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Dave doesn't eat here!

Five HB Italian restaurants not affiliated with the city's execrable ex-mayor

Illustration by Bob Aul I don't know about you, but I prefer to avoid restaurants run by convicted felons, which means I won't ever patronize Bella Luna. That about-to-open Huntington Beach Italian eatery counts among its investors disgraced Dave Garofalo. You may remember Garofalo from an 18-month Weekly investigation that led to the former mayor's 2002 conviction on a felony conflict-of-interest charge and several misdemeanors.

•LUCCI'S DELI AND MARKET, 8911 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 968-4466. Garofalo once appeared on Huntington Beach's cable-TV channel slicing bread at Lucci's in a lame attempt at portraying himself as a true paisan. We don't hold that sordid footage against the fine folks at Lucci's, which more than make up for it with a capicolla sub ($5.89) that'll have you singing like Shirley Grindle.

•MARTINI BLUES, 5874 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 840-2129. A supper club with entertainers such emulating Italian crooners as Dino and Sinatra, the dive's Martini Blues Favorite ($14.95)—a rotelli pasta bathed in a spicy chipotle alfredo sauce featuring sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and a choice of chicken or shrimp—is as soft as Garofalo's ethics.

•PAOLO'S RISTORANTE, 7561 Center Ave., Ste. 37, Huntington Beach, (714) 373-5399. Owner Paolo Pestarino is everything Garofalo isn't: a class act, a gentleman, an experienced chef and possessor of a clean criminal record. His menu is filled with beauties, but it's the linguine pescatora ($17.95) brimming with mussels, shrimp, clams, salmon and calamari that'll wallop you like Garofalo once was by a stranger at a Huntington Beach Mexican restaurant.

•LA FONTANA, 18344 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 841-0059.The gorgonzola potato pasta's ($11.95) heavy essence might remind of Garofalo's paunch, but its clean, holy taste will never be mistaken for him.

•VITTORIO'S RESTAURANT, 5921 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 846-8776.Sure, their scaloppini bocconi ($16.25) features soft veal that probably never saw the light of day. But is eating baby cow as immoral as Garofalo's breach of the civic trust? Sorry, PETA, but our answer is no.

 
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