After closing for a brief period (one week), La Dolce Vita reopens tomorrow with new menu items, cocktails and updated decor. Restaurant additions include a white crown-molded ceiling, wine-cellar walls and lavish, spacious, one-stall bathrooms. Regulars -- there are plenty of silver-topped diners who have undergone a few renovations themselves -- will still find the familiar exposed brick, mirrored walls and photos of Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.
Owner Alessandro Uzielli purchased La Dolce Vita 10 years ago with the intent to restore its appeal as an "Old Hollywood" staple where the Rat Pack used to hang. He even hired chef Matthew Underwood about four months ago to jump-start the 47-year-old restaurant's menu.
"All of our pasta is made in-house, which is pretty incredible," says Underwood. "With fresh pasta as a base, the dish's flavors are really enhanced. I'm particularly proud to be able to add three new seafood pasta dishes -- arogosta garganelli, linguini vongole and shrimp fra diavolo -- to the menu." You also will find roasted butternut squash and tagliatelle bolognese on the menu, along with roasted racks of lamb and lots of veal. There are still plenty of classics, though, including those garlicky veal meatballs.
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The fall cocktail list is another recent addition, designed by Alicia Hammons, the floor manager. She worked with the bartenders to create recipes with an array of boozy new flavors, including the Spanish Ambassador, made with Cazadores Reposado, Frangelico, lemon juice, Angostura bitters and cinnamon.
All in all, La Dolce Vita is much the same as ever. The candles are still there, along with the attentive servers and that old-world Beverly Hills vibe that never quite gets steamed out of the carpets. Here's to another 47 years.
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