12650 Ventura Bl
Studio City 91604
818 761 7600
11AM-10 PM, Sunday 5-10 PM

The Scene: Attractive neighborhood spot
Cuisine: Family Italian with a nouveau edge
Must Try: Any of the Risottos, of course
Star Rating: 2.50
Average Cost: Entrees $11 to $22

We go either way. That is, one of the best parts about living off Mulholland Drive is that we can go to the Valley or to the City to dine. A new addition to the Studio City Restaurant scene offers a reason to head to the valley. Risotto, owned and hosted by the affable and handsome Claudio Barbagiovanni (now that’s authentic Italian), replaces one of our old haunts, Spumoni, which we had frequented over one hundred times until we realized we had never been offered a complimentary anything. As our readers know by now, the Dining Duo insists on paying the bill before reviewing a restaurant, but one of our pet peeves is when a restaurateur does not reward you, the consistent customer, with a drink or desert from time to time.

The reincarnation is better than its predecessor in so many ways. Risotto sports a much needed face lift that now makes it a spotless and charming Italian bistro, boasting a gorgeous open stainless kitchen and homemade specialties from Claudio’s family. He was also a caterer for twenty plus years, and calls on that expertise to serve delightful homemade Italian dishes.

Make certain to start your meal with a soup of the day. We particularly enjoyed the Butternut Squash ($5) that was served piping hot and flavorful, yet without overbearing flavors. Claudio’s Caprese salad comprised of fresh vine-ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, home grown basil and virgin olive oil is quite reasonably priced at $7.50.

With a name like “Risotto”, that dish is the forte here and should not be passed up. Our favorite is actually the healthiest alternative on the menu, The Farfalle con Pollo, perfectly seasoned bow tie pasta with grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes and fresh asparagus in a light tomato sauce, with the just the right amount of garlic and a bargain at $14. Also of note is the home made Capellini loaded with crabmeat, which one can order with a red or white sauce at $18. Michael enjoyed their Veal Picatta (Scott can’t stand killing those poor little lambs), seasoned with lemon and capers and served over Risotto Primavera ($20.50).

Don’t leave Risotto with out trying the homemade Ricotta Cheese Cake accompanied with fresh berries ($6), although one of the Dining Duo particularly liked the size of the cannoli; he shall remain anonymous.

It’s nice to come back to the neighborhood and be treated like family.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 3:00 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

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