It’s time for a trip back into the restaurant review archives for this week’s foodie adventure. Back in February, when I ventured out to La La Land for the Left Coast UPGRD Meetup, my brother-in-law invited my wife and I to join he and his girlfriend for dinner while we were in town. Apparently, they were in the mood to splurge, and made reservations at a swanky West LA Italian venue, Locanda Positano. My wife and I both love Italian food, so we certainly weren’t going to object.
Note: while I normally try to include a few photos of the exterior and interior of each restaurant that I feature, due to the late hour, a rain that was beginning to fall, and the low lighting inside, I was unable to take any usable photos. A photo gallery is available at the restaurant’s website.
- 4059 Lincoln Boulevard (State Highway 1), Marina Del Rey, CA
- Hours: M-Th 5:30-10 P.M.; Friday & Saturday 5:30-10:30 P.M.; Sunday 5-10 P.M.
- Price: $60-75 per person, no alcohol
Directions: From LAX, head north on Sepulveda (Highway 1), then turn left as the highway becomes Lincoln Boulevard. Restaurant is on the left, shortly after the intersection with State Highway 90. From the 10 freeway (Santa Monica Freeway), take exit 1B, Highway 1 south (Lincoln Blvd.) and turn left. Restaurant is on the right, shortly after Washington Blvd.
With the meetup not ending until 8, we planned a late dinner, with reservations at 9. We ended up getting there about 15 minutes early, only to find out that my brother-in-law and girlfriend had already eaten at a cricket watching party a couple of hours earlier and didn’t want to order anything. Buttmunches. My wife and I really hate spending big bucks eating out unless it’s a special occasion, and since they wouldn’t even be eating, it wouldn’t be much of an occasion. Plus we’d been up since 3 A.M. Pacific time, and I’d just as soon have gone to Taco Bell as opposed to a leisurely dinner if I’d known they didn’t want to eat. Oh well, might as well enjoy ourselves while we’re here…
We started off with a staple appetizer, frittura di calamari (fried calamari with zucchini wedges).
I’m not really a fan of calamari – I find squid to have an unpleasant rubbery texture – but I let Prita pick the appetizer. So far, we’re off to a good start. Though the squid were a little overcooked, I quite enjoyed the batter, which was light, crispy, and not greasy at all. The marinara sauce was also moderately spicy, which I thought went really well with the calamari after sprinkling a little lemon over it (spice combined with acidity is quite tasty). Next up was the main course, battuta di pollo alla paramgiana (chicken parmigiana) for me and linguine alla positano (seafood linguine with tomata sauce) for Prita.
This is where thing started going off the rails. The chicken parmagiana looked pretty, but it just wasn’t very good. The crust was nice, but the chicken was overcooked, and thus very dry and tough. Let’s face it, there’s few things more unappetizing than a dry, overcooked chicken. The parmagiana sauce lacked flavor, and even the cheese was rubbery, almost as if it was reduced fat cheese. And to top it all off, it was served with a side of potato wedges. They were actually pretty good, with a nice, crisp crunch on the outside and a tender center, but what exactly does this have to do with chicken parmagiana? I’d expect a bed of spaghetti or something. My wife complained of a similar lack of flavor in her tomato sauce, though she said the seafood was fresh and decently cooked at least. After that disappointing experience, we were hoping to redeem things with a tasty dessert, and so we ordered the chocolate cake.
And unfortunately, redemption would not be found on this evening. The cake, though nice to look at and sufficiently chocolatey, was dry. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that we got the last piece of cake from a pan that was baked hours earlier.
On a positive note, I like the restaurant’s atmosphere and overall vibe. The restaurant is quite cozy, with maybe 15 tables total. That and the upscale interior makes it an ideal spot for date night with your significant other. It also means service is warm and attentive, even when the restaurant is full. Since we were early, we did have to wait a few minutes, but the manager quickly readied a table for us once one was available, and we were attended to well by the waitstaff. It’s just too bad that the food didn’t measure up. As I often say – I really don’t care about your organic veggies and grass-fed chicken (seemingly mandatory credentials with up-market joints these days), just make the food taste good!
Rating: this meal just couldn’t be salvaged, and warrants 2 stars – which from here on out shall be known as the Professor Snape “D” for “Dreadful”. I might have been able to justify 3 stars, but not for what turned out to be a $145 meal. I should point out that Locanda Positano generally receives very good reviews, so maybe we were just unlucky.