Press & Reviews
Oct. 2, 2014 – (excerts from review)
“Casa Nostra is a casually elegant family dining establishment with just the right amount of brio. The wood-paneled walls of the newly refurbished wine tasting nook add a touch of cozy sophistication ensuring a perfect spot for an intimate dinner for two.
….Italy has never tasted so good.”
Michael Aushenker , Staff Writer
“You feel like a character from an Antonioni movie as you zip up Palisades Drive in your convertible during the magic hour, taking in the late-afternoon lavenders and ambers cast on the green mountains. So it’s only fitting that your destination, should you be hungry, be Casa Nostra Ristorante at 1515 Palisades Drive in the Highlands. ’I’ve always opened for other people,’ says Giovanni Zappone, who has run the restaurant with his partners, Michele Scarpino and Nostra’s chef, Gerardo Ballesteros, since last August. ‘This is the first restaurant I’ve opened for myself.’ The son of trattoria owners in his native Italy, Zappone says that having the same chef from the previous Italian restaurant gives the eatery continuity from when it was Paolo’s Ristorante and ensures the quality of the food, for which Nostra uses only the freshest ingredients. He says he’ll pay more for the best products rather than take shortcuts that compromise the taste.”
Pacific Palisades Patch
Editor Amanda Salem
“Casa Nostra serves genuine Italian cuisine in a classy and relaxed atmosphere. Before opening its doors in 2009, the restaurant was Paolo’s, owned by Paolo Marrazzi, for about a year. The new owners, Giovanni Zappone, Michele Scarpino and chef Gerardo Ballesteros changed the menu to offer higher-quality food for less. The interior is comfortable and a bit rustic, with tile floors, plenty of wood furnishings and yellow walls. The menu features classic Italian creations, like spaghetti with meat sauce, paninis and pizzas, along with specialty dishes like papardelle d’anatra, wide noodles served in a duck ragu, or the branzino alla livornese, a filet of sea bass sauteed with cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives, with spinach.
Guests can sit in the cozy dining room or enjoy the view form the patio. Wines from California and Italy are available by glass or bottle. Party menus are available for large parties and catering.”
What they’re saying about us
I lived in Italy for a year, so I know good, authentic Italian when I eat it. Cass Nostra is amazing! Cozy atmosphere. Also, it was my birthday, and they brought me a tiramisu with a candle in it. Highly recommend this place. I had the gnocchi with Gorgonzola and I could have eaten it all day.
Bella, Plano, Tx
My kids love the pizza! Was not expecting such a great Italian restaurant this far off the beaten path. Schedule a trip to the gym after eating dessert at Cosa Nostra. It’s that good.
Shoshannah , Pacific Palisades
Ms K, Los Angeles
There is no better restaurant in Pacific Palisades or better Italian restaurant in L.A. For both the authentic Tuscan cuisine and the ambiance, with a beautiful view of the Santa Ynez Mountains during the magic hour, nothing beats the original Casa Nostra in Pacific Palisades!
I returned to Casa Nostra last night and it warmed my heart to see the place PACKED, filled with lively diners. The food is still as amazing. I always enjoy starting with the savory carpaccio, covered in melted Fontina cheese. Then I enjoyed a large Margharita pizza and my friend had the Spaghetti ala Carbonara – both delicious! Then for dessert some terrific canolis with my favorite, the cappuccino!
Co-owner Michele is a terrific host, as is partner Giovanni, who now runs the terrific downtown bistro version of Casa Nostra.
Last night’s atmosphere was as sublime as always – a nice slice of Italy tucked away in a quiet, romantic section of West Los Angeles. Very highly recommended! The perfect restaurant for special occasions, too!
Michael, Tobyhanna, Pa.
I was vacationing in the Pacific Palisades area and looked to Yelp to find a nice place for my family to dine at for dinner. Casa Nostra got great reviews and was nearby, so we agreed to try it out and made a reservation.
Upon arriving, we were instantly greeted by the friendly staff and notified them of our reservation. They brought us right to our table and offered water while letting us know of the night’s specials. I wanted to try something new and went with the pumpkin tortellini – since I had never tried it before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was amazing! The rest of my family ordered the meat lasagna, classic spaghetti bolognese, and homemade pasta with Italian sausage. The portions were generous and I greedily sampled everyone else’s dish – I couldn’t help myself! All were divine and perfectly cooked.
We were all so stoked on what was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while that we had to go big for dessert. We ordered the tiramisu (raving reviews from other Yelpers about this one), the cannolis, and dark chocolate-covered gelato.Oh man! As someone with a huge sweet tooth, these totally hit the spot. We all had fun taking pieces from each dish – the cannolis had a crisp outside with subtly sweet custard inside, while the gelato reminded me of a truffle with the dark chocolate coating.
So you’d think a place like this was probably pretty expensive. Wrong! Casa Nostra has great prices for the amount of food you get for each dish. The atmosphere felt warm and elegant yet casual. This place would be great for a date with your significant other, or even a more laid back outing with family or friends. They have a great patio area as well that has great views Pacific Palisades.
I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area! I will definitely be coming back to Casa Nostra when I am in town again in the future.
Olivia, Dublin, Ca.
We just love this place. The food and service are always excellent. My wife actually want to move up to the Highlands just to be near this place! We usually go in the evening on weekends with our two babies and we never have to wait to sit inside or outside. I usually order the grilled salmon, but I have also had their lasagna and pumpkin ravioli, and I have no complaints. My wife loves the minestrone soup and their mixed seafood special (I think it is a soup?). If you order dessert, try the banana cream…it’s awesome!
The fact that we never have to wait, and they can get us out equally fast is key when you have two unpredictable babies. These guys make it possible for us to almost relax and enjoy our meals. We think it’s the best Italian option in the Palisades.
Paul, Santa Monica
Looking to kind get away from the LA Marathon gridlock and find somewhere peaceful my girlfriend and I drove up to Casa Nostra after a wonderful time at the Getty Villa.
It was around 3pm and thus between any normal time rush yet the place had a few patrons already. We were greeted by the owner Giovanni and we sat in the corner on the patio overlooking the hills. The view is gorgeous.
I ordered the pesto gnocchi and my GF ordered the pumpkin ravioli. I have to say, I have not had authentic Italian food since visiting Italy and the food here is nothing short of that! Their coffee is the best I have had at any restaurant hands down and the tiramisu is absolutely out of this world!!! In fact I will even go as far as to say that I have never had tiramisu because if this is what real tiramisu tastes like then I have been eating imitations my whole life.
This was our first time at this little gem of a restaurant and I must say the customer service and hospitality was impeccable. We will definitely be coming back here!
Dewey, Allso Viejo
Really, really good food. found this place on yelp, and have a delightful lunch there. We ordered the eggplant something or other as an appetizer and devoured it. For lunch we shared chicken parmesan (arguably the best I’ve ever had. Didn’t have that weird chicken fried steak taste that so many places have). We also shared the proscuitto pizza and it was equally tasty. The owner/manager guy on duty came by to see how everything was. We expressed how happy we were with everything, and after telling him it was our first time, he sent over a tiramisu on the house. Pretty classy touch. I’m not in the Palisades often, but I’d return in a second next time i’m in the area.
Jennifer, Long Beach
Casa Nostra is tucked away in the hills of Pacific Palisades. We stumbled upon this hidden gem a few months back and it has quickly become a staple. While their everyday menu is impressive, I always go for the daily special. This past weekend it was an asparagus and ricotta cheese homemade tortellini in a cream sauce topped with black truffles. There is no other way to describe this meal but PERFECTION. I went with my family and three of us ordered this dish. Upon completion we order one more for the table. It was the perfect balance of filling, pasta, cream, and truffle. No flavor overwhelmed another. The staff was charming and relaxed. There was no pressure, no pretense, just good ol’ italian charm that added to the overall experience of the meal. This is worth the venture down PCH. Enjoy!
Erin, Costa Mesa
The best restaurant in the Palisades! Although it would be nice if it had a full bar, the food is the best you can get. An authentic Italian restaurant with a real family atmosphere. Best way to relax after a hard week….great food, great wine, great service. All of their food is authentic Italian. I would recommend this restaurant to people who don’t even live in the area….it may be a little bit of a drive, but the atmosphere tucked away up in the mountains, the music, the food, the people… couldn’t ask for anything more!!! If you love food and wine, you’d be sad to miss this place. Check it out! Well worth the 3 minute drive up the canyon!
McKenzie, Pacific Palisades
Really great food. Always really nice! Food is really fresh. it’s a total hidden jem. they have a brunch on Sat and Sun, …they have these panini sandwiches which are really really good. After the meal they always treat us with cookies or dessert wine of their choice. Love this place!
Irina, Pacific Palisades