Since moving to the Main Street neighborhood of Santa Monica back in January, Stella Barra has become my home away from home. I'm probably there for dinner at least once a week. I also tend to frequent M Street Kitchen for their wonderful brunches, M Street is connected to Stella Barra by a narrow passage-way but I'll save that write up for a later post. Why venture all the way to Mozza in Hollywood for a delicious pizza when Stella Barra is right down the street and to me, serves up equally glorious pies. Not only is the food impeccable but the ambiance makes it the perfect meeting spot to gather with friends. I love how the windows open up to the sidewalk allowing the fresh air to permeate the restaurant. There is always a lively bar crowd and some nice wines by the glass to boot, not to mention great white sangria (the same recipe I posted years ago).
There are some great apps including the burrata with sea salt and grilled grapes. There is also a wonderful baked goat cheese dish as well as a beet and ricotta plate that will excite any cheese freak like yours truly. Typically, I will bypass the apps and go straight for the Italian chopped salad. Theirs is great because it's chopped as finely as possible and has a really mild dressing and some great Italian meats. One salad is plenty for two to share.
As far as pizzas go, my go-to is the prosciutto and farm egg pie. It is a well known fact that I'm an egg fanatic. Put a fried egg on anything and I'll eat it! I also love a white pizza; I don't need the typical red sauce smeared all over my pie -- this way the crust, prosciutto, cheese and egg all really sing. I do like simple food and this is as simple as it gets but because the ingredients are all so fresh, the end result is pure deliciousness. The shaved mushroom and truffle pizza is also worth trying, it's also a white pizza and is a bit lighter than the prosciutto pie. They also have a really nice glutton free dough that my Mother is a big fan of. Personally, I am a huge fan of glutton! Both glutton filled and glutton free crusts are cooked in the wood burning oven and done just to to my liking, thin enough and slightly browned at the crusts.
Stella Barra doesn't take reservations so if the restaurant is packed and you aren't willing to wait, it's possible to order at the M Street cafe counter and grab a table outside or in the cafe seating area. Enjoy!