Recently, I had the divine pleasure of dining at L’Opera Ristorante located in the Historic Pine Avenue District in the heart of downtown Long Beach. I enjoyed a remarkable eight course progressive dinner beginning with an antipasti trio and ending with a handcrafted dark chocolate cake. All along the way, I was treated to a variety of delectable wines paired with the individual courses. The staff was exceptional. My waiter was more than just an excellent server; he was a gourmet guide leading me through an amazing culinary adventure.
L’Opera Ristorante combines yesterday’s charm and today’s sophistication, in the stately edifice that formerly housed the Bank of Italy. The expansive dining room and bar area boast an interior of emerald-colored faux marble columns, vaulted ceilings, glass partitions, jewel-toned upholstered booths and chairs, oak floors and an exhibition kitchen. The floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows allow guests to watch the hustle and bustle of the city. The restaurant’s interior is matched only by it’s extraordinary menu of classic and northern Italian cuisine.
Executive Chef Walter Cotta has created an unparalleled menu that has earned the restaurant countless awards and critical acclaim. Though never formally trained, the El Salvadoran native worked at numerous Southern California restaurants including Barsac and La Loggia in Studio City and Sostanza in Santa Monica before finally landing at L’Opera in 1991. There, he accepted a sous chef position and studied under the tutelage of original chef Stefano Colaiacomo. In 2001, when Colaiacomo announced his departure from L’Opera, Cotta stepped in and deftly managed to uphold the high standards set by his predecessor.
Executive Chef Walter Cotta creates amazing, unforgettable cuisine at two of Long Beach’s most beloved and critically acclaimed dining establishments, L’Opera Ristorante and Alegria Cocina Latina. Walter Cotta has his hands full ensuring that guests’ expectations are exceeded with every meal. L’Opera uses only fresh fish from local markets, prime grade beef, New Zealand lamb and free-range chicken and all pastas and breads are made daily on the premises. Pastry chef Rosa Vargas makes an unparalleled selection of beautifully crafted desserts.
L’Opera’s awards include the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, Diner’s Choice winner from Open Table, Selected Restaurant on Where The Locals Eat, the “Golden Scepter” for its superb wine list, and high scores as one of the top Italian Restaurants in the USA by the Zagat Guide. Owners Terry Antonelli and Enzo DeMuro believe in a warm and elegant approach to fine dining where marble columns never intimidate and smiles always charm. L’Opera deftly balances Old World tradition with today’s sophistication. They favor a style of service both attentive and comfortable, that to quote Zagat, can be described as “bend over backwards.”
In addition to L’Opera’s elegant decor, the restaurant walls are adorned with splashy artwork, including paintings by famed artist Aldo Luongo. Luongo a native of Argentina continues to be at the top of the contemporary art world. His artwork captures more than just the viewer’s gaze, it echoes the experiences of life lived to the fullest. It is fitting for Luongos work to be featured in L’Opera where the same passion is used to create an exceptional dining experience.
L’opera also has an impressive and extensive wine list. There is also a private dining room downstairs for dinner parties and special events.
L’Opera Ristorante, where metropolitan meets majestic. To make reservations call (562)-491-0066 or visit the website at www.lopera.com/