Locanda del Lago is a quaint, inviting restaurant that proudly claimed the corner of Santa Monica’s Arizona Ave. and 3rd Street. Bringing the tastes, wines and sights of Northern Italy to Los Angeles for twenty years now, it’s managed to find the perfect balance between preserving its roots and traditions, and yet gracefully making way for new, innovative ingredients, dining experiences and culinary concepts.
Take, for example, its “Meatless Mondays” series. With the ultimate goal to reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding all meat and meat-related products for one day a week, since May 2010, the restaurant has found a way to create dishes that are still fundamentally traditional dishes of the Lombardy region, but that just happen to be vegan.
Or, take for instance, the arrival of Executive Chef Gianfranco Minuz earlier this year. While there might have been a change in the kitchen and even a few new items added to the menu, Locanda del Lago didn’t just overhaul the former menu. Instead, it kept many of its signature dishes that patrons have loved over the years, such as the Insalata Burrata, pictured below.
And this fall season, expect Locanda del Lago to continue to bring new ideas to the table, while keeping in stride with time-honored practices, with the introduction of Morso della Bestia (Bite of the Beast). Since its debut in September, every last Thursday of the month, Chef Minuz incorporates the majority of a specific animal – such as the Niman Ranch all-natural Lamb we devoured pictured below – including parts that aren’t always served, such as the intestines and the cheeks. It’s carefully crafted into a five-course meal complemented by wines and again, it’s another nod to promoting sustainability and the negative impact on the environment.
In honor of Thanksgiving, Locanda del Lago will have a special Morso della Bestia – turkey style on Thanksgiving Day. Along with your choice of two or three other courses and optional wine pairings, enjoy the Tacchino con Noci Tostate, which features an all-natural, free-range Roasted Diestel Family Turkey Ranch turkey Roulade with toasted cashews, cranberry compote, tricolor mashed potatoes, brown gravy, and sautéed green beans.
And after Thanksgiving, the fun doesn’t stop. Beginning on “Black Friday,” the Friday immediately after Thanksgiving, and lasting until New Year’s Eve, Italian fashion designer-themed cocktails will take over the bar. There will be “The Armani,” “The Gucci,” “The Missoni” and “The Prada.” A fun way to get in the spirit of holiday shopping – or to take a much needed break after a long day of roaming through the crowded stores. But of course, don’t forget to order classics like the Caprese Martini, pictured below, which really tastes like a Caprese salad in a glass!
We’re looking forward to spending many autumn nights right in the cozy heart of Locanda del Lago!
Locanda del Lago is located at 231 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, 310.451.3525; http://www.lagosantamonica.com.
About the Author: Amber D. Wilson is a native Angeleno with a penchant for all things revolving around eating, drinking and being absolutely and incredibly merry. She shares her passion with others through her own weekly blog, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide. When she’s not out exploring the wonderful new hangout spots that Los Angeles has to offer, Amber can be found traveling, running 5K races and reading books by the beach.