More ...
Locanda del Lago in Santa Monica maintains a unique identity as perhaps the only restaurant in Los Angeles to focus on the cuisine of Bellagio and the lake region of Northern Italy. Although it is located near the Pacific Ocean, Lago provides the feeling of being in Bellagio on Lake Como north of Milan in Lombardy. With a comfortable, warm atmosphere and sidewalk patio, the restaurant evokes the charm of an Italian locanda (inn or trattoria) del lago (of the lake).
Featuring lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Lago has attracted an eclectic crowd of celebrities, locals and travelers by offering exceptional food and service since opening in 1991. Plaudits from the press include this comment from one critic: "Locanda del Lago is a warm and welcome respite. As exotic as it is delicious, the food is among the city's very best." Movieline Magazine described Lago as "Casually classy... the authenticity of the place is clearly one of its assets." The Hollywood Reporter referred to it as a "chic, authentic Italian bistro," and Gourmet Magazine described it by saying,"Italy meets the Pacific -- authentic cuisine of Milano, Como and Stresa served up in the most California of settings. Don't miss the ossobuco alla Milanese."
Overseeing Lago's unique menu are co-owner West Hooker and Executive Chef Davide Vedovelli, both of whom were born in Milan and have lived in Bellagio. "Our selections are guided by Italian traditions and the changing seasons rather than American trends," says Hooker. "A diner at Lago will find dishes, particularly on our dinner menu, not often found at Italian restaurants in this country."
Among the menu's highlights are CARPACCIO DI STORIONE AFFUMICATO (thinly sliced, house-smoked sturgeon with crispy potatoes and baby mixed greens in lemon-yogurt), PIZZOCCHERI ALLA VALTELLINESE (house-made whole wheat pappardelle tossed with savoy cabbage, yukon potatoes and bitto cheese), RISOTTO DI ZUCCA E CAPESANTE (butternut squash risotto with seared scallops and balsamic glaze), LAVARELLO IN SALSA DI GAMBERI DI FIUME (grilled whitefish with crawfish reduction, served with sautéed baby carrots, pearl onions and spinach spaetzle), and OSSOBUCO ALLA MILANESE (veal shank slow-cooked in white wine and vegetables, topped with traditional gremolata, served with saffron risotto - Milanese style). The menu also includes special soups, distinctive salad and antipasti selections, both classic and unusual pasta and risotto dishes, designer pizzas, exceptional meat, fowl and fish selections, and tempting desserts including Lago's signature tiramisú.
Lago's wine list features choices from California and Italy, and for the connoisseur, there is also a range of superior Italian wines selected because of their remarkable qualities and the outstanding reputation of their producers. The wine list has received Wine Spectator Magazine's "Award of Excellence" every year since 1995, and Luigi Veronelli's The Best Italian Restaurants applauded its "vast and intelligent selection." Lago also offers a humidor with a variety of cigars.
A broad menu of after-dinner drinks is available, including Lago's authentic Italian GROLLA, made of espresso, grappa, brandy, sambuca, lemon peel and sugar. After being flamed tableside, this concoction is shared by friends from a hand-carved wooden bowl imported from Italy with one drinking spout for each person. According to Italian custom, as the "friendship cup" is passed from person to person, each relationship it touches grows stronger.
The charm of Lago's ambiance complements its fine cuisine and spirits. Shades of amber, burgundy, saffron and green contrast with vivid white tablecloths, while the walls are decorated with brightly colored china, paintings and artifacts depicting scenes of Bellagio. The dining area is surrounded almost completely by tall windows and is always beautifully lit, daytime or evening. Lago's popular patio fronts the restaurant's exterior, providing a lively view of the passing Third Street Promenade scene.
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This is my worse Christmas ever. I take my parents, my sister and my son to this restaurant the first time to enjoy good authentic Italian food. It is total not even the case of good food. First, I make a reservation and the restaurant cannot find my name but they are fine to still give us a table. But the table they give us is very close to the walkway where waiters are carrying their dishes almost hit my head. The waiters are walking back and ford keep kicking at the edge of my chair. It shows that we are not appreciating at all. The restaurant claims their foods are good and authentic, I don’t think so, and it’s taste terrible. I paid $36.00 for the Sea Bass that taste extremely salty, it like I am eating salt. One final word is that everything is expensive and taste terrible. It is not worth the money. The waiter has service so many tables which he did not even notice that we need to refill coffee and ice water. I definitely will not return to this restaurant ever again.
My dear friend and I were horribly surprised by the terrible food. The portions were so small, i couldnt even see anything on the plate! The quality was all wrong and the taste was completely flavorless.I paid $100 for this meal and I couldnt be more pissed off!! What a waste of my money! Not to mention this service was just as bad. I will never come here again, as I am a LA native. I will NEVER recommend this restaurant to anyone!