Loading...

Jonathan Gold Reviews Il Fico 

Thursday, Jul 21 2011
Comments

Puglia, the sliver of Southern Italy often described as the heel of the boot, is home to some of the most distinctive cooking in Italy, a plain, solid, vegetable-intensive cuisine thrumming with the strong flavors of olives and garlic, rapini and favas, wild greens. The kitchen is rooted in the cooking of poverty, but Puglia is home to Italy's best bread, best focaccia and best fresh mozzarella: Burrata, the thin layer of mozzarella surrounding a layer of thick cream, is a Pugliese creation.

Il Fico, fitted into the room that housed the Michel Richard patisserie for decades after Richard himself lost control of the restaurant, is the newest project of Nicola Mastronardi, longtime chef of Vincenti in Brentwood (he's planning to stay at the restaurant), and his sous chef, Giuseppe Gentile. It may be L.A.'s first center of Pugliese cooking, a sleek, Euro-style parlor of housemade spicy salame, grilled favas with pecorino, roasted octopus, salads prepared with housemade mozzarella, and probably the town's definitive plate of orecchiette with rapini.

Mastronardi is known for his mastery of the wood-burning oven — you can probably expect a full roster of wood-roasted meats (so far the kitchen is restricting itself to first courses), but the charred, thin-crusted pizzas are already magnificent, including a "carbonara" pizza with pecorino, Mastronardi's guanciale and an egg, and a definitive version of pizza with figs and gorgonzola, as well as more traditional pies.

Location Info

Related Stories

  • Gluten-Free Pasta!

    Pasta is emblematic of our melting pot society.  Enjoyed around the world in humble homes and the finest of restaurants, pasta transcends social, cultural and economic boundaries. But what if you're gluten-intolerant? As it turns out, gluten intolerance isn't just an American affliction.  Gluten-free has become a huge movement in Italy,...
  • Great Affogatos

    Among the many excellent mash-ups in the food world, one of the simplest and most blissful is the affogato, the marriage of two of Italy's finest exports, espresso and gelato. The word comes from the Italian affogare, to drown, and it's a pretty accurate summation of the dish, in which...
  • Alimento Opens 2

    Alimento, the new restaurant from chef Zack Pollack, opens tonight in Silver Lake.  Pollack is best known as one part of the two-man chef team behind Sotto  the Pico Blvd. Southern Italian restaurant that serves some of the city's best Italian food. Pollack and co-chef Steve Samson opened Sotto in 2011...
  • Movies to See in L.A. This Week: A Steve Coogan Preview and Blazing Saddles

    Friday, Aug. 1 If you were a teen during summer in the early 1900s, you might have gone out for a nice trolley ride. That’s what happens in the Judy Garland musical classic Meet Me in St. Louis, where young Esther falls in love with the boy next door and...
  • Are Strawberries the New (Old) Superfruit?

    Forget goji, acai, aronia, maqui, noni and all those other so-called superfruits. The most powerful health-boosting berry of them all may just be the humble ol' strawberry. Packed with essential nutrients and potent phytochemicals, strawberries may be a beneficial force in lowering cholesterol, according to researchers from Università Politecnica delle...

Thirty years ago, a well-known chef moonlighting from his famous restaurant at a pizzeria created Spago. Il Fico is nowhere as ambitious, but you never know.

IL FICO | 310 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills | (310) 271-3426 | pizzeriailfico.com

Related Content

Related Locations

Now Trending

Slideshows

  • Daw Yee: Mission of Burma
    L.A. has a very small pool of Burmese restaurants; among them, Daw Yee does not boast the most extensive menu. Nonetheless, Daw Yee, in Monterey Park, is fascinating for one big reason — namely, that it gives L.A. something unusual: a Burmese restaurant that caters to younger diners.
  • The Year in L.A. Food (So Far)
    We've got so many restaurants, you could eat at a different joint every day of the year -- and probably the rest of your life -- and never go to the same place twice. It would be impossible (both physically and financially) to try them all, but luckily, you have us. Check out The Year in L.A. Food (So Far).
  • Ladies Gunboat Society at Flores
    At Ladies Gunboat Society, the new operation out of the restaurant that used to be Flores on Sawtelle Boulevard, the Hoppin’ John is served as an appetizer or a small plate rather than a side, and the price is the stuff of comedy.