MICHELIN RATED SANTA MONICA DINING GEM DELIGHTS
I have to say, since my introduction to Santa Monica’s La Botte, I’ve quickly become obsessed with the Michelin Star awarded Italian fare crafted by chef and owner Stefano De Lorenzo who is truly creating remarkable and delightful Italian delicacies from scratch. And his “LAperitivo” happy hour is one of the best deals in town—more about that later.
Opened in 2006, La Botte serves contemporary Italian cuisine using organic ingredients hand selected from local farmers’ markets, and all the menu offerings are handmade. La Botte, which means “barrel” and is Italian for “the wine cask” was literally built with wine as its primary attraction. The floors are made from old wine cask staves, wine barrels are set around the room like boulders and an elaborate wine rack wraps around the back walls. Wine enthusiasts and aficionados will particularly enjoy the extensive wine list and, if you care to bring in your own vino, corkage fee is only $20 for your first bottle.
During my first visit for dinner, we started with the Carpaccio di Branzino e Ricci de Mare—Mediterranean Sea Bass rolled with sea urchin, green onions and sea urchin ice cream. Original and delightful, this starter item is so flavorful and wonderful to share.
Likewise, another great appetizer that’s good to share is the Carpaccio di Filtetto e Tartufo—Wagyu beef filet mignon with truffle. These thin cut slices of beef are so savory and serve as a great item to get your palette ready for what is still to come.
The Prosciutto di Parma e Burrata, thinly sliced 30 months aged Parma prosciutto served with fresh burrata cheese, again, is a terrific plate of fantastic finger food. All of these starter items really paired perfectly with a nice glass of white wine.
At this point, Chef was passing out complimentary presents of Classic Lasagna to all diners, each prepared authentically with green pasta filled with pork and beef. The petite delight even came gift wrapped, which you had to unwrap before digging in. Nice touch!
For our entrees, we went with the Ravioli di Brasato, Porcini e Burro Fuso—braised beef filet mignon ravioli, with porcini mushrooms, brown butter and sage. Talk about tasty! At this point we moved on from white to red wine to really elevate the fine dining experience.
The Petto D’Anatra Muta con Cipolle e Salsa di Espresso—roasted Muscovy duck breast with wilted baby Swiss chard, melody of roasted onions, and espresso sauce, was outrageously delicious.
For dessert this night, Chef had prepared Mushroom Gelato, which may sound odd but you’d never guess it was only made with pureed mushrooms and a touch of honey. It was absolutely delicious.
Since that first visit, I’m become a La Botte regular for its fantastic “LAperitivo” happy hour, served daily from 5-8pm.
“We are delighted to offer our esteemed clientele a delicious new way to enjoy La Botte’s Italian cuisine and culture in a more casual setting,” says Chef De Lorenzo. “LAperitivo is the perfect pre-dinner meeting place for cocktail hour or to gather with friends and enjoy delicious food and wine.”
LAperitivo’s palate-pleasing, seasonal, four-course tasting menu is comprised of a variety of delicious Italian cuisine such as Classic Lasagna, Luna Oysters,Trota (trout) and Mushroom Gelato with a choice of red or white wine for only $20. I’ve been there when Chef served soup, Classic Lasagna, Branzino, and Mushroom Gelato, and another item served a delicious oyster, followed by a phenomenal Red Beet Gnocchi, Trout, and Meyer Lemon Gelato. Nothing has disappointed yet.
The LAperitivo is a great way to get to know the menu and understand what Chef De Lorenzo is doing. You will, of course, have to come in one time to feast on the regular menu, but really, you will be hard pressed to find better bang for your buck and your taste buds than the completely satisfying LAperitivo dining experience.
La Botte is located at 620 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica. Open Mon-Thurs, and Sat & Sun 5:30pm to 10:30pm, and Friday 11:30am to 10:30pm. Call (310) 576-3072 for reservations.
By: Jose Martinez.
Some photography courtesy of: La Botte