In the coming months, Long Beach will see a new crop of restaurant expansions by notable LA operators. That includes Telefèric Barcelona, Sonoratown, and actor Kevin Hart’s plant-based fast-food joint Hart House. Venice’s the Window started serving its burgers in Belmont Shore in December and sits directly across the street from the new L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. The sprawling 8,000-square-foot Italian restaurant and cafe opens Friday, January 5.
This isn’t the first group of LA talent seeking out newer territory in Long Beach with Silverlake Ramen branching into LBC in 2019, Jack Leahy and Jonathan Strader opening Little Coyote in 2020, and Felix alum Michael Ryan opening Marlena in 2023. Many were drawn by the 467,000 Long Beach residents (slightly fewer than the city of Atlanta) and its loyal diners. L’Antica owner Francesco Zimone’s partner hails from Long Beach, and after seeing the space imagined a piazza, or Italian marketplace for his restaurant.
Zimone opened the Hollywood location in early 2019, establishing the first U.S. location for the 153-year-old Naples pizzeria mentioned in the novel Eat, Pray, Love, later adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts. All locations have extensive menus but are known for their Neapolitan-style pizzas made in a customized oven that takes less than a minute to cook. After L’Antica’s Hollywood debut, Zimone opened two locations in 2022 in New York’s West Village with a third stationed in Santa Barbara.
Like the other US locations, Zimone designed L’Antica Belmont Shore. He took over the shuttered Papalucci’s and Babette’s Feast, both longtime businesses that closed in 2019. Zimone adjoined the two spaces to mirror an Italian square (or plaza) and installed a 25-foot-high skylight. The Second Street entrance is lined with olive trees and other plants. Once inside, L’Antica can seat 250 with an additional outdoor area. The patios sport two outdoor fireplaces, plus a green-tiled one indoors. The rest of the design features custom wood tiles, Venetian marble bar, curved banquette seating, and a 10-person chef’s tasting area. The custom pizza oven imported from Positano faces the dining room.
The menu includes wide, thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas and other dishes like arancini, beet salad, pappardelle Genovese, chicken Milanese, ribeye steak, and grilled branzino. The smaller cafe menu will include breakfast, coffee, and daytime bites. The cafe and weekend brunch will commence after the restaurant gets more settled with service.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele Belmont Shores is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 4611 Second Street, Long Beach, CA, 90803.