As a New York native, I’m not accustomed to searching high and low for excellent Italian food. Sure I can splurge on Mozza or some other five-star locale, but the selection of everyday Italian restaurants in Los Angeles can be a bit depressing. After living here for seven years now, I haven’t given up hope that I will someday discover a hidden gem akin to those Mom & Pop joints from back east.
My search recently led me to La Loggia on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. But as is the case with many Italian restaurants in the Valley, La Loggia was a miss. The service was attentive and friendly, and the ambiance was nice with a lovely outdoor patio, but the food fell short.
The restaurant had a decent wine selection and in addition to some traditional Italian offerings, also offered food from the Tapas menu from the neighboring, aptly-named Next Door Tapas sister restaurant. Perhaps that should have been my first warning sign that this was not going to be the authentic Italian cuisine I’d been craving.
A small complimentary tasting of Bruschetta was served along with bread. The Bruschetta was adequate but the breadbasket was sad with stale white Italian bread. An appetizer of an heirloom tomato salad with cubed mozzarella was overdressed and underwhelming.
For the crab-stuffed ravioli, the pasta was light and well made, but the Dungeness crab filling tasted packaged or possibly even imitation. The ravioli were served in a saffron sauce, but it was essentially flavorless.
The Pizza Bianca was described as being prepared with Gorgonzola cheese, prosciutto, Asian pear and arugula. When it arrived, it was topped with spinach instead of arugula, which tasted fine but disappointing that they substituted without telling us. Plus, the Gorgonzola was not evenly distributed across the pizza so sometimes you would get big mouthfuls of the pungent cheese, which would overpower everything else and essentially kill your palette.
I may come back to try the neighboring Tapas bar, which features classic Spanish tapas such as Croquettes and Potato Bravas, but sadly I won’t return to La Loggia for the Italian food. And so, the search continues…
La Loggia and Next Door Tapas are located at 11814 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA 91604.