I love burgers. From in Toluca Lake to “Nancy Burgers” from my own grill to the trendy newand that are now playing with the big boys and changing the food landscape in our ‘hood.
But sometimes a person has to get off the umami-track and counter that diner ambience with a quieter mood in a more subtle atmosphere and sip a cocktail or a glass of wine without a bun. And, when that mood fills me with visions of mezzelune pumpkin ravioli or mouth-watering chicken scallopini, I jump into my hybrid and tool over to where rubbed elbows with just last week… well, this is “Studio” City, after all, where movie stars mingle with the rest of us.
This comfortable neighborhood gem is in a little Mediterranean-style building with washed ‘mustard’-colored stucco walls adorned with pots of geraniums. It’s not Tuscany, but it’s not hard to suspend your disbelief as the changes the restaurant has implemented in its patio dining area over the past couple of years have turned it into Tuscany “adjacent.” I can almost see a vineyard in the distance. Well, after a couple of glasses of wine, I can almost see anything.
After entering the restaurant through the courtyard, we walked past the inviting main dining rooms staged with Italian pottery and lovely framed landscapes looking over tables covered in crisp linen (I love crisp linen). There’s also a separate indoor and outdoor bar/cocktail lounge where you and friends can spend the night sipping a perfect martini or share a bottle of wine from an extensive wine list that definitely “speaks” Italian.
But, it was a beautiful night and I wanted to be almost sitting at a restaurant table in Siena’s famous palazzo so we headed outside. The lovely walled-in-garden patio is filled with pretty potted plants, large umbrellas and shade trees brimming with clusters of little white lights bunched together to look like twinkling grapes dripping from the branches.
Along the garden wall each table is surrounded on three sides with hanging fabric, giving them a romantic-cabana vibe. We grabbed a cabana and decided we’d both go for that night’s special “price-fixe” dinner… $26 for three courses (you can also get four courses for $33)! Very reasonable, especially when you consider what we saved on airfare to Italy.
My first course was slices of smoked salmon with wafer thin toast… a kind of gourmet Italian version of lox and bagel. My husband savored (he really did) the white bean and seafood salad. My entrée was a medium-rare flat iron steak with arugula and shaved parmesan which was tender and cooked to perfection. Husband? He had a succulent pan roasted branzino with zucchini that was amazing (yeh, I had a taste). There were two choices for dessert that night: a warm strudel and a cheese plate. He had the strudel, I had the cheese. Delizioso.
Though the price-fixe menu changes weekly, the delizioso-ness doesn’t. So, if you’re in that “sometimes you just really don’t want a burger” mood and you crave some good Italian food AND charming Tuscan ambience, don’t call your travel agent, just head over to Ca del Sole on Cahuenga. They’ll treat you like a movie star.
And you know what? A salad, French fries, burger and a dessert in one of those trendy burger joints is just about the same price per person, give or take a dollar… and you can’t almost see a vineyard… just saying.
4100 Cahuenga Blvd.
Toluca Lake CA 91602