Better Than Pizza? Vinoteca Brings Montanara to Beverly Hills
At Vinoteca Beverly Hills, Neapolitan street food gets a makeover. Fried pizza dough anyone?
Located inside the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Vinoteca is now ready to bring yet another Italian specialty to the people of Los Angeles. Get ready for… montanara!
Yes, m-o-n-t-a-n-a-r-a. To be perfectly honest, until not too long ago I didn’t know montanara either. It turns out, it’s a Neapolitan street food that has not traveled much outside the region.
It’s a pretty simple and delicious idea: little pockets of fried pizza dough, traditionally filled with tomato sauce and cheese. Even kids know everything’s better when fried…and pizza is no exception.
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How did montanara arrive to LA? Denis Dello Stritto, the executive chef at Culina, the restaurant at the Four Seasons, grew up near Naples. He’s actually from Caiazzo, the birthplace of Franco Pepe’s acclaimed pizza. So, obviously, he had a lot of montanara as a kid.
Apparently, when the hotel management team tried his montanara, they thought of making it the centerpiece of the new Vinoteca project.
Vinoteca Beverly Hills: Come for breakfast, stay for aperitivo
Much like bars in Milan or Rome, Vinoteca Beverly Hills works as a coffeeshop during the day, then turns into a wine bar at night.
In the morning, you can enjoy your coffee beverage of choice (including, of course, espresso) with housemade pastries.
The sfogliatelle, shell-shaped pastries filled with lemon ricotta, are also from the Naples area. Cannoncini (“little cannons”), instead, hail from Northern Italy, but are hard to find abroad. At Vinoteca, they fill them with hazelnut cream.
In the evening, you can have one of the classiest aperitivo in town. First, choose among Vinoteca’s signature cocktails, California and Italian wines selected by wine director Luca Bruno. Then, pick from a menu of revisited, elevated Italian classics.
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Again, take the montanara, originally a no-frills, street food back in Naples. But because this is Beverly Hills, it has to dress up a little. The “traditional montanara”, for example, is topped with 36-month aged parmigiano reggiano. The “burrata montanara”, with burrata from Puglia and Parma prosciutto.
There’s even a super-fancy montanara filled with pieces of lobster, celery, red onion, and diced tomato, and dressed with olive oil. Think of it as an Italian lobster roll.
If, for some obscure reason, you’re not into fried dough, you may consider the fish carpaccios. Or try Chef Denis’s version of the Sicilian arancino, with a squid ink bread coating and salmon ragu.
Ready to try montanara? Come over to Vinoteca Beverly Hills!
Vinoteca at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
300 S. Doheny Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Photos by Raffaele Asquer and Didem Sairoglu for Foodiamo. All rights reserved