Behind the Scenes at La Bruschetta: Italian Classics Done Right
Head to La Bruschetta for no-fuss risotto and pasta.
If you go to La Bruschetta, don’t expect fancy, elaborate versions of Italian recipes. “We can tweak the recipes a little bit, we can adjust them to people’s taste,” says owner Angelo Peloni, a native of Genoa. “But the basic concepts of Italian cuisine are there.”
What you will find, instead, are well-executed classics, paying homage to Italy’s diverse culinary traditions. “I never wanted it to be labeled as a Southern Italian restaurant or a Northern Italian restaurant,” continues Peloni. “It’s an Italian restaurant, period.”
“Our customers love the ossobuco, which is typical of Milan. As anyone born and raised in Genoa, I am very proud of my pesto. But we do Southern specialties too, you know dishes from Sicily or Apulia.”
Behind the scenes at La Bruschetta
Owner Angelo Peloni opened La Bruschetta in 1984. Back then, people were not very familiar with authentic Italian cuisine. Even bruschetta, now ubiquitous in LA, was still a foreign concept. “We thought of serving people a complimentary appetizer while they were perusing the menu,” recalls Angelo. “The idea of serving bruschetta came naturally, but in fact it was something new in Los Angeles and people loved it.”
Peloni’s background isn’t limited to cooking. Back in Italy, he attended a culinary and hospitality school. “It’s not all about culinary expertise. When you run a restaurant, you need to lead people. But first, you need to get their permission in order to lead them.” Today, he can go in the kitchen and pick up the slack if needed, but he prefers to oversee his staff.
La Bruschetta was neither the first nor the last of Peloni’s culinary enterprises. At the time, he already co-owned another restaurant in Westwood. A few years later, he would open a third one. However, La Bruschetta is the only restaurant that has stood the test of time. “I was too young to be able to delegate authority and I was trying to make everything myself,” he comments. Eventually, he decided to concentrate his energies on La Bruschetta.
The choice paid off. Over time, the restaurant has established itself as one of Westwood’s dining institutions. Besides receiving such awards as the “Ospitalita’ Italiana – Seal of Authenticity”, recognizing traditional Italian restaurants around the world, La Bruschetta has prepared perfectly al dente pasta for Hollywood celebrities. It even served as a filming location for Brad Pitt’s 2011 movie Moneyball, although that scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
More importantly, though, customers keep coming back to La Bruschetta. “You see children coming in with their grandparents and their parents. You see them becoming young adults. And one day you see them bringing their own children.”