This restaurant is a hidden gem, its location is at the beach, and if you don’t live near by, you have to hear about it from a friend. But once you do, you too will be a fan. I am glad to say that I am spreading the word, Caffe Pinguini is simply authentic, very fresh, and amazing Italian food on the West side. It is so worth a trip to take in this fantastical creative cuisine.
Both owners Tony and Enrico are from Rome, and worked in the restaurant business in Santa Monica at Café Del Fini for many years. Caffe Pinguini has been in operation since 1997, and they have managed to keep the food very authentic, and most of their recipes are what you would get in an Osteria in Rome.
There is a nice large outdoor patio if you’re concerned with being safe during this pandemic, also the indoor area is very charming, quaint, and romantic. They ask for vaccination upon entry. The staff is super accommodating and friendly. It’s all great vibes with great food – what more could you want?
Here’s What I Tried:
Trio Di Bruschetta, assortment of bruschetta. There are three Bruschetta’s served, olive tapenade, peppers, and tomatoes, all of them unique and the perfect way to start your great meal.
Smoked Mozzarella with Shitake Mushrooms, slices of smoked mozzarella broiled and topped with sautéed shitake mushrooms. I am a true mushroom lover; this dish has so many lovely long slices of shitake mushrooms. It’s just a great combination of cheese and fragrant mushrooms.
Tortellini In Brodo, four cheese ravioli and ground Italian sausage in a savory chicken broth. This is Italian penicillin, its very soothing, absolutely comfort food.
Shrimp Salad, with grilled shrimp, served with mixed greens and garlic in an olive oil and lemon dressing. This salad is light and refreshing, you really taste the ingredients with a very minimal amount of really great dressing.
Fettuccine Contadina, with fettuccine pasta with green peas, mushrooms, and pancetta, in a light creamy sauce. The marriage of the peas, pancetta, and creamy sauce is just the best pasta – in my opinion.
Linguine Pesto, with linguine pasta with basil, minced pine nuts and garlic. This dish is just so simple but it has such a unique flavor that really entices ones taste buds.
Risotto Al Funghi, with risotto with mixed wild mushrooms. The mushroom flavor permeates this super wonderful dish, if your a mushroom lover, like I am, this dish is a must try.
Special Homemade Spaghetti with Lobster Tail. The homemade spaghetti is so delicious, it is done like square shaped pasta instead of round and the sauce is subtle but super flavorful. The lobster tail is fresh and succulent, a really amazing dish.
Crème Brulee, rich and creamy, just the best way to end my fantastic experience.
Chardonnay, Black Stallion, Napa Valley, 2019. A creamy, buttery, rich Chardonnay, that paired with the Lobster Spaghetti so perfectly. It sets the stage for your taste buds to really indulge in the flavor of the lobster.
Contesa, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, a bold red Italian wine, next time your at a nice Italian restaurant order this with any of the red sauces, it will add to the overall experience.
My dinner was such a wonderful experience; I was truly made to feel like a queen. The ambiance, the food, the service was all-exceptional.
Owner Tony was so kind to allow me to come in and try his delightful cuisine again. The second time was even better than the first. There are many locals that come on a regular basis. If I lived close by I would for sure be in once a week, it is just that good!
6935 Pacific Ave.
Playa Del Rey, CA.