Photos by Clara Harter

Forma restaurant, home of the heavenly “Dalla Forma” cooking technique and where fresh pasta is swirled in a giant wheel of cheese to create a divinely creamy sauce, has opened a second location in Venice.

Devotees of the original Santa Monica establishment now have the opportunity to sample any (or all) of Forma’s 70 cheeses alongside a creative cocktail menu, which are exclusive to the new location on the corner of Main St. and Navy St.

“Spending good time with friends with a nice bite of cheese and great wine— that is the way I see happiness,” said Mario Sabatini, co-owner and general manager. “And, if you are not happy, you can just eat more!”

Sabatini, alongside Co-Owner and Executive Chef Piero Tuppoto, set out to open a restaurant founded on the principles of good wine, good cheese, good company. Forma Santa Monica did just that, creating a space where friends can casually gather to sip a drink and enjoy a taste of cheese or sink into a full restaurant experience and feast through a series of rich dishes.

The new location brings that same energy to Venice, featuring fan favorites like the tortellini with mushrooms, light cream and truffle oil, tossed in a wheel of bella lodi cheese, and the chitarra cacio e pepe tossed in a wheel of Pecorino Romano. Popular mains include the pappardelle wild boar ragout and the Mediterranean sea bass branzino with roasted julienne of vegetables.

The second location will also launch a series of unique dishes in the coming months, but those impatient for change can try the new cocktail menu designed by local mixologist Vincenzo Marianella. Highlights include the 110 Navy with bourbon, cynar, Ramazotti Aperitivo, and Jerry Thomas bitters and the Campanula Sour with grapefruit vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime, red bell pepper, and mint.

This month’s opening marks the end of a two year quest for a second location that met Sabatini and Tuppoto’s exacting standards.

“It’s not just about the right rent and the right parking lot; it’s also about the right layout because we want an alcohol bar and we want a cheese bar and the cheese bar has to be right in front of the kitchen, because the pasta comes straight from the kitchen to the cheese wheels,” Sabatini said, adding, “As soon as we entered this place we fell in love.”

Forma’s cheese bar features four massive wheels of cheese — Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, and Bella Lodi — used to craft the iconic dalla forma pasta dishes. The full cheese menu features over 70 cheeses including bloomy rind, washed-rind, blue veined, truffled, soft and hard varieties.

“Dalla forma is popular in certain regions in Italy. Rome does it for cacio e pepe and carbona; if you go to north Italy they use pecorino romano, and if you go to Milan they do it for risotto and tortellini,” said Sabatini. “What we did was create a concept around pasta in the cheese wheel and went for the cheese bar. There is honestly nothing like this in this country; the way we do it is very unique.”

Forma Venice is open for dinner from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, and the establishment plans to expand its hours to accommodate lunch in the near future. The restaurant will only be open for patio dining until the Los Angeles Department of Public Health deems it safe to open the interior dining room.