*post and photos by Erika Larson
Imagine stepping off the street in Hermosa Beach and feeling immediately transported to Italy. The warm, ocean air flowing freely in through the long, white curtains, and the soothing sound of an Italian crooner completing the minimalistic, candle-lit atmosphere.
Enter Sosta, a true northern Italian gem in the heart of an otherwise surf-centric town, just south of LA. The restaurant is discrete, without any signage to indicate the culinary treat awaiting inside. Regardless of the indistinct exterior, Sosta is a sure not-to-miss spot, as Chef Luca Manderino brings incredible Venetian flavors to the table.
We started with a Caprese salad, complete with buttery buffalo mozzarella, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil. We were told we couldn’t miss the 2-year aged Prosciutto, and our waiter Hector did not disappoint. Of all of our starters, though, it was the fried shitake mushrooms that truly stole the show. Like a vegan version of Mexican Chicharrones, these deliciously fried truffle morsels were accompanied by a pungent 8-month aged cheese that went remarkably well with a glass of Prosecco.
Next up was the pasta course. Sosta is well-known for its handmade pasta and gnocchi, and our gorgonzola gnocchi were like delicate, cheesy pillows that melted in your mouth. I’ve never tasted gnocchi quite this decadent before, and I can assure you that I will be going back for more! The pappardelle was another crowd pleaser: silky pasta ribbons smothered in a rich mushroom and parsley sauce. The final pasta dish, a special called Bigoi, wasn’t quite my taste, as it was made with anchovies and exceedingly salty, but for those with an intense salt tooth it may be just the ticket.
Following the pasta course, the lightest, most luscious filet of Branzino appeared on the table. The kitchen debones and prepares the fish for you, so you’re left with the most delicate, sage-infused fish that really balances the richness of the previous courses. We coupled the fish with filet mignon that was drenched in a mustard cream sauce and absolutely divine. I consider myself a red meat fan, and this was honestly one of the best filets I’ve ever had.
To finish, we had to try the homemade Tiramisu, which was a delightfully creamy and sweet way to end an altogether exceptional culinary experience.
With its Venetian-inspired flavors, Sosta is perfect for date night or a special occasion, and overall provides the most delicious, intimate culinary experience that’s a feast for your senses!