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Address:
231 Arizona Ave
Santa Monica ,CA 90401
Tel: 310-451-3525
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RESV: Recommended
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About Lago

When Locanda del Lago opened in April 1991, the Santa Monica restaurant quickly established a reputation as having perhaps the only menu in Los Angeles to focus on the cuisine of Northern Italy's Lombardy region.  Today, celebrating its 15th anniversary, Lago maintains that unique identity.  Featuring specialties from Milano and Bellagio on Lake Como, the restaurant has continued to attract an eclectic crowd of celebrities, locals and travelers by offering exceptional food and service. 

Lago's comfortable, warm atmosphere and sidewalk patio evoke the charm of an Italian locanda (inn or trattoria) del lago (of the lake).  An always-changing array of menu choices is offered, including a "Tasting Menu" every night (in addition to the dinner menu) that varies every few weeks depending upon the availability of the best seasonal ingredients.  "Our menus are guided by Italian traditions, the quality of ingedients, and the seasons rather than American trends," says co-owner West Hooker.  "A diner at Lago will find dishes, particularly on our dinner menu, not often found at Italian restaurants in this country.”

Plaudits from the press include this comment from one critic:  "Lago is a warm and welcome respite.  As exotic as it is delicious, the food is among the city's very best."  Another described Lago as "Casually classy... the authenticity of the place is clearly one of its assets."  The Hollywood Reporter referred to it as a "chic, authentic Italian bistro," and Gourmet Magazine said, "Italy meets the Pacific -- authentic cuisine of Milano, Como and Stresa served up in the most California of settings.  Don't miss the Ossobuco alla Milanese."

Co-owner West Hooker and Executive Chef Davide Vedovelli, who were both born in Milan and have lived and worked in Bellagio, preside over the popular restaurant with General Manager Megan Sheehy, who has been with Lago since 1996. 

Chef Vedovelli joined Lago in 2003 with impressive credentials as sous chef at Savini, one of Milan's top restaurants, and chef at Cestino, another top Milan restaurant whose reputation for authentic Milanese cuisine was built by Vedovelli.  He arrived at Lago from Italy after two years as chef at Bellagio's Trattoria San Giacomo, which was named "best trattoria" in a Los Angeles Times feature story on Italy's Lake Region.  Also a bread-making, pastry and pasta artisan, Vedovelli owned a store called Pasta Fresca, which sold fresh, hand-made pasta to the public and the restaurant trade for nine years.  He was also a chef at Regina Palace, a five-star hotel in Stresa, at Restaurant Rozal, a high-end Hungarian restaurant in Milan, and at Mario in London, among others.  Vedovelli was born into a family of restaurateurs who owned an establishment in the Emilia region that was 160 years old.  He began his career at age 14 at a cooking school in Milan and apprenticed at the five-star Leonardo da Vinci Hotel as well as the five-star hotel La Tour de Super Crans in Switzerland.


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