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James Beard Award-Winning Chef Breathes Life Into Santa Monica Stalwart Valentino

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A longtime Valetino vet returns home


There is no shortage of exciting new Italian restaurants that have opened over the past few years in Los Angeles, with heavy hitters like Felix, Officine Brera, and, not too long ago, Bestia, opening with great acclaim. It’s interesting to watch, then, how the few remaining Westside stalwarts that have been serving upscale Italian fare for decades remain relevant.

Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio’s response to keeping his Santa Monica restaurant, Valentino, fresh is a new menu by returning chef Luciano Pellegrini. It isn’t the first time Pellegrini has worked with Selvaggio at the restaurant that opened back in 1972. In fact, the Italian-born chef first moved to the United States back in 1985 to work with the restaurateur. The chef later moved to Vegas in 1999 to become the executive chef and partner of Valentino Las Vegas, which ultimately won him the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southwest.

After a hiatus at Dolcevita Gelato company, Pellegrini has returned to the Santa Monica restaurant as consulting chef. Highlights from the new and improved menu include tuna tartare with orange-flavored burrata sauce, sauteed breaded octopus with sweet onion-potato puree, fresh tagliatelle with egg yolk bottarga, and bone marrow-stuffed veal shank. Check out the full menu here.


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