Doughnuts have become pretty outlandish, what with the rise of cronuts and the emergence of gluttonous oddities such as a fried chicken sandwich served on sliced Krispy Kremes. Now comes Forma, a new restaurant in Santa Monica that's entering the fried-dough fray.

This fashionable Italian restaurant on posh Montana Avenue is from chef Piero Topputo, front-of-house partner Mario Sabatini and entrepreneur Robert Donnell. Forma — which features exposed wood rafters, high-backed banquettes and a glass-fronted fridge displaying options for customizable cheese plates — is perhaps best known for its huge wheels of hollowed-out cheese in which staffers theatrically toss pasta “dalla forma” style.

But perhaps the most impressive dish is the Savory Doughnut Duo Sandwich ($12). House-made dough balls, which are also used to make pizza, spend at least 24 hours in the fridge before they’re thawed and deep-fried to golden brown. The fried dough is then sliced in half and filled with the likes of creamy stracciatella cheese, zesty tomato sauce, silky prosciutto di San Daniele and bitter arugula. The second “doughnut” in the duo features more stracciatella, zucchini “scapece” (marinated in vinegar) and nduja, the spicy, spreadable Calabrian sausage.

OK, so maybe “doughnuts” is a stretch. But the sandwich and its creativity are indisputable.

1610 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (424) 231-2868,

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