3115 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Critics' Pick

Anne Fishbein


  • Tue.-Thu. 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-10:30 p.m.; Fri 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • $$
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Full bar
  • Business Dining, Catering, Private Party, Takeout
  • Street Parking, Valet Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
Valentino has long been L.A.¹s ultimate special-occasion Italian restaurant, a bells-and-whistles place where you reserve a table weeks in advance. But it turns out that even Valentino wants to be not just admired, but loved. Its V-vin Bar is a little awkwardly situated within the restaurant, and the grouping of bar tables and sleek bar carts looks a little like what your wealthy uncle tried to do when he set up a pub in the basement of his mansion. Still, the food, sleek Italian small plates mostly, is great. And if you're going to hang out at a wine bar, you might as well head toward one that takes its wine seriously, and although the prices aren't particularly low, the by-the-glass list often includes things like Aldo Conterno Barolo, barrique-aged Altero Brunello, and Dunn "Howell Mountain" cabernet to sip with your giant salumi plate, vintages that aren't exactly on the list at Bodega.

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