Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2019

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10 wholelifetimes.com F inding a sleek, modern, elegant restaurant just a block from the sand in Hermosa Beach is a lovely revelation in and of itself. But finding one that also features a beautiful array of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu is even more exciting. Radici scores high on both fronts. Located on the second floor of a small two-story, outdoor complex, the restaurant features soft lighting and comfortable seating that encourages a multi-course meal. The glowing bar area is also a great spot for a sophisticated craft cocktail. The Northern Italian cuisine is created from scratch, with a wide range of pastas, vegetable selections, and seafood choices on the menu. Among the highlights are incredibly fresh produce that is tender and succulently prepared, from eggplant to a simple Insalata Arugula, a salad that has flavor one doesn't usually expect from, well, lettuce. The ricotta cheese is made in house and is a revelation when it comes to ricotta. The owner's mother, Lucia Gasbarri, is to thank for this and the overall powerful ability of the kitchen to turn a simple dish into a classic. She oversees the kitchen and includes many family recipes. Owner Laura Francisco and restaurant manager, Francesca Iacobellis round out a service- and quality-oriented team. It was chilly beach night when we dined, so for starters, we had a fragrant potato leek soup that was nicely textured and not overly rich. The arugula salad had a fresh tang, accented by sweet, crisp slices of pear; we found the simple olive oil and vinegar dressing to be lovely, with olive oil from Olive Cove. Roasted tomatoes and homemade manicotti with that light-as-air ricotta was a perfect first course; fire roasted sweet peppers can be topped – or not – with equally light and flavorful goat cheese. The Portobello features a tender mushroom stuffed with onions, breadcrumbs, polenta, and bell peppers, offering another taste of beautiful produce. The restaurant's house bread is airy; crisp garlic bread is also available as an additional order. Often gnocchi can be heavy and dense, not so with the light pillows here. The house-made (of course) potato and spinach dumplings can be served with a rich gorgonzola cream sauce or sautéed with fresh tomatoes. Spaghetti Pomodoro may just be the quintessential vegan dish: the pasta is perfectly al dente, chewy and flavorful; the lovely fresh tomato and basil sauce is brilliantly flavorful, simple but somehow rich with complex flavor. Yes, it is "just" spaghetti, but it is a classic rendition, and one that can be easily recommended to omnivore diners as well as vegans. Or try the Spaghetti Pesto featuring basil and sunflower seeds. Another simple dish that is all too often treated as either an after-thought or something starchy and bland is polenta. Available as a side on many of the fresh fish or meat dishes, it can also be ordered in a more generous portion separately, and is well worth sampling; I could eat it three times a day. It's hard to describe something so simple adequately, but the care taken to make it "just right" creates a really wonderful dish. Many of the cocktails – and the non-alcoholic beverages as well – make creative, well-considered use of Italian ingredients. In the mood for something after-dinner? Try the L'Americano Corretto, made with espresso Americano, and among other ingredients an unusual biscotti liquor, whipped cream, and cocoa powder. Salute! Radici is at located at 934 Hermosa Ave. and currently serves dinner only. Visit radicihermosabeach.com. Elegant Italian Cuisine by the Beach RADICI eat here now By Genie Davis Photos: Courtesy of Radici

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