Nov 25 2013 034

Piatti Ristorante & Bar – La Jolla, CA

I recently met someone here for dinner. I usually like to suggest (or dictate) where to meet for dinner but I’ve recently taken a back seat to that. Friend suggested Piatti Ristorante & Bar in La Jolla. I have never been there before and had heard nice things about this place. He’s not originally from San Diego so his research showed that Piatti’s had a beautiful outside patio with some sort of large tree (maybe that’s my new theme for places to try out this season – restaurants with big giant old trees – sounds so quaint and romantic in a way).

I couldn’t find really any blog reviews about Piatti’s. It was kinda frustrating but finally on the 5th page of my google search, I saw Jinxi’s review on the place :)

Parking S.U.C.K.S in La Jolla Shores. It sucks during the day and it sucks at night. Dinner was at 6:30p but I have an OCD thing about always being on time so I made sure to get there 15 min early in case I couldn’t find parking (meaning, in case I was forced to parallel park which can easily tack on an extra 10 min for me). It did indeed take me 20 min to find parking that Saturday evening.

The bar was packed. There wasn’t a seat left. And there was a line to actually check into the restaurant. Strange. Was this place THAT popular/good?

We weren’t able to get a seat on their back patio (with the tree) but the side patio, with heat lamps, was available. We both preferred that as it was quite noisy inside the restaurant.

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- complimentary dipping oil and fresh baked bread

Friend noticed I was taking pictures so he actually posed their water bottle behind the dipping oil to make for a better pic.

I had read MANY reviews about their gourmet dipping oil. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, raved about this garlic oil. And I hate jumping on the bandwagon, but this truly was THE best dipping oil I’ve ever had.

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It’s comprised of olive oil, fresh garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parsley, and chili flakes.

How do I know this? Because the waiter told me! I guess it’s no secret to what they put in this. Also friend surprised me with something at the end of the meal that helped me enjoy this dipping oil (and evening) even more.

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- Seven Falls, Washington 2010

Friend picked out the wine the night. He asked the waiter for his suggestion between the Seven Falls merlot and Piatti’s own merlot brand. The waiter was kind enough to bring us a sample of both wines and we both unanimously agreed that the Seven Falls merlot was much better than Piatti’s own merlot brand. I believe the Seven Falls is more expensive than Piatti’s merlot but this was the one time where I felt it was worth it for the more expensive bottle. The wine really was nice though – smooth, soft, silky and light on tannins. I don’t think I could have asked for a better wine that night. Very nicely done by friend.

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- Herbed Cauliflower Cakes $8.95

Friend wanted us to try an appetizer so the waiter suggested this one. I love cauliflower. So I was really curious about this dish.

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good. It tasted very much like thick potato pancakes. You wanted to taste crab b/c it kinda looked like flattened crab cakes. But once you take a bite, you mostly taste potato/flour or some sort of starch. We really couldn’t taste cauliflower all that much in this dish.

Nov 25 2013 043

-  Grilled Rib-Eye: Garlic mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts

Since I don’t really eat pasta, we decided it would be nice if we split this dish as one of our entrees. It was nice of the restaurant to split this into two portions on separate plates (I am not sure if they charge extra for that).

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I requested the rib eye to be grilled medium rare which it was. But the steak itself didn’t taste right. It was incredibly chewy and had quite a bit of fat/gristle. There was barely any seasoning on the steak which made it harder to eat. I was disappointed because I knew this steak was probably the most expensive item on their menu and therefore should have tasted better than it did.

The brussel sprouts had a nice char to it and tasted good. I wish it had been served hot but I’m not sure if it was because we were sitting outside and perhaps it got cold from not being eaten right away.

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- Saffron Pappardelle: Shrimp, tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, arugula, lemon, white wine broth

Friend choose this dish as the waiter highly recommended it and said it was quite popular with customers. Again, the restaurant split this pasta dish onto two plates for us which was really appreciated. I believe the pappardelle is made in house.

The pic on the left was my portion. It barely came with any sauce so that made eating the pasta a bit tough. The shrimp was cooked nicely and tasted ok. The pic on the right is of friend’s portion and you can see that he received a pretty good amount of sauce. I believe he liked this pasta dish.

To be honest, this was what I was nibbling on all night:

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Sorry for the terrible pic. It’s a piece of bread soaked with that garlic parsley oil. It’s truly *that* good.

I’m not sure why boys always insists on ordering dessert after a meal. I’ve noticed my female friends don’t really do this. I mean, sometimes I want the girls to order dessert but I don’t want to seem like the piggy that wants it right.

My tummy was pretty content (from the beautiful wine and bread…hello). But two desserts were ordered regardless. Ain’t complaining here…

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- dessert port wine (?)

He ordered this as I’m not a fan of dessert ports. I took a sip and I swear it tasted like Chinese medicinal-something. It reminded me immediately of my grandparents.

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- Affogato: White Chocolate Gelato, Espresso, Amaretto, Shaved Chocolate, Whipped Cream

This is usually served with white chocolate gelato but the waiter was able to substitute that with their dark chocolate gelato for me (WTH right, I guess my tummy wasn’t *too* full after all). The picture on the right is the hot espresso.

I asked waiter if they could put the espresso on the side since I have that phobia of cold stuff melting b/c of hot stuff (like a piece of warm whatever-fruit pie and a scoop of whatever-ice-cream on top). I thought I was the only one with this phobia but CC made mention of it too in one of her posts.

The waiter said no worries: they put the hot espresso on the side. Whewwwww…..

This dessert was DELICIOUS. Why couldn’t they do this with the entrees. The dark chocolate gelato was nice and bitter (in that dark chocolate way) Nov 25 2013 056Nov 25 2013 055

Friend let me eat as much as I wanted before he poured the espresso over the gelato and whip cream (I took out the wafer cookie so it wouldn’t get soggy..of course right).

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- pouring hot espresso over gelato

Friend was really cool b/c he suggested I take some ‘action’ pics of him pouring the espresso over the gelato so people could get a better image of the dessert as a whole.

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- the final mess :)

I must admit. And this is a first. The hot espresso over the dark gelato tasted GOOD. I don’t know what happened. There was something magical about putting a spoonful of cold chocolate gelato covered in warm espresso into my mouth. It tasted creamy and cold but warm at the same time.

I’m writing this at a coffee shop right now, sitting next to one of my friends. I read the last paragraph to him. He’s laughing b/c he just said to me ‘dude…it’s just coffee over ice cream, you freak..’

Then I heard him mumble under breath ‘Something magical…what the frek…spoonful of cold yet hot…frekkin’ Faye…’

Thanks buddy. ThanksAlot.

Nov 25 2013 057

- Tiramisu: Lady Fingers, Espresso, Amaretto, Mascarpone, Chocolate

Friend got this one for us to try as well. The waiter said they make a large fresh batch in a sheet pan (or something) every day. The tiramisu wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it was still good. My favorite part of any tiramisu is the mascarpone for some reason.

Service was spot on that night. The waiter was really friendly and knowledgeable. There were no eye rolls when I asked the waiter or busboy for more bread and dipping oil. Our water was consistently refilled and the left over food was neatly packaged for me to take home.

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Friend surprised me with this at the end of the meal. The waiter had mentioned earlier that Piatti bottles their famous gourmet oil. So friend bought me one which was so incredibly thoughtful. I’m not sure how much this bottle sells for but the bottle is really William Sonoma-ish pretty.

It was a nice evening and it was fun to finally try out this restaurant. I’m not sure I’d come back for the food as I wasn’t too impressed by the appetizer or entrees from that night. But I think I would come back for their wine, bread/oil, and desserts.

Piatti Ristorante & Bar
2182 Avenida de La Playa
(between El Paseo Grande & Calle De La Plata)
La Jolla, CA 92037
Neighborhood: La Jolla Shores
(858) 454-1589

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I was pretty excited to try the bottled oil the next day. And to be honest, it pales in comparison with what is served at the actual restaurant. There’s too much oil in the bottled version. Even if you give the bottle a few good shakes, it’s mostly olive oil that comes out.

Actually, I’m re reading the label now and here are the ingredients listed in this bottle: Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley flakes, oregano, crushed red chili flakes. So I guess the only presence of garlic in the bottle is in the olive oil (or infused in the olive oil I should say) and that’s it. What a bummer b/c the dipping oil we had at the restaurant definitely had fresh garlic in the dip.

The End.

I don’t even  have anything witty or funny to say right now b/c my hands are so cold. Even this hot cup of decaf latte is doing nothing for me. AND – I think my little vermin of a cute nephew got me sick with his gross germs. My nose has been runny all day and I have the worst chills. Or maybe it’s just the freezing weather. I FINALLY turned on the heater last night and have to admit that I slept like a baby for the first time this week (I tried to spite SDG&E for raising rates this year).

Hopefully everyone is staying bundled up and taking good care of themselves this beautiful frigid first week of December…

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Piatti Ristorante & Bar – La Jolla, CA”

  1. Oh boy, don’t even get me started on that La Jolla parking. It’s not so bad on weekdays (at least, I don’t find it that bad), but on weekends, it’s worse than Hillcrest. There’s been more than one time where I drove to La Jolla looking for food, then gave up and went somewhere else (this has also happened in Hillcrest).

    Seeing your sauce-less pasta made me a little sad inside.

    If you love gelato, Bottega Italiana in the UTC Mall/Coronado Island is amazing, especially for most fruit-based flavors. Their chocolate is also pretty frickin’ good. Totally ruins any healthiness I just obtained from eating a salad at Tender Greens though. They also serve a nice Illy espresso there – you could totally rig up your own affogato. It also helps that they have this going on(probably due to the cold weather incoming): http://livingsoci.al/1cf3GRB

    I had to wear sweatpants to bed last night due to how cold it was. And I’m wearing sweatpants even now. I forgot that it was into the low 40s (it hit 39 here last night) at night, and now I’m happy to be able to still feel my feet.

    1. Hey Ben,

      You had me laughing about giving up on parking and leaving! I’ve done that on a few occasions too. It’s beyond defeating. What restaurant/food were you searching for in LJ?

      I think the sauce in any pasta dish is the best part. Doesn’t a rich, hearty bolognese sauce sound so warm and cozy right about now.

      I’ve been to Bottega Italiana! What’s your favorite gelato there? Does Bottega have a spicy dark chocolate gelato? They make Chuao’s Spicy Mayan chocolate gelato but they didn’t sell it at Bottega last time I visited. Did you try Chuao in UTC before they closed down? Chuao has some great gelato too. (I can’t believe we’re even discussing gelato in this freezing weather – what hard core foodies right). Thank you for the link to that living social deal!! Their gelato ain’t cheap so this deal is great. I’ve also never tried out their coffee before but I like illy quite a bit.

      It was painfully cold outside last night. Did it really drop to 39 where you’re at? Ouch. I think Sat will be the coldest day/night this week. I was totally kicking myself the other day b/c I remember telling you here how much I love the cold weather, how it’s so great, blah blah blah…

      There’s nothing wrong w/ sweatpants as long as you don’t wear them more than 24/7 three days in a row. That’s my rule. Have a great Fri and weekend Ben :)

      1. Oh man, it’s happened too many times. I don’t even remember what I went for sometimes… once it was for George’s, which I chose a Friday night, really dumb of me. Another time was for Whisk’n’Ladle, again, weekend night, bad idea. A few times I’ve left because there was simply no shoreline parking or parking above it for the beach (I’d go to the Torrey Pines Beach if this happened, but sometimes THAT one has no parking either!).

        My favorite is pear, but they might not have it right now. I tried only the strawberry and chocolate from Chuao – their chocolate is pretty good, but the strawberry wasn’t the best I had (never tried strawberry at Bottega). Between Bottega and Papalecco, they have all my favorites covered (but I feel Bottega is slightly better in terms of quality). I don’t recall seeing a spicy dark chocolate, but I think they made all of Chuao’s stuff before they closed.

        It’s 1:30 PM and it’s still cold! My hands are frozen as I type this.

        1. Hahaha – it takes a big man to appreciate his shortcomings so I applaud you about your choice of LJ restaurants on a weekend. At least you try and make a go of it right? I don’t even know where to park for Torrey Pines Beach – I always parked in a business complex (on weekends) and hope I don’t get towed. But you have good taste in restaurants if you choose George’s and WnL. You’ll have to share which level of George’s you prefer.

          You must try Chuao’s Modena Strawberry: light, yet creamy strawberry gelato with a hint of balsamic vinegar and flecks of dark chocolate. So fantastic. There’s a Chuao in Del Mar that I visit just for this Modena and the Spicy chocolate. I bought the Living Social deal so I’ll have no excuse not to try out Bottega now. It’s funny b/c I just recently noticed that most of these gelato places offer gourmet coffees. So you mentioning the illy espresso makes me want to try out their coffees even more (and Starbucks in that mall is ridiculous during this time of year so Bottega would be a nice change of pace for a cup of joe).

          I’m glad you can relate to the frozen hands and trying to type. I went for a hike this afternoon w/ friends and it was so windy and cold. I’m on the sofa right now, covered in a few blankets, totally congested, typing away on my computer at the moment. There must be something for cold hands when you type. Like fingerless mittens or something. I just googled it and there are some pretty ugly ones out there.

          Have a good weekend – and stay warm!

  2. I kind of avoid going to La Jolla for things, but there is one place we go to called Bubba’s Smokehouse. It’s on the west end of downtown La Jolla so we can park by the Contemporary Art museum and walk. Anything in the middle of downtown La Jolla or the Shores area… meh… don’t wanna go!

    Too bad the food wasn’t that stellar… except for the dessert/dipping oil! And hey, I totally get your excitement over the espresso/gelato thing. Anything totally freaking delicious sounds “magical” to me, too! If it makes you happy embrace it, I say! :D

    I got into work this morning and my car said it was 39 freaking degrees. What is this, we’re having actual seasons now? Have a good week, Faye :)

    1. Hi Mary,

      I have yet to go to Bubbas! I’ve heard good things about that place and have driven by the restaurant (it’s in a weird location isn’t it). I’ve been trying to do a jog in the area so maybe I’ll stop by Bubbas as a reward for runnin’ or something (sounds so Forrest Gump).

      I wish the food at Piatti was better but at least it ended on a good note! I’m still surprised I like the espresso poured over the gelato.

      Oh your car was 39 degrees?! Jeez! Was your car parked outside or in garage? I just checked the weather report and it looks like it’s going to be 36 degrees tonight?!

      1. Definitely check out Bubba’s if you can! My favorite is the hot links and beef ribs and Jake loves the Bubba sandwich (it has brisket, pork and a hot link on one sandwich)! Really yummy.

        Yeah, my car is parked outside, it said 41 when I left but when I got to work it said 39!! Crazy!

        1. I’m checking it out online right now – I haven’t had lunch yet so this is how I’m punishing myself at the moment. But yeah the bbq looks good there – I want some fried onion rings for some reason right at this moment. I’ll have to try out that Bubba sandwich!

          That’s crazy your car was 41 this morning. That’s like shiver-me-timbers cold, man! I wonder if a car cover would help somehow. Doubt it huh.

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