Nestled into one of our favorite streets in Beverly Hills, just a walk away from the Peninsula Hotel lies the intimate mod white tablecloth Nerano, the fourth restaurant from the Toscana Restaurant Group. Sprung from the vision of owners Andy Brandon-Gordon and Carlo Brandon-Gordon’s Amalfi Coast trips to the village of Nerano, they became inspired by the temperate climate, the simplicity of the coastal cuisine and the welcoming Italian culture.
Our quaint half moon booth looked out over the sea of elegant small tables, with some guests dining outside. The restaurant was packed. We learned Nerano is a regular haunt for many in the entertainment industry sandwiched close to Century City and Beverly Hills. Behind our booth was the bar and upstairs, the new swank BG Lounge reminiscent of Bemelmans Bar at New York’s Carlyle Hotel or Bar Hemingway in Paris. Nearby a father dined with his sweet 8-year-old daughter while another couple close by argued loudly.
Our meal began with a big bowl of crisp iced vegetable crudites, served with dip and partnered with rosemary bread crisps. I clinked my Napa Valley Cab with my husband’s ‘Sorrento’ – El Jimador Silver Tequila, Fresh Lime, Cucumber Water, Scrappy’s Firewater, Sal de Gusano and topped with a Fresno Chili Pepper.
We slid into our Italian meal with a light Antipasti – a Crudo Tasting ($27) consisting of super fresh Icelandic halibut, salmon, and yellowtail, all enhanced with just the right dab of ponzu, radish, chili pepper, grapefruit, or Tuscan mint.
Our next course was not on the menu, but a special tonight – Porchetta Pizza thinly sliced with truffle, burrata, and mozzarella. Porchetta is often so rich that this was a flavorful new way to experience pork roast on the wood-fired oven dough.
Even though I am Italian this was my first time trying Gnudi, gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato. The result is a lighter, “pillowy” dish. Nerano’s Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi is complimented with chanterelle mushrooms, toasted sage, and black truffle. We could have devoured a 100 more of these sensual morsels.
Executive Chef Michele Lisi’s uses only the finest California and imported Italian ingredients. Share several pasta dishes because it is hard to choose one. Their signature dish Spaghetti all Nerano is simple and light made with sauteed Italian zucchini, squash blossoms, provolone, and basil. Spaghetti with clams and Bolognese with Black Angus Beef Ragu are exceptional choices too.
Stuffed to the max, we somehow made room for the lemon and coconut sorbet with a Nocciolino cup filled with Guanaja Dark chocolate mousse and crunch hazelnut gelato topped with toasted Italian Meringue.
Now til July 10, 2018 Nerano presents “Menu Al Limone” Tuesdays where the chef has created a menu of citrus-themed dishes inspired by the Amalfi Coast cuisine. The four-course menu for $110 features Insalata di Polipo – a salad of Braised Spanish Octopus, Haricots Verts, Fingerling Potatoes, Gaeta Olives, Celery & Lemon Citronette; followed by a pasta course of Tagliolini ai Limoni d’Amalfi with Nerano’s house-made Tagliolini, Basil Filanger, Ferrarini ‘24 Month Aged’ Parmigiano-Reggiano and Lemon Zest. The fish course showcases a Filetto d’Orata – Sea Bream with Fennel Confit, Sautéed Swiss Chard & Meyer Lemon-Thyme Sauce. A fresh and light dessert of Lisi’s Crostatina di Limone – a Meyer Lemon Tart with Toasted Italian Meringue & Tuscan Mint – finishes this ideal dinner for Southern California summer dining.
9960 South Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212