A rustic restaurant with European flair will open Monday in the space that housed Wilshire for 14 years.
New owner Michael Greco has transformed the building and its spacious patio into an inviting, 300-seat villa where diners can enjoy a menu from chef Brendan Collins that blends Italian and Californian influences. M. Winter Design replaced Wilshire’s wooden patio with Tuscan gravel, exposed its antique brick walls and added lush greenery, oil paintings and fireplaces throughout the many rooms of the restaurant to make guests feel as though they are dining in a home on the Amalfi coast.
The name of the restaurant, Fia, is derived from Fiacre, the patron saint of gardens, Greco said.
“I was in Positano three weeks ago, and sitting in Fia yesterday, I may as well have been in Positano again,” he said.
Collins said Fia’s share plates menu is carefully crafted but approachable. He took inspiration from both Italian and Californian cuisine in creating a menu that highlights everything from Spanish octopus to stuffed quail.
“We define it as coast to coast,” Greco said.
One signature dish, the beef shank, is cured for five days and confited in aged beef tallow for two days before being glazed in the oven with anchovy colatura. Collins also highlighted the lobster cappelini, which is made with Maine lobster, San Marzano tomatoes and squid ink pasta.
“That’s the kind of food we’re doing — really well thought out, great technique,” he said.
The menu is split into nibbles, raw seafood, salad, pasta, vegetables and meats. Pasta ranges from $22 to $26, while entrees run between $24 and $145.
Vincenzo Marianella, formerly of now-shuttered downtown cocktail bar Copa D’Oro, has created a beverage program that features Italian liqueurs like Aperol and Amaro. Tara John, formerly of Wally’s, oversees the wine.
“He’s worked very closely with chef Brendan to tie in some of the kitchen ingredients and create a program that we hope stands out,” Greco said.
Greco said Fia will eventually host live music, art exhibitions, wine tastings, cooking classes and guest chef dinners. It also has a small bocce court, he added.
“I think it’s going to take us back in time to a more relaxed era where you could sit down and dine and drink a couple of bottles of wine and relax in the garden,” he said. “We want people to feel like this is their home away from home.”
Fia opens Monday at 5 p.m. for dinner and plans to add weekend brunch, a sunset hour and a late-night menu. The restaurant will close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Their web site is so arty as to be almost unreadable.
An address would be helpful
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