Play de Rey is home to a beautiful little beach, a friendly neighborhood park with a lagoon, and a couple stand-out restaurants that locals have enjoyed for decades. You can eat at the casual bar & grill called Outlaws where hamburgers come in the two-pound size, or you can do Italian at the fabuloso restaurant that have been on Culver in Playa del Rey for over 50 years.
It began as Giovanni's Salerno Beach Restaurant, and it featured Southern Italian cooking. The place was popular and survived through decades of transition in dining experiences, then was sold around the turn of the 21st century, and began offering other Italian dishes. The Italian owner said that though the regions of influence expanded with her origins in Abruzzi.
When the Catalini family purchased the restaurant, the loyal clientele wasn't disappointed, nor will you be. Recipes are handed down through the family and like all Italian families, are inspired by Grandmother (or Mother). Hand made fresh every day pastas with exceptional gnocchi and signature ravioli are a few must-try dishes when you visit. With influences of the family's roots (Pesacra and Navelli, Italy,) the menu is extensive, and includes antipasto, ensalata, and pizza.
Dinner menu at this Playa del Rey mainstay is the stand-out affair. On holidays such as Valentine's Day be sure to call early for reservations as the place sells out!
If you feel like pasta, you'll only have trouble picking which one. Begin your meal with a cup or bowl of Minestre--minestroni, fagiola or lenticchie.
Antipastos are traditional bruschetta, calamari fritti, sauteed spinach garlic olio, garlic shrimp and several more.
Salads include Classic Italian, Caesar, Caprese and Gorgonzola.
Main courses-- Homemade ravioli (signature dish) comes with four sauce options. There are around a dozen classic pasta dishes, many fish entrees, steak, chicken or veal, and the list just goes on.
The lunch menu (Monday-Friday) includes pasta dishes and sandwiches. There are around 8-10 sandwich options on the luncheon menu and all are served with Parmesan fries.
Pizzas and calzones start with the base and include add-0n options such as capers, proscuitto, meatballs, anchovies, basil, spinach, and other healthy options.
The desserts include approx. 8 - 10 items and are simple sweeteners to finish the filling meal that many end up taking home. Spummoni, gelato, tartufo, creme brulee, cannoli, tiramisu, and New York Cheesecake are among them. Usually people end up sharing bites of dessert after a meal, that you can finish with an espresso to get you home.
Prices start around $8 for lunch, and around $15 for dinner entree.
Note: This review was written and reflects the restaurant's offerings at one point in time. It is subject to change. Please check the restaurant website for official information about menus, hours, and dining options.