North Italia Santa Monica Review - Fabulous; Health Driven Farm to Table Fare Impresses

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sometimes a restauranteur comes along who changes the game. Raises the bar. Ups the ante. That’s very much the case with Sam Fox, the creative visionary behind Fox Restaurant Concepts, which has taken hip and healthy to new heights.

 

From dropping out of college and siphoning the tuition funds into his first restaurant endeavor at the age of 20, to now operating almost 50 locations and 14 unique concepts throughout the United States, Sam has cooked up one of America’s fastest growing restaurant hospitality groups.

This 11-time James Beard Award “Outstanding Restaurateur” semifinalist and New York Times best-selling cookbook author boasts a litany of delicious dining brands, including a number of notables throughout Southern California such as The Henry in West Hollywood, Blanco Tacos & Tequila in San Diego and Flower Child in Santa Monica.  

Also ensconced in the heart of Santa Monica’s famed 3rd Street Promenade is North Italia, a decidedly lively locale featuring scratch-made, season-driven, farm-to-table Italian fare that’s offered alongside inventive, drool-inducing, hand-shaken craft cocktails and beers.


While artisanal handmade pasta and pizza reigns supreme at North Italia, the food is closely rivaled by its bar program. With concoctions like Mozzafiato (Ketel One vodka, smashed cucumber, lime, Chareau aloe vera liqueur, and green chartreuse); Quiet Italian Gentleman (Bulleit Rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Campari, Disaronno Amaretto); And Julietta (ginger-infused Smirnoff, vanilla, St. Germain, lime, and Prosecco), there’s an elixir for everyone. Locavore craft beers include options from Ballast Point, Green Flash, Stone Brewing Company and more. 


STK LA Review - A Must Do-or-Dine Destination

Given my own penchant for seasonally-oriented, detail-driven food that’s best realized with a handcrafted approach, I popped into North Italia for dinner service. It quickly became evident what all the fuss was about as, the mindfulness put toward curating top-quality ingredients and executing food with integrity is apparent. Here, details matter.

My journey through North Italia commenced with a Grilled Artichoke served with sea salt, truffle, Grana Padano (a semi-aged hard Italian cheese), and lemon aioli.  Unlike the usual steamed version, North Italia’s grilled variety has an earthy overtone that’s beautifully tempered with the savory garnishments.

 



The Margherita pizza my party ordered as an appetizer also duly impressed, with its fresh mozzarella, red sauce, olive oil and fresh, fragrant basil that I only do wish there would have been more of. 

The entrée course allowed me to savor two marvelous mains. The first was Chicken Pesto, comprised of Gigli (Campanelle bellflower-shaped) pasta cooked al dente with just the right amount of bite, tossed with garlic, basil, and topped with toasted pine nuts and crispy capers. The second dish was the Diver Scallops—three well-seasoned and seared, medium rare-cooked morsels served alongside a rich and creamy parmesan risotto, roasted butternut squash, Brussels, and topped with crispy shallot and pancetta that added both savory and texture notes.



Dessert was an emotional experience all its own, as the Hazelnut Torta was dripping in Nutella cream and salted caramel gelato with buttery hazelnut toffee chunks sprinkled all about. Enough said.


Wolfgang Puck’s WP 24 Review – Distinctive Five Star Dining, Impeccable Service, Stunning Views


While not included in my recent repertoire, North Italia does have a signature dish. In an exclusive interview I conducted with Fox, he revealed that, while the eatery is best known for its pizza and pastas (with dough and pastas made by hand daily), the braised beef short rib with daily roasted root vegetables and creamy white polenta; and the Burrata Tortelloni with roasted mushroom, Swiss chard, porcini brodo, pecorino and saba are hallmark dishes for the burgeoning brand. As for Fox’s personal favorite menu item, that honor goes to the White Truffle Garlic Bread with house made ricotta, mozzarella, grana Padano, and herbs.

 

 

Given its explosive growth of late, I asked Fox how North Italia can elevate its image even further. “Every restaurant should tell a story,” he said. “The vision is for North to be more than just an Italian restaurant—it’s more about creating a place, an experience that reflects life. When thinking about our guests and what is important to them in life, our team is able to deliver an authentic sense of food culture and the restaurant becomes a true part of the community.”


Quite a salient perspective that clearly comes from well-honed experience. Fox’s come quite a long way from a career that started by packing a punch, literally. I’m told that, upon using his college tuition to open his first restaurant at 20 years-old, Fox was forced to learn how to cook when he got into a fight with his chef, and the chef broke his hand. An oddly fortuitous event considering Fox has since opened 80-plus restaurants throughout his career, with his Fox Restaurant Concepts currently employing nearly 4,000 people across six states, and with plans for continued significant growth in years to come.

For North Italia Santa Monica’s part, this kinetic neighborhood eatery is equal parts art and heart. Its wide open, exhibition-style kitchen exemplifies an overt pridefulness of culinary practices and certainly instills much customer confidence among today’s ever-discerning diners. 

~~~

As the Executive Editor and Producer of "The Luxe List," Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers.

She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.


***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Republished by permission of and provided to Haute-Lifestyle.com by author.

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Border Policy, Jakelin Maquin, Cohen Sentenced; May Wins; Yemen; Khashoggi; Biden 2020

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump, who is preparing for a working Christmas Break at Mar-a-Lago, is facing a continual firestorm over the recent death of a child awho was denied water and medical care while detained by Customs and Border Protection.

     
  • Money News: Dow Caught in Bear Trap; World Markets Split 80/20

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average fell to the bear over the past week with limited collateral damage across global markets as the world markets bounced back from the devastating free-fall of the past week. 

     
  • Skyscraper Review – A Solid Disaster Film Guaranteed to Entertain

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Skyscraper, from Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment, brings to the screen an explosive, entertainment driven, fast moving summer disaster flick with powerful visuals, heightened suspense, extreme special effects, set in ultra-modern, technologically advanced Hong Kong.

     
  • Whiskey Moon Face Drops Upcoming Album, Formless Forms, Late March

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pull up a chair and step into the world of Whiskey Moon Face, their new album Formless Forms takes you on a Folk Jazz infused journey from London to New Orleans and stopping off at Russia in between.

     
  • DJ Caruso Talks Standing Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    DJ Caruso, director of the “Standing Up” from ARC Entertainment, recently took time from his busy schedule to sit down for an interview to discuss the challenges of making the coming of age family film.

     
  • The Mountain Between Us Review & Celebrity Interview: Hany Abu-Assad, Director, Talks on the Making of This High Suspense, Ultra Engaging, Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Mountain Between Us, from Chernin Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, offered for select media a sneak peek into one of the most highly anticipated films of the fall 2017 season followed by a casual Director conversation.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Putin Vaca; Mueller’s Grand Jury; North Korea; Minnesota Extremism; Solar Eclipse; Sam Shepard

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has left the building and relocated for a working vacation over the next seventeen days to his Southern Jersey Golf Course, while the White House West Wing undergoes much needed and previously approved renovations.

     
  • Battle of The Sexes Review – Grand Slam, Game, Set, Match, Win!

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Battle of the Sexes, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents 1973, the year women, led by powerhouse tennis player Billie Jean King, decided they were done with penny prize packages and to the chagrin of the establishment demanded equality.

     
  • Travel Hints: Combating Frustrating Air Travel Aggravations

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    With Thanksgiving travel just ahead of us and 24.6Million passengers expected to travel by air which equates to upwards of 65,000K extra passengers per day this year ­ a new study, from AAA, explains what consumers find most frustrating about air travel.

     
  • Murderer of James Foley Believed to Be Identified

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    British and American Intelligence officials are close to announcing the identity of the ISIS/ISIL terrorist responsible for the murder of American freelance journalist James Foley, beheaded by Iraqi Terrorists in retaliation to President Obama's assistance to the region.

     
  • McQueen Review - A Four Star Fashionista Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    McQueen, from Bleecker Street, presents the rags to riches story of iconic Fashion Designer Alexander "Lee" McQueen, whose unbelievable journey could never have been imagined bringing him from his working class East London home to the House of Givenchy.

     
  • London Tour Dates for Wendy James, Feral Love, Winter 1982 & The Stone Roses Drop New Tunes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A quick look inside, Wendy James tour dates begin in London’s Brooklyn Bowl, Feral Love and Winter 1982 both released singles and Simon Wolstencroft is busy with both memoir and new music with former bandmates The Stone Roses.  

  • The Residences, with Ultra-Exclusive Amenities from Grace Bay Resorts, Unveils New Luxury Villas

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Grace Bay Resorts, Turks and Caicos premiere developer, recently announced the completion of its new collection of freestanding private beachfront villas,The Residences, offering luxurious detailing which pleasure seekers, romantics and those who define sophistication can now enjoy.

     
  • Money News: Global Markets Tumble; Sensex Closes Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial, along with the majority of the ten most watched global markets, couldn’t escape the bear’s grasp closing down this Thanksgiving week, while the NASDAQ and the S&P500 were managed to close up escaping the mauling.

     
  • KYOCERA Ceramic Coated Cookware Review – Elevate Your Cooking Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kyocera, of Kyoto Japan, a well know and established name in high end cookware and cutlery tools, recently provided the opportunity to test the ceramic coated cookware so sure of its excellence ability to create only the finest.