Restaurant Spotlight: Piccolo Bringing Fine Italian Dining to Santa Monica and Venice

Latest restaurant from Chef Antonio Mure with two locations on Westside 

By Timothy Michael

An esteemed chef with deep ties to the Westside has opened an Italian restaurant called Piccolo with two locations in Santa Monica and Venice. 

Piccolo’s kitchen is helmed by co-owner and Executive Chef Antonio Mure, who has opened numerous restaurants throughout his career, including the former Michelin-starred La Botte in Santa Monica, the current Barrique on Main Street in Venice and a former restaurant also called Piccolo near the Boardwalk. 

The new Piccolo, 2127 Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica and 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, is managed and co-owned by Tony Black. He and Chef Mure first became partners when they opened Barrique on Venice’s Main Street in 2015, a gourmet Italian restaurant with an extensive wine list. The restaurant has been voted the most romantic restaurant in the United States several times, in part because of the atmosphere, an old train conductor’s house which was built in 1904. And also because of the food. 

“Quality of food and great service creates a recipe for success. Our end goal was never to make a lot of money, it was to service Venice and see what happens,” Black added. 

Mure has opened 11 restaurants throughout his career. The newest Piccolo restaurants were inspired by his original restaurant under the same name which opened in Venice in 2004 before closing a few years later. 

Chef Mure has carefully cultivated the menu to incorporate dishes and styles from all over Italy, drawing inspiration from his Sicilian roots, his family in Parma, and his time working in the Dolomites. He is aided by Chef de Cuisine Victorino Balbino, who has been by his side since the original Piccolo opened. 

When asked what makes the new Piccolo restaurants stand out Black said, “It’s an artistic take on Italian cuisine. We source local ingredients from different farmers and combine them together to make unique dishes that you can’t find anywhere else.” 

Some of those dishes include jamon serrano, which is served with poached pear, sweetened with canella vanilla, and complemented by a creamy burrata. 

If you love pasta, Black recommends a potato and fig tortellini served on a bed of parmesan fondue with a brown butter sage dressing which blends the savory and sweet elements together to play with the diner’s palette. 

For those that have a bit of a sweet tooth you can’t go wrong with either the three layered tronchetto chocolate mousse or the creme custard. 

“Chef Mure has been a chef most of his life,” Black said. “Cooking and restaurants are his life. The dishes he comes up with are mind blowing. He has a pretty extensive recipe book.” 

Piccolo Santa Monica is open for dinner seven days a week at 2127 Lincoln Blvd and Piccolo Venice is open Tuesday through Saturday at 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Both locations have both indoor and patio seating options. In addition, there are plans to expand into lunch and brunch options soon. Visit piccolosantamonica.com for more information.  

in Dining, News
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