I had the opportunity to eat the most delicious Italian food at the Osteria Bigoli Restaurant located at 714 Montana Ave., in Santa Monica by the invitation from Christine Peake, of the Peakpr Group. When one enters this eatery, an intimate setting welcomes you. There are about 10 tables for dining. The walls are painted with warm Mediterranean colors of browns and golds and some of Chef Marchesen’s art work are hung there. At the back end bar sits a pasta machine, and salamis are draped above. A cut out window opens up to the kitchen and you can watch the chef at work.
Chef Claudio Marchesen told me, “The way you eat here, is like you’re eating in my own home.” So true.
We were treated to a multitude of scrumptious dishes that caressed the taste buds with robust flavor. Each plate contained home-made pasta that showcased the Venetian style of cooking. With every bite I found myself relishing the exquisite essence of each entrée.
Chef Claudio loves to come over and talk with his customers. He gave us a run down on the menu he was serving us that day.
“The dishes you had today were, first a Genovese pasta that is like a silk handkerchief that you dry your tears with… which is served in a almond pesto sauce that is mild and with very little garlic… It’s very popular in the west part of Italy. I also am serving a tiny ravioli that I made myself the other morning and this has roast meats inside of it. Yummy. There is a sausage ragu with wild boar mixed into the Bigoli pasta, which are thick tubes.”
The Osteria Bigoli has been opened for six months on Montana Ave.; however, Chef Claudio has been working in the the restaurant business for over 40 years. He has worked as the Executive Chef for Prego and Il Fornaio Restaurants. Chef Claudio commented that his cooking talent resulted from growing up in Grado, which is a town and commune in the north-eastern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
“I grew up on an island, but because of my mother’s family I spent the summers in the fields on the farm. The island was surrounded by a lagoon that had the best tasting fish. However, I learned from uncles and aunts the art of making salami and all sorts of other delicious items.”
The name of Chef Claudio Marchesen’s restaurant came from the Venetian pasta he loves to serve. “The name of my restaurant is Osteria Bigoli. Bigoli is the Venetian pasta that is made with a thick tube, like a tork. This pasta was invented in the 1600’s… I have the pasta machine, and I have a special recipe with flour and salt…can’t let the secret out.”
“My specialties are Venetian pasta which are thick spaghetti that holds the sauce. Sometimes, (I’m not biased about Italian food) … from the North to the South, Italian food is very good…however, I wanted to enhance the Venetian kind of food like liver with onions…Venice-style and Baccala Monte Carlo…”
At the table that evening were Margaret Rowe, Jewelry Couture Designer to the Stars, Massi Furlan, Italian film and television actor and his girlfriend, Belisorio Osorio, and Christine Peak, of the Peakpr Group. We all had a classy and elegant dining experience with Chef Claudio. He even sang some opera.
Chef Claudio Marchesen absolutely embodies the quintessential charm and mastery of cooking that contributes to a successful restaurant.
“Everything is hard work,” he said smiling. But here’s my advice to any restaurant goer out there…
“Do Not Ever Trust a Skinny Chef. “
He concluded by saying, “We really are original and the way you eat here, is like if you come to my house.”
For making reservations for Osteria Bigoli: https://bigoliosteria.com/
Photo Credit: Sheryl Aronson / The Hollywood 360 (unless otherwise indicated)