Fattoria e Mare 1095 Rollins Rd./near Cadillac Way, (650) 342-4923. L M-F, D daily, Sat-SunBr; $$-$$$. Free parking lot adjacent.
Located out by the car dealers near Broadway and the 101 freeway, this reworking of a former club-style restaurant provides spacious and comfortable seating, plenty of booths (many are the old-fashioned Hollywood half-moon style), and white tablecloths. The Italian menu is locally sourced and mostly organic. Specialties include house-made charcuterie, salumi, and pasta. My dining partner and I shared everything, and at the end of each course the plates looked like we had licked them clean—each item was that good.
We started with a delicious and lovely beet salad accented with crispy quinoa and carrots and a yogurt dressing.
We followed that with a pretty burrata made seasonal with pumpkin puree and pomegranate kernels. Grilled octopus and seafood fritto misto with aioli also sounded enticing.
After hearing that the light Italian Stracchino cheese used in the stuffed foacaccia al recca pizza was made with cheese from the milk of “tired Italian cows,” we ordered this unusual dish. Made fragrant with white truffle oil, it is chewy and satisfying and I recommend adding on the optional prosciutto. Another of these light, thin-crust pizzas that sounds particularly tasty is the calabrese sausage with padron peppers and fennel.
The pizzas are cooked in a silver-painted, futuristic-looking masonry oven with a brick floor that it is seen when entering the restaurant.
I am a fan of pappardelle, so we ordered that with wild mushrooms. Fusilli a la limone with whole shrimp and a baked veal bolognese were also enticing, and though we had no room left for an entrée I plan to try the grilled whole Branzino fish next time. Our dinner was enhanced with a glass of white 2012 Vermentino and a traditional red 2011 Barbera D’Alba from Italy. The wine list also has many California selections.
For dessert, we enjoyed a warm, homey persimmon bread pudding and a rich, dense egg nog panna cotta. Gelatos, sorbets, and cheeses are additional options. I look forward to returning when stone fruits are in season and when freshly prepared zabaglione is added to the menu. Throughout our meal, music from the 50s entertained—“Mambo Italiano,” “Volare”—along with a few more unexpected tunes. If you time your visit for Wednesday through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m., you’ll be treated to a live jazz performance. A full bar serves up specialty cocktails, including Il Colosseo, which serves three and is made with brandy, dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemongrass, sweet & sour, and almond syrup.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers