Saturday night we rushed to our reservation at Villetta only to realize it was for the following week. Unfortunately, this sort of calendaring mistake happens to me frequently. Despite it being their 5th night open, Villetta took my mistake in stride and we had a fabulous evening. Because we did not have a reservation, and they were very busy, we ate at the bar. The bar staff was extremely attentive and knew the menu like waiters. They were able to make good recommendations and did not come across as frazzled despite the enormous pressure they were under due to the restaurant being at capacity.
I had the olives, the scallop appetizer and the swordfish. Michael had the veal appetizer and the ravioli. For dessert we had the orange cake and the chocolate souffle. Everything was delicious and I devoured every bite on every plate.
The atmosphere is fun, lively and the location is beautiful. This former Chez Mimi location has been restored beautifully and modern touches have been added so it feels hip but comfortable. They have both indoor and outdoor seating. The ceiling in the indoor space is quite low but it reads as cozy and not cramped. They have couch seating for large tables – I felt like I was having dinner at a friend’s house, rather than a restaurant. I liked that some people brought their well-behaved children and envision bringing mine for special occasions. They also have private rooms for parties and events. I was told that these rooms hold 20 to 25.
The chef is Pippa Calland of Le Madri and Luna Park. I believe her focus is on locally and organically grown food – they change the menu daily based on what is available. Apparently they have an “animal program” – we decided we did not really want to hear more about what that meant but I guess it is something to be proud of becuase they mentioned it twice. The food is light Italian and tasted very fresh (I guess it better considering they had only been open 5 nights).
I am going back this weekend, for my real reservation.
Villetta is located at 246 26th St. Santa Monica. 310-524-6812.
Their Website just went live http://www.villetta.us/. Also keep in mind that this is a very small restaurant so you most certainly need a reservation if you want a table.