3115 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040534.017983 -118.472200
Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., - Mon - Thurs, 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., Fri - Sat, 5:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m., Closed Sunday
Neighborhoods: West LA
Bleh. – Some of the negative reviews below address many of my points. The place IS tired--in terms of menu, decor, and service. The hosts and servers are rather grumpy. Though the wine list is extensive, the markup is brutal (over 100%), even for the recent vintage wines widely available at retail. The pasta dishes are uninspired, and the meat dishes are rather bland. Osso bucco was dried, out for example, and reminiscent (as my companion pointed out) of "$19.99 all-you-can-eat buffet place potroast." Valentino is a real disappointment, and I was, candidly, embarrassed to have taken a date there. . .
Perfect for a casual evening with good food and wine – We tried Vin Bar for the first time Saturday night and it is a great option when you want a casual dining experience. Portion size was generous - we did splits, the food was excellent and the Vin Bar wines are wonderful plus reasonable in price.
The crudo plate was perfect - tuna with a pineapple dressing, yellowtail with cucumber and Baltic salmon with orange, salmon caviar and black caviar.
Fried baby Squid in a cone with Aioli sauce - a very, very generous portion and delicious
Sweet Corn filled Ravioli with Farmer's Market vegetables (zucchini, asparagus, cherry tomatoes) with tomato coulis and baked Ricotta cheese - the veggies were just perfect
Grilled Red Snapper with tomatoes, caper berries and cauliflower puree - excellent
A great option when you want a casual dining experience with excellent wine, food and service.
VALENTINO & WINE ?the best I ever had??!!!
VALENTINO Santa Monica, CA ? the best I ever had out ?
Tuna tartar paired with Prosecco...notes of tangerine, grapefruit, pear ...perfect?
Lobster, organic tomatoes, ricotta cheese very smooth paired perfect with Venica and Venica 2006 tocai friuli 2006 14 alc 2006 Collio... pail gold, honey nose, white fig, nice minerality, great balance 14 % alc by vol ?points 93?perfect?
Prosciutto 20 month aged, succulent soft aged to perfection paired with a white wine from Umbria 2006 13.5 alc, DOA , vapid served way to cold ... with some cupping it started to open up, still it did not harm the Prosciutto...
Salmon, fennel, onion perfect paired with... Cinco Denti Sicily white 2006 wine, head fake, Juniper, tulips, flowers, fig, honeysuckle ...95 points perfect...
Cannelloni pasta with tomato, provolone, fatty meat like tripe, I flashed back 40 years with my Grandmother cooking all day having the house smell of every gustory bliss you could ever imagine... paired with Rosso dello Sparviero Toscana alc by vol 13.5% ...Dark ruby red ink , Brett , yes I asked what do you smell ...?... horse, earth, dust, mature manure, very complex if you like Brett , I do ... cinnamon, clove, cherry flying by...88 points very nice drink now or she will ride away...
Braised Lamb Shanks, cauliflower minced into a cake with different levels of complexity, brussel sprouts wilted and limp covered in oil, spice...paired with ... Barolo 2003 Sori Ginestra , dark ink tar, pepper black, eucalyptus, black tar licorice, blackberry, a real monster big dog style hang time...points 93 perfect...
We had more courses at this time I only recall the best ones...apricot, pecans, almonds, strawberry, various cheeses.... paired with a desert wine...I forget the name and vintage, but who cares it was very good... 95 points?
Tired, And it Shows. Skip It. – The wine list, with some nicely aged selections is a plus, though the mark-ups are significant, as is the norm at such spots. Unfortunately, the decor and service are as old and dusty as many of the bottles in the cellar. The pastas are, frankly, lame and no better than the average offerings at any generic Italian joint around town. Several of the meat dishes are good, but there are plenty of spots on the westside that do better with these classics. BEWARE: they will happily seat you in a run-down side room, if you do not specifically request the nicely appointed main dining room. And prices are high, no matter where you sit. Even without high expectations, you will be disappointed, here.
A Christmas Eve dining experience – Overall, the experience was disappointing. This was a Christmas Eve intimate dinner. Husband, wife, married 23 years. A native of Santa Monica, so we grew up with the reputation of Valentino?s as a local attraction.
I am not a ?name,? just a person who works for a living. I telephoned for reservations a week before our dinner date. On arrival, my wife and I were ushered to a large room reminiscent of a military chow hall. The room was large, grey, overcrowded with small two person tables set close enough so that one could eat off the other?s plate if you are so inclined.
I paid $138, plus a $25 tip for: One Jack Daniel?s on the rocks, a third of a glass of house Merlot. Two salads (with a tasty vignette dressing), some kind of white fish platter topped with artichoke hearts (the wife moved those to the side) and for me, a New York steak, carved, paired with over cooked, sliced, boil potatoes (no vegetables) and a frail Bourguignon sauce that was suppose to pass for gravy that needed salt and was served cold!
Overall, I have had a better meal at ?Pink?s? near Melrose, plus being spared ?attitude.? The wait staff never said, ?Thank You? nor ?Good night? upon leaving. The maitre d? didn?t even look up. That gives you that warm, welcome, ?Merry Christmas? feeling.
The valet parking carried on the unresponsiveness to no name patrons. While there were bountiful attendances, not one opened the door for my wife ? granted that is an old-fashioned practice in manners and consideration and deference as a welcomed customer.
If you are ?worth? being treated this way, then Valentino?s will provide the experience.
Robert Clark of Santa Monica, CA
Food is amazing! Great wine list! – I've always seen this place when I've driven down Pico. It doesn't look like much from the street, but when you turn in to the parking lot its full of high end cars and the entrance to the restaurant is beautiful. We had a reservation for the weekend, but it didn't look like we needed one. We were promptly seated. The service was outstanding. The best waitstaff. Everyone was very attentive to us. The wine list was a huge book, but the waiter was kind enough to pick us out a bottle. The food was fantastic. My boyfriend is a huge Italian food lover, and was overly impressed with his veal. We can't wait to go back!
Valentino's elegant yet casual wine bar offers warm hospitality, artful Italian dishes and high-end wines. – In Short
Piero Selvaggio's celebrated Italian restaurant is an L.A. landmark in sophisticated dining, but its wine bar offers a much more casual energy. Set at the shared entrance between three fancy dining rooms, the travertine floors, high mahogany tables and sleek bar glow under golden lighting that glints off a score of grappa bottles. A cozy crowd is delighted to be able to drop in for a glass of serious wine and gorgeous small plates like gorgonzola-stuffed zucchini flowers, branzino salami and artisanal Italian cheeses.
Great restaurant! – It was my first Christmas with my husband and he decided to be romantic and take me out for Christmas eve dinner. He made reservation here because they had a great tasting menu for the holiday. The service was excellent. The people seem warm and very friendly. The food was amazing. They thought it was our anniversary for some reason and when desert came they customize it with raspberries syrup saying "congratulations". It made me smile.
Best wine, great service, FOOD! – I had the best pasta of my life at this restaurant. The owner of the restaurant greeted us at the door with the biggest smile. It is very romantic inside with plush seating, booths, and white linen tables. Our server, thick italian accent, was very nice and recommended great dishes! He helped us choose our wine with a budget and flavor in mind. I was able to create a pasta with mushrooms, shaved truffles, and a certain type of pasta which I don't remember the name but it was my waiters all time favorite pasta and it was DELICIOUS! I was so impressed with my meal and can't wait to take others back with me.
Far Below Expectations – Four of us had a very disappointing dinner at Valentino Saturday evening. The decor was tacky and the reception a bit confusing with several people standing around and no one clearly in charge of welcoming guests. Apparently they are redoing the entrance, however the temporary entrance was very uneven making it dangerous in heels in several spots. The service was unhelpful and somewhat rude and the food was very disappointing.
Despite the entrance, the evening started out somewhat promising. For appetizers, we had the timballo (cheese flan with black truffles) which was pretty good, the pruscuitto which was fine, the caprese salad which was unremarkable and the gnocchi which was pretty good. Our entrees, however, were a different story. The lamb was overcooked (something on which the waiter should have provided counsel) and though it said it was served with sweet onions and peas, was served without the onions (which the waiter only acknowledged should have been there after we showed him the description on the menu--they did provide a replacement which was much better and included the onions). The veal was dull. The quail extremely boring. The only somewhat tastey entree was the fish.
The wine list is certainly extensive (though misleadingly so as we discovered when we ordered a bottle of muscato at the end of the evening and when we asked for a suggestion amongst the options, we were told they only had one in the cellar), but there was no sommelier available to assist in selecting amongst the many options.
The dessert was unremarkable for the most part. We split the warm chocolate cake and the apple ravioli. The cake was nothing out of the ordinary, the pears almost tasteless, though the ice cream was nice. The apple ravioli was a serving of three apple-filled pastries and they were all completely forgettable.
Our bill was over $400 with tip. Overall, the meal was not worth the trip to Santa Monica and certainly not for the money it cost.
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