North Italia Santa Monica interior

Restaurant of the Week: North Italia Santa Monica

North Italia Santa Monica–an authentic Italian eatery with a modern twist–puts passion and detail into each dish. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner at locations across the United States.

North Italia Santa Monica tuscan kale salad
Tuscan kale salad

With locations in some of California’s biggest coastal hotspots such as Santa Monica, San Diego, Torrance and Irvine, North Italia offers delicious, fresh cuisine in spacious eateries, perfect for large parties or quaint dates. Open daily, North Italia will be your new, reliable neighborhood favorite for all things Italian. Bring your friend, family or even a date and rest assured you’ll be treated with the same hospitality you would find in Italy.

When visiting the Santa Monica location, you will find yourself perched between the iconic Ocean Avenue and the 3rd Street Promenade–right in the heart of the action. Whether you stop in for weekend brunch or dinner, the open-air design brings in ocean breeze at all hours of the day for terrific dining al fresco. 

Brunch delights with rich banana coffee cake, cannoli French toast and breakfast carbonara pasta complete with poached egg and crispy pancetta. Sweet or savory, North Italia Santa Monica caters to the brunch crowd with exciting takes on classic dishes. 

If you’re headed out for lunch or dinner, the restaurant does not disappoint with its robust menu options. Small plates–perfect for sharing–included the house favorite white truffle garlic bread towering under fresh ricotta. Or opt for the tuna crudo plated with capers, pine nuts and orange for lighter fare. The Tuscan kale salad combines charred grapes and crispy pancetta to off set the rich parmesan flavor. It turns even the pickiest eaters into salad lovers! 

white truffle garlic bread

Ready for your main course? Come with a big appetite–North Italia Santa Monica plates with love in the spirit of true Italian hospitality. The house specialty Bolognese is warm and traditional–perfect for the colder nights we’ve been experiencing in California lately. Or try the spicy rigatoni vodka with Italian sausage and shaved garlic for an exciting twist on the well-known pasta dish. 

And what would an Italian eatery be without fresh, warm pizza? North Italia Santa Monica specializes in unique pizza offerings–in fact, during our visit, the Southern California region had recently launched a trial of the La Birria pizza. Dreamt up by the house chefs, the La Birria pizza combines Oaxaca cheese, smoked mozzarella, braised short rib, pickled onions and guajillo salsa to make a Mex-Italian masterpiece, inspired by the popular Mexican street-style birria tacos. Best of all, you can dunk your gourmet slices in warm consommé broth for an enhanced flavor experience.

If you’re still hungry after pizza, pasta and starter plates, just wait until you taste North Italia’s grilled branzino with roasted fennel and caper-lemon butter for the ultimate coastal cooking experience. For more familiar favorites, indulge in rich chicken parmesan doused in robust crushed tomato sauce and parmesan rigatoni. 

North Italia Santa Monica branzino

With a full bar and wine wall reaching from the floor to the ceiling, you can’t miss indulging in a craft cocktail or a bottle of wine…or two. The Julietta marries together ginger-and-vanilla-infused vodka, Italian elderflower, lime and bubbly prosecco for a Positano-inspired flavor pairing that works perfectly in the summer months. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with a full-bodied red wine straight from the North Italian region! 

Finish off the night with a sweet finish. The hazelnut torta looks as good as it tastes. Rich hazelnut cake and salty caramel gelato are reminiscent of romance and pair well with a meal filled with Italian flavors. But the staff assures that you can’t go wrong with the bombolini (Italian doughnuts) paired with Meyer lemon curd and Italian mascarpone cream. 

North Italia Santa Monica is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch; Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. for dinner; Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. for dinner; and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch.

For more information about North Italia and additional locations, visit

1442 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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