Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ancora Cucina Italiana

After a long drive home from Lake Arrowhead, my husband and I decided to have dinner at Ancora Cucina Italiana in Tarzana.  We had been meaning to go there for months but just hadn't found the time.
bread basket

Dinner was the highlight of my day.  Upon entering, we were greeted by the owner and ushered to a nearby table.  I immediately liked the place.  The dining room wasn't huge, and it could probably feel a little cramped if all the tables were full, but it certainly wasn't any more crowded than the restaurants in Beverly Hills.  Being a week night after normal dinner time, it wasn't crowded when we were there.  It felt cozy.

We loved the atmosphere.  It felt homey, like you're invited into an Italian family's dining room.  Everyone who worked there was friendly.  I loved the decor, the string lights, the comfortable chairs, the dark wood contrasting with the cream and white colors, the little chandeliers, everything really.

1/2 of the Summer Salad
We looked over the menu, and there was also an insert with items that weren't on the regular menu.  We finally decided on our order, and bread was brought out to the table while we waited for our food to be prepared.  Just based on atmosphere, friendliness and the bread, we were convinced this would be our new favorite Italian restaurant.

Ravioli con Zucca
The food didn't disappoint.  We started by sharing the Summer Salad, which was one of the items on the menu insert.  They split the salad onto 2 plates for us.  It was mixed greens topped with goat cheese, pine nuts, roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette.  It was wonderful.  It would be a perfect summer lunch.  Or, if I didn't have my husband to share with me, it would be great as an entree followed by dessert.  I would absolutely get the salad again.

For my entree, I had the Ravioli con Zucca: pumpkin ravioli with walnut cream sauce.  I loved the flavor of the pumpkin and the chopped walnuts in the sauce added a nice crunch.  I also tasted sage in the sauce.  It was creamy and delicious.  I'm not usually a huge fan of pasta, but this was wonderful.  It tasted like dessert.

Farfalle Romano
My husband had an item off the insert menu, the Farfalle Romano: bowtie pasta with pink sauce, chicken, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.  We asked what "pink sauce" was, and the waitress explained that it's marinara mixed with cream.  It's as good as it sounds.  My husband loved the pasta.  Everything tasted fresh.

We decided to save room for dessert (by taking leftovers home), and our waitress listed the desserts available that day.  They have two that are made in house, the tiramisu and an apple art.  They have quite a few other options as well, but we decided to try the tiramisu.  It was super creamy and really just melted in your mouth.  I really tasted the rum that the lady fingers are soaked in and the espresso.  It was the perfect end to the perfect meal.

I look forward to trying more items on their menu during future visits.  Based on the way the bread tasted, I'm sure the pizza is delicious as well.

If this is what it's like to eat in Italy, I really want to do a food tour there sometime soon! The flavor and the friendliness cannot be beat.  As we were leaving, several of the workers, including our waitress, waved goodbye.  I saw them do this when other customers left as well.  There's nothing like making customers feel welcome and then treating them to a delicious meal.

Happy eating!

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