The room overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains was packed, but crowds of adults were ignoring the view and hovering near the kitchen.
It was a Chamber of Commerce mixer at Casa Nostra Ristorante in the Highlands and no sooner did a tray of food come out than people descended on it like starving locust.
When a tray finally made it to where I was standing, I tried the appetizer of eggplant souffle, stuffed with fresh mozzarella. Delicious. Quickly I crowded my way closer to the kitchen, so I could join the “locust” and sample the thinly sliced beef filet with arugula and Parmesan cheese, the homemade meatballs and the slices of burrata and pesto pizza.
It didn’t take long to know why this restaurant, founded in 2009, hosted one of the most popular mixers – the food was simply divine.
Many organizations in town, such as the Rotary Club, hold special dinners at this restaurant. Member Perry Akins wrote, “In my opinion, they serve the best spaghetti Bolognese in Southern California.”
A regular customer wrote: “Really great food and really fresh. It’s a total hidden gem. They have a brunch on Saturday and Sunday. They have these panini sandwiches which are really, really good. After the meal they always treat us with cookies or dessert wine of their choice. Love this place!”
A lot of Palisades residents don’t want to make that drive up to the Highlands, but just about a month ago they had some good news: a second Casa Nostra opened in the heart of town at 15306 Sunset (replacing Tratto).
Unfortunately, before most residents even had a chance to sample the new eatery, COVID-19 forced the restaurant world to retrench into takeout only.
If you haven’t had a chance to sample the menu, now’s your chance to support the newest restaurant in town, during this difficult time for every retail business. Dinner orders are taken from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
(Visit: casanostraristorantela.com or call 424-581-4000.)