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

  • Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Earns Wine Spectator Restaurant Award in 2018

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Le Restaurant has been honoured for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator's 2018 Restaurant Awards. The restaurant is recognized among other winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.

     
  • Van Gogh Art Work Authenticated 120 Years After Death

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In a rare find for the art world, a previously unauthenticated and long considered fake painting, from Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh was unveiled after having been stored in the Norwegian attic of an art collector for over forty years.

     
  • SELMA Review – Emotionally Riveting, Pivotal, Electrifying

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "SELMA," from Pathe, Harpo Productions, Plan B Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, presents an emotionally riveting confrontation driven account of the 1965 passage of the Voter's Right Act and the explosion of violence which gripped hearts and stunned a nation.

     
  • Diageo Luxury Brands Again Star at the Bar on Oscar® Night - Offer Ultra-premium Beverage Experience at the 87th Oscars®

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Diageo is proud to announce that it will once again feature top luxury brands including Sterling Vineyards® wines, Johnnie Walker®, Haig Club™ Mortlach™ and Talisker™ Scotch whiskies, and Ketel One® vodka at this year’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Ball.

     
  • Global Debut and Historic Reunions Headline Bentley’s Presence At 2014 Goodwood Festival Of Speed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (Crewe, 25 June 2014).  Bentley prepares for the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed with an exclusive line up of cars. Spanning the company's rich 95‑year heritage, the Bentley models on display at Goodwood showcase the best in British luxury and performance.

     
  • Hunting Charles Manson Book Review - Shocking True Crime Resonates

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hunting Charles Manson, from Thomas Nelson Publisher and Lisa Wiehl, presents the true crime story of Charles Manson, his followers, the shocking murders the group committed terrorizing residents of Los Angeles during the summer of 1969.

     
  • Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel Review – A Multi-Million Dollar Makeover Adds a Gem to a Jeweled Skyline

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the United States fifth largest city, more than 22 million visitors flock to metropolitan Phoenix annually. With a bustling downtown quadrant comprised of 100 square blocks, this section of town is teeming with fun and excitement.

     
  • Beltway Insider: US Poised For War; Intelligence Assesses Attack; Secretary of State Presents Case; Politicians Respond

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama has spoken to the nation as he prepares to launch U.S. missile strikes aimed at Syrian military installations in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

     
  • Call My Agent Review – Addictingly Fun French Television Series Gears Up For Season Two

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Call My Agent, from Mon Voisin Productions and Mother Productions, the quirky, genuinely funny, behind the scenes business entertainment industry French television series streaming to American audiences through Netflix is gearing up for Season Two.

     
  • OSCAR Trivia: Can “The Revenant” Be a Good Oscar® Contender

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Revenant is the latest work of the Oscar® winner Mexican helmet Alejandro G. Iñárritu - the question is if this film has the potential to win gold this year - the answer is "yes" and "no." 

     
  • Zero Days Review – The Ultimate Cyber Warfare Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Zero Days, from Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media, presents a documentary of stunning implications as it exposes the discovery of the highly classified Stuxnet computer code designed to destroy nuclear arsenals of enemy nation-states through computer viruses. 

     
  • UPDATED: Death Toll in Indonesia Tsunami Continues to Rise, Thousands Injured, Missing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption on a remote island in Indonesia swept across the beaches of Banten mangling concreate, ripping homes, hotels off their foundations and killing more than 400 and injuring more than 1500.

 

Login Form