Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Doggie Bag 'Cause We (Nearly) Licked the Plates Clean

We first visited Aliotta's Via Firenze several years ago - I vaguely remember blogging about our delight with the food and service then. We drove by it the other day and I said, "You know ... we need to get back there.." visions of the Gamberini Don Mike floating temptingly through my mind. Last night we did.

Aliotta's is located in a corner of a strip mall which is an unexpected place to find a "romantic" restaurant. "Suspension of disbelief" comes to mind. After we were seated, I gazed at our surroundings - "rustic romantic" would be my overall impression - three huge chandeliers, a faux balcony. Very tall walls, black leather armchairs and white table clothes with a beige cloth overlay. Maroon napkins twisted into coils popped out of the water goblets. the silverware was over-sized -- the pasta/soup spoon was as big as a 12-year-old's fist.

"Who cares what the room looks like! What about the food?" you cry. Very well. First came a basket of little pillows of warm Italian bread. Already on the table was a square white plate for the bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that sat next to it. Richie ordered a glass of the Pont Merlot ($7.50) and I splurged on a half-bottle of Prosecco ($18) which proved to be an economy -- three full flutes of wine from a fat, thick bottle that kept it cold until the last drop.

Richie ordered Saltimboccca, a classic dish - veal scaloppini topped with parma proscuitto in a sage-wine sauce. ($24) I started with a Caesar salad of insanely-fresh Romaine that had been thoroughly tossed in the good, thick dressing. Gobbling slightly, I offered some to Richie, who eagerly joined me. Our hot dishes arrived together - mine was the appetizer-size Gamborini Don Mike - four prawns, wrapped in parma prosciutto and grilled with a sambuca romana cream sauce. ($15) Yes I did use the bread to sop up the leftover sauce! You would have, too!

Aliotta's has a huge menu; in fact, I just now noticed Capracci Della Casa - thin-sliced, cured beef tenderloin with lemon, capers and shaved Parmigiano, drizzled with extra olive oil. ($14) Read the extensive menu at

Visit Aliotta's at 4485 Torrance Boulevard (NE corner of Torrance and Anza) Torrance, 90503 310-371-9555.

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