Southern Italian cuisine with a Michelin star chef at Luigi al Teatro

The restaurant Luigi al Teatro speaks to me. Perhaps it is because my ancestors came from southern Italy but before I even dine, the restaurant mesmerizes me with the design and intimate outdoor bar with hanging bulbs and seed pockets growing produce off the walls.

Just 11 months old, Luigi al Teatro is tucked behind Main Street Santa Monica in what is almost Venice. The youngest Michelin star chef in America resides here tantalizing guests with coastal Italian seafood and pasta.

Once an old theater, the 100-year-old historic building has two sides or moods. When you enter, an intimate outdoor bar in a roofless patio is the ideal California spot to meet a first date or converse with a loved one. In the next room, find stained glass windows and spooky romantic wall murals that look ancient, but still remain from its theater glory. The place feels romantic in a not commercial sort of way like you can hide away here with a bowl of pasta.

Chef Luigi Fineo’s menu features contemporary seafood dishes reminiscent of southern Italy’s coastal cuisine. Tonight we dine on Grilled Octopus, Cavatelli with mussels and potato, Sea Bream Carpaccio di Orata and fish with the IAMLA (Italian American Museum of Los Angeles), the founder of Stefano cheese, and many more guests to sample the Taste of Italy that occurs in LA each fall.

Did you know there is an Italian-American museum in LA? The IAMLA in downtown LA is located in the historic Italian Hall constructed in 1908 to serve as a gathering place for the Italian community. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the IAMLA is an interactive museum that documents the history and contributions of Italian Americans in Southern California and the nation.

Find this west-side Italian osteria for your next memorable night out.

Luigi al Teatro

5406, 3116 2nd St

Santa Monica, CA 90405


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