PICO BLVD — Santa Monica’s landmark Italian restaurant Valentino, known for its extensive wine list featuring over 100,000 bottles and its dedication to traditional fine dining, is up for sale by owner Piero Selvaggio and it can be yours for only $4.9 million.
The Michelin star-rated restaurant comes with 8,000 square feet of dining space on a 12,500-square-foot lot. All of the furniture and appliances, plus the full liquor license, are up for grabs, but not the treasured wine cellar or its contents, Selvaggio told the Daily Press.
“I’ve heard so many times over the years from realtors that Santa Monica is just exploding and I have a large piece of real estate and I want to see if it’s worth 20 cents or millions,” the lighthearted Selvaggio said.
“We are not moving anywhere anytime soon and doubt very much that it will sell tomorrow,” Selvaggio said. “All of this is under consideration. We’ll have to see if there is any interest first.”
The renowned restaurant is widely regarded as one of the best Italian eateries in the U.S., if not the world, and has received critical acclaim for its food, wine and service by industry elite such as Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, and the James Beard Foundation, among others.
Packing in patrons has been a challenge because of the size of the restaurant, so Selvaggio would like to see what life is like in a smaller, more intimate setting, he said. He wants to continue with the fine dining tradition and still offer the best in Italian cuisine, which includes antipasti and pasta that is not overpowered by sauces. He and his chefs use farm-to-table ingredients and offer numerous vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
Selvaggio and a partner opened Valentino just over 40 years ago “on a $4,500 investment,” according to the L.A. Times.
“This city has been very good to me and the location as well, even if it’s not a prime spot,” Selvaggio said.
The restaurant is located on a stretch of Pico Boulevard near Interstate 10 that has recently attracted new eateries like Upper West and Next Door, a less formal offshoot of Chef Josie Le Balch’s namesake Josie, another fine dining establishment. Lares, a family-run Mexican restaurant with a long list of authentic dishes, is also located nearby.
“We’ve always been a destination restaurant, more famous internationally than locally,” Selvaggio said. “It’s a special occasion restaurant. … We’ll see where we go.”
Selvaggio also owns a Valentino restaurant located in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel & Casino, but that location will be shuttering in July.