I had my list of restaurants I wanted to try in Long Beach, but my fingers did the walking to my first call, which was La Traviata, and when owner Mario Nasab answered the phone, he was so welcoming. He said yes please come in and try my food, I can’t wait to meet you. Well – Mario is just the most charming, fun loving person, it is just so worth it to go to La Traviata just to meet him. He wants to celebrate life and have all of his loyal customers do the same. Mario is a world traveler and has lived in many places, including London. I could hear a very faint British. And his soothing voice which has many sexy accents rolled into one will make you want to come back for more. The food, well that is the cherry on top, its remarkable. Such a wonderful experience, run don’t walk to this stylist piece of heaven in Long Beach, California.
Chef Jose Trinidad has been with Mario for the whole ride, when they opened this great establishment 25 years ago. La Traviata is housed in The Willmore building. The Willmore was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by Fisher, Lake and Traver, the architects of The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It was originally designed as a U-shaped structure. However, only one wing was completed. The building is designed in the Renaissance Revival and Beaux-Arts styles. Built in 1925 by the Trewitt-Shields Company, the structure has an L shape with a ten-story wing and an eleven-story wing. The building’s current name honors William E. Willmore, developer of a forerunner to Long Beach, Willmore City, and namesake of the Willmore neighborhood. Mario loves his restaurants location, and has seen many changes come to his neighborhood; he says right now it on an upswing.
The interiors are very lovely, Mario commissioned the chandeliers in 1996, and there are 10 in both the main dining room and the banquet room. The banquet room is large and can house many different kind of events, conventions, with everything all under one roof.
Here is what I tried:
Bloody Mary, a great way to start off my dining experience, with just the right amount of spice and everything nice.
La Trav Wedge – brunch item – romaine spears, poached shrimp, lime gremolata, blistered corn, citrus aioli. The dressing alone will blow your hair back, sweet, pungent, delicious. The shrimp are huge and just delightful, a great rendition of this fantastic steakhouse staple.
Mozzarella Caprese, with Heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens, olive caponata, and basil aioli. Their presentation is all that, and it is a super fresh scrumptious appetizer.
Truffled Mushroom Polenta, brunch item – with creamy polenta, truffled assorted mushrooms fricassee, poached egg, parmesan fricca. This is a terrific brunch item; the truffled mushroom adds so much to this dish.
Mushroom Strudel, with Phyllo pastry, spinach, Gruyere cheese, and raspberry Syrah reduction. The Syrah reduction is everything!
Calamari Fritti with deep-fried, with marinara sauce. A good portion with nice sauce, a great appetizer.
Lobster Tortelli, Porcini cream sauce, parmesan, and truffle oil. The tortelli are so soft and supple, the truffles and mushroom just add another layer to the sauce.
Linguini mare with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp and scallops, with tomato or white wine sauce. The fish is super fresh and the marriage of ingredients is just superb.
Filet Mignon, with glazed carrots, sautéed spinach, brown butter potato puree, cognac green peppercorn sauce. This steak was super tender and the cognac sauce really got my attention, simply fantastic.
‘LA Trav Chilean Sea Bass, with Mizo glazed, tobiko caviar, jasmine rice, seasonal vegetables. The most delicate and moist fish ever, yum!
Rack of Lamb, with fingerling potatoes, cranberries, grilled asparagus, pomegranate mint reduction. The lamb is so tender and succulent, wow just spectacular.
Chocolate Mint Gelato, rich, creamy, with lots of chocolate chips, goes great with my other dessert items.
Cream Brulee, A creamy custard presented in a traditional ceramic ramekin. Hand-made in house. So creamy and delicious a great way to end my glorious meal.
Grandmother Cake, with pastry cream with a hint of lemon on a base of short pastry covered with pine nuts almonds and powdered sugar. A perfect desert with great lemon flavor.
Chardonnay, Battaglini, smooth creamy went great with the seafood pasta.
Sauvignon Blanc, Hayes Valley, I liked this wine with the Sea Bass, it added a nice complexity.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Benzinger, this wine was just an added pleasure to both the lamb and the steak.
La Traviiata has had to close for many months due to Covid last year and this year, Mario says without the board for The Willmore Building he would have totally gone under. They helped him with rent forgiveness and other things to get his business up and running again when Covid restrictions were lifted.
The food is too die for, the ambiance is classy and fun. Mario provides a great attitude about life and everything that he brings to the table. He knows this part of Long Beach well, he helped to start L’ Opera, a restaurant not far away and lives a few minutes form La Traviata. Mario talks about his daughter with great pride and he is helping her learn the business so when he is ready he will pass the torch. He has a huge wealth of restaurant knowledge and really truly wants everyone to enjoy themself. His favorite expression, “ Every Year is a good Year”.
About La Traviata:
La Traviata is one of the best-kept secrets of Long Beach Italian food! La Trav serves an award winning Nuevo Italian menu in our Dining Room, and has the friendliest Bar in town! Join us for live music at the Piano or Patio on Thursday and Fridays or host your events in our Spectacular Lounge. Have a Sunday Funday with us and enjoy our flavorful Brunch in Long Beach CA with mimosas or bloody marys.
La Traviata is named for the famous Italian Opera of the same name that tells the story of found and lost love. It was scandalous in its day. Create some of your own excitement with them.
301 N Cedar Ave.
Long Beach, CA. 90802
Dinner – Wed. – Sunday – 5pm -9pm
Brunch – Sunday – 10am-2pm