I wrote earlier about our visit visit to Pastina Trattoria in Westwood, tasting terrific wines from Tuscany, and enjoying Frank Catulla s warm welcome. As I write this, we have been back for two further visits, both dinners, as Frank wanted me to really try the entire menu. I have done a good job of this.
Separate from the four Course dinner prix fixe menu for $26, I tasted some interesting dishes, including a wonderful panchetto, mozzarella and some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever enjoyed. Then we dug into a buffalo mozzarella rissoto with shrimp which was good. I particularly liked the panchetta al dente made with the Insalata Pastina, with arugola endive and diced fresh mozzarella with tomatoes which was very nice.
Their Arugola salad by itself was good. I also liked the Arugola topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and tossed with a vinaigrette dressing. From the large pasta lists, I tried their Fettuccine alla Bolognese, which is one of the customer favorites. For me the Bronzino treated for three days, was terrific. Their veal ranked very good, and the lamb scored in the great category.
In the special menu I liked the vegan mushroom soup. From the pasta list I really liked the Penne alla Vodka, which I thought special. The Fetuchine Burina also was easy to enjoy. The fish is really good here, and I loved the Scampi all’Agliata. A little spicy for me, but not overly so.
While Frank poured wine, particularly whites, which he liked, and knew we liked from the first visit, I brought a couple of bottles, which also paired with the food we enjoyed. Frank’s wife, Nancy, joined us for the dinner, and all had an enjoyable evening. I did manage to taste some of the other’s choices, and shared mine with them.
The restaurant is in a good location, between Olympic and Pico on Westwood Boulevard. There is parking on the street, valet available at a decent price, and parking in the back between two buildings (fortunately owned by the Catullo’s and purchased years ago.) If you are aware of traffic patterns in the evening, and slide in between or after rush hour, you can access the parking around the place.
Inside, the atmosphere is warm, and spread into two dining areas. It could get crowded, but the crew handle guests in genial fashion. It’s not a pizza joint per se, its a first rate dining experience.