La Puglia in Santa Monica

Was driving by Wilshire Blvd. and 16th in Santa Monica. Saw a banner for “La Puglia.”

An internet search turns up virtually nothing, except for some machinery and furniture from Italy (https://panjiva.com/La-Puglia/71401185).

Strangely enough, I think that this URL might’ve been on that banner.

Anyone w/ intel?

I found this…

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Open…
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Waiting for food…

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Can’t wait to hear your first impressions!

It was good and certainly worth a visit. BTW, the place is double the size indicated in my pic (the other half of the restaurants is seating area and huge wood-burning oven). Food kind of reminds me of what a more upscale Tuscan Son would be (and I mean that as a compliment).

The food is not small:

Not quite clear from the photo, but that sandwich is LARGE. If you are not very hungry, it is entirely possible you will not finish it. Vaguely annoyingly, the sandwiches are arranged in the box to maximize prettiness (which means you need to move the top bun back where it belongs when you open it). I had the Beddhra, partner had the Lemme Lemme (both under “Puccia,” although “Puccia” is also, confusingly, one of the types of bread you can order?).

The bread is really lovely. Something btw a rustic loaf and a pita and oh-so-chewy. I could eat that every day.

The lemme lemme works better b/c the tomatoes provide MUCH needed MOISTURE. The beddhra has good quality ingredients, but it desperately a condiment or something.

We ordered a cornetto. Not available, so we got a pasticciotto leccese (I think) and a brioche (not sure b/c the cashier informed us of the lack of cornetto after we had ordered and paid and offered two other pastries instead. He said what they were, but I only caught “brioche.”

The pasticciotto is delightful. It feels quite dense, but the pastry is fairly light and tender, and it’s got a lovely almond custard.

The brioche is quite odd. The brioche itself is surprisingly bread-y, and it actually does feel like you’re eating a sweet sandwich w/ a bit of cream filling. The first few bites were bizarre, texture-wise, but now I find myself kind of wanting to finish it off.
(Whoops, forgot pic in the first go-around)

While the pastries not huge, there are rich enough that you will wish to share.

They also have pizzas on display; they looked to be of a nice size (somewhere btw a personal size and a shareable size).

Partner had la zita di ceglie juice (red beet, carrot, smith apple, lemon, ginger). Very tasty.

My only quibble on this first visit is that the ingredients of sandwich filling, while good, seemed like things you could fairly easy procure at FMs and such (which speaks to how good our FM and Costco are), so I think the real strength of the place will probably lie in the baked items (so I can easily imagine going there for bread and then assembling the sandwich at home). Did not try the pastas. W/ Colapasta, Uovo, and Pasta Sisters nearby, La Puglia will need to do something special to stand out, in that regard. Also, the fact that we do have such good Italian in the area (incl Tuscan Son for pastries) means that La Puglia seems simply very good, rather than AMAZING.

Food took a bit of time to come out, but I imagine that this is b/c they’re so newly opened.

I def plan to return to try the other stuff. Certainly, the place seems promising.

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I think street parking should be easy in that area but do they have parking? The place looks pretty big from the outside. Glad to have another option in the area

I did not check. We walked there (was in the mood for a fairly long walk), and I didn’t think to walk behind to see if there a lot.

No worries, I’m sure I’ll make it by sooner rather that later. Thanks for the review

Update: partner and I have been back a few times. The sandwiches now include a description of having a “green salad.” There’s no side salad, but it seems like the greens INSIDE the sandwich now have some sort of dressing that adds some needed moisture. Bread remains excellent.

The pasticciotto has been reworked so that the dough is even more tender and the custard is now lighter and has a hint of lemon. The last one we had a few days ago was truly craveworthy.

The cakes are a bit curious. They are moist and gooey (edit: they are NOT moist and gooey) but not exactly dry, either. Flavor is a bit muted. I think they’d be better as a breakfast item (when you want a lighter pastry). One had some sort of pistachio puree. The puree was great but was only found in small quantities and almost all toward the bottom. Drat.

The pasta is described “fresh,” so I assume they’re made in-house. The cavatelli w/ pesto we got was very good and a hearty portion. Not cheap ($18), but I enjoyed it and a very decent size (partner thought it needed more salt; I liked it as-is).

And, finally, they’re doing gelato (!). We got a taste of the chocolate (VERY rich w/ perhaps some some ground-up cocoa nibs?) and coffee (excellent and another craveworthy item… And I’m not a huge fan of coffee normally).

My only concern w/ the place is that they’re doing a LOT of dishes and it seems like they’re still working a few kinks out. Partner has interacted a few times w/ the person who we assume is the owner (Valentina), and she seems very nice.

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Got lunch today. The place is absolutely gorgeous; can’t wait to be able to dine in. We ordered the sandwich with roasted vegetables, the panzerotto, the calzone, and one of the salads. Everything was great, and I agree with @paranoidgarliclover that everything bread/dough related was fabulous.
Sandwich cut in half:


Panzerotto: (nice chewiness, and especially liked the last bites with cheese + the corner

Calzone (?)

There is an enormous pizza oven right there, and that’s probably where most of this is baked.

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So glad you liked it!

I haven’t tried the panzerotto or calzone (or pizza, for that matter). Will have to try those. :slight_smile:

Had the brioche v.2 this weekend.

TOTALLY different than what we had the first time around (and vastly better). For the filling get hazelnut (or was it almond?), pistachio, or one of the gelatos (!). Pretty tasty, but the pistachio flavor wasn’t quite evenly distributed in the filling.

Pistachio gelato isn’t bad but isn’t going to make you forget about Bulgarini anytime soon. Still, I appreciated that it wasn’t overly sweet. Chocolate gelato was rich and intense. Curiously, the cashier put the chocolate gelato on TOP of the pistachio. Think that putting them side by side would work better…

We also clarified the pasta situation; it’s all imported and not made in-house (argh).

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Don’t know what took me so long to visit La Puglia, as it’s just a few blocks away - but, my god, is this restaurant fantastic. I’ve just spent a month in Italy and this restaurant is the closest I’ve found to taste like something you’d find wandering into a cafe in Bologna. The Beef Rolls are out of this world great, rolled with oozing mozzarella, served with an au jus that I practically ate as a soup, but kept spooning onto the crispy roasted potatoes and the roll, just to keep tasting that intense flavor. We had a large group, everyone loved their meal. I had Lasagna, served in its own cast iron skillet, ate every bite and practically licked the skillet afterward (I never finish a lasagna portion).

Open breakfast, lunch, dinner. Everything’s made fresh, fresh bread daily. Pasta flown in from La Puglia. Prices are reasonable. Excellent Italian wine selection, knowledgable staff. Live Jazz on Tuesdays. I’m really blown away by this place.

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A restaurant named La Puglia reminds you of a cafe in Bologna?

Meaning, the level of the Italian cooking reminds me of wandering into an authentic cafe in Italy. Bologna because I’ve never had a bad meal there.

What a wonderful place…beautiful space (live Jazz trio every Tuesday), intriguing and unusual menu (pugliese food!), fantastic bread program. Did not try pizza but it looked great.

I cannot believe it hasn’t received more attention from the food writer world - though it is hardly a secret in SaMo - despite “viral-headwinds,” it was quite crowded last night.

REALLY GOOD:

  • Capunti con Gamberi e Peperone Crusco (Fresh Capunti with Shrimps, cherry tomatoes and Crusco Pepper)

  • Adaver | Melanzane Ripiene - (Eggplant filled with ground Beef, Mozzarella, Pecorino)

  • Ci‘ie | Fave e Cicorie (Puree of Fava Beans with sauteed Dandelions Greens, with Crostino)

JUST OK (under-seasoned, could have used some lemon or other acid)

  • Gabri | Rape Stufate (Sauteed Broccoli Rabe)

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I was there last night too! Had the Capunti Gorgonzola with Artichokes, it was outstanding. The pasta is served true al dente. This place is a real gem.

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tried sandwich when opened. good/items nothing special. Not worth price& time spent parking

My last visit wasn’t great. Nothing really bad - except the pizza which was bad - just kind of average. Love the space, the owners/staff and non-pizza bread program but not the food.