Upon entering Locando del Lago we ask for a window seat; the people watching is just too good in Santa Monica. While viewing the menu we order our go to cocktail, a Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini. It was perfectly done; the bartender has clearly mastered his art.
We received a call from a friend that saw on Facebook we were visiting Santa Monica. He happened to be picking up a new phone two blocks down so we invited him over to meet us for a drink. Once he heard where we were he invited himself to dinner. While we were waiting his arrival we asked the server about the restaurants background. He was a wealth of knowledge and shared with us that since opening back in 1991, the restaurant has established a reputation for producing authentic cuisine from Northern Italy’s Lombardy region featuring specialties from Milano and Bellagio on Lake Como. He was then kind enough to take us through the entire menu and after hearing his favorites we ordered the Tartara di Tonno Ahi and Burrata, Prosciutto e Fichi to start.
The appetizers arrived same time as our friend Brian. The Tartara di Tonno consisted of Tuna Tartar, Lone Ranch Farm Avocado, Red Onion, Balsamic Dressing and Plantain Chips. The Burrata, Prosciutto e Fichi had Burrata Cheese, Parma Prosciutto, Red Wine Poached Black Mission Figs and Baby Arugula. Both were a hit and within minutes were gone.
We let Brian take a minute to view the menu and then placed our entrée order. For my dish I chose the Biancostato di Manzo, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Fresh Oregano, Sautéed Broccolini and Potato “Williams” with Black Truffle while Mike had his usual the Filetto con Spugnole e Castagne. Filet Mignon, Toasted Chestnuts, Morel Mushroom Sauce and Winter Green Sauté. Brian kept it classic with the Lasagna di Pollo e Pesto. Lasagna, Smoked Chicken, Market Basil Pesto, Yukon Potatoes, Béchamel Sauce and Parmesan. We dug right in, the talking stopped and all was quiet; at least until our plates were finished. The server brought out a small portion of the Butternut Squash Risotto, he said it was a must try and he was right. We would have to come back for that one!
After another round of drinks we were stuffed but who goes to a great Italian restaurant without having dessert? Not the three of us; especially when desserts are made in house on a daily basis. The winners from the dessert menu were the Vulcano di Cioccolato with warm Molten Chocolate Cake and Caramelized Bananas and the Torta di Frutta a Farmer’s Market Apricot, Strawberry, Cherry & Peach Tart, with Almond Cream, Raspberry Sauce and Vanilla Gelato. Heavenly!
231 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, (310) 451-3525, lagosantamonica.com