"Still going strong after more than 40 years", this Santa Monica "classic" from Piero Selvaggio is "worth the splurge" thanks to its "delicious" Italian cuisine and "incomparable wine list" that rivals "the best in the city"; with "exceptional" service and a "civilized" atmosphere full of "old-school charm", it "sets the standard" for "special-occasion" dining; P.S. the small-plates menu at the Vin Bar is a "more affordable" option.
Zagat.com - 2015
V BAR @ Valentino, finally I have found what I am looking for in Santa Monica!
I stumbled into V bar yesterday with a girlfriend...it's the offshoot bar of the well known restaurant Valentino. Ever since I moved to Santa Monica over 3 years ago, I continually complain about the choices I have to go out to eat and drink wine. Everything is super high end or super low end without anything in-between. How many times can I head over to the 3rd street promenade or abbot kinney? It usually takes a good 20 minutes just to park. V Bar is located in a mellow neighborhood right near Trader Joe's on Pico and 31st. Now I am well aware that the main restaurant Valentino is one snazzy and expensive place but I was more than pleasantly surprised by the warm service, wines by the glass(Valentino has one of the best wine lists in all of Los Angeles) and the menu available in the side bar. The food is an offshoot of the Valentino menu with much lower prices.(they said you can order off the big menu as well.) I ordered the branzino which was FAB-U Lous and they served parmesan crisps on the house that were not to be believed.
Most of the menu items were priced between 11-16 dollars...seriously! The wines by the glass were perfect and in my price range as well. I kept thinking the whole time I was there...why did I not know about this place?why have I not been here before? why is it under the radar? why are they not advertising this place? I asked and they said the bar had only been open 2 years...but still 2 years is a long time. I am so excited to have found this place...especially since I live 5 minutes away.
Valentino has a way of making a food-and-wine experience something more than the delights of a chef showing off his abilities or a wine cellar yielding up its treasures. It's about creating a moment in time when all seems right with the world.
Valentino hit a vinous grand slam... taking "Best Wine List," "Best Sommelier," "Best Wines by the Glass," "Best Values," and "Best Place to Take a Wine Snob."
Food & Wine
One day when someone writes the history of Italian cuisine in the world, one chapter should be dedicated to Piero Selvaggio.
This is the best restaurant in the country and no one tops Piero Selvaggio as a host.
Pierro Selvaggio has been one of the most influential Italian restaurateurs, and Valentino has arguably been the most influential Italian restaurant in the last fifty years.
Piero Selvaggio's Valentino shares its owner's easygoing friendliness - glamorous without being aloof.
Over the years Piero has build up what many believe to be the most distinguished restaurant wine cellar in the country.
One of the leaders in the movement to bring Italian cooking back to its roots.
Not a film star, but a star nevertheless -- with the best Italian food in America.
One day, when someone writes the history of the success of Italian cuisine in the world, one chapter should be dedicated to the generous southerner [Piero Selvaggio] who has battled to help America understand that Italy is not just about macaroni.
Piero Selvaggio not only has assembled the best of Italy, California and France, he is a genius at matching them with the modern, high-style Italian food.
Piero Selvaggio has assembled a breathtaking cache of the finest wines from all over the world.
It's hard to imagine anyone being more attentive than owner Piero Selvaggio. Don't bother looking at the menu: Just ask what he recommends.
There are great restaurateurs, and then there is Piero Selvaggio, the consummate host with the uncanny ability to know exactly what you want to have for dinner even before you do.
Freshness is key at this award-winning restaurant, where food is flown in regularly from different regions of Italy; fish from the Mediterranean and Adriac Sea; and quail comes from Napa. Valentino specializes in seafood.
If you ask almost any serious food person to name the best restaurant in Los Angeles, he or she will probably steer you to Valentino.
Travel & Leisure Magazine
When your very first restaurant job is at Chasen's, the storied Beverly Hills haunt famous for its chill and celebrity clientele, you're bound for greatness. This is certainly the case with Piero Selvaggio, owner of Valentino in Santa Monica, considered by many the best Italian restaurant in the city. Valentino also has one of the most dazzling wine lists in the country. And Selvaggio is the consummate host. When he welcomes visitors to his restaurant, it is as if he were welcoming them into his home.
dineLA.com, Leslee Komaiko
Piero Selvaggio and Valentino have made a significant contribution to the Los Angeles (and national) restaurant scene, introducing authentic Italian products (radicchio, sun-dried tomatoes, aceto balsamico), wines and regional cuisine to the public. He has nurtured many of our most influential chefs and restauranteurs, who went on to enhance the dining scene. And over the years, he grew with restaurant into an elegant monument to fin dining. Ruth Reichl, when she was the influential restaurant critic of the New York Times, said that Valentino may be be the best Italian restuaarnt in the country. Piero has move forward with the times, now offering a more casual dining area (V Bar) and menu in part of the restaurant, and it remains a favored destination for sophisticated diners.
When I find myself missing Italy, the very best antidote is lunch at Valentino. It's a Friday's-only event, attended by wine buffs, Itaophiles and outright sensualists who settle in for a long, splendid lunch at this outstanding restaurant.
Los Angeles Times Magazine
Valentino is the best Italian restuarant in the country, and no one tops Piero Selvaggio as a host.
Piero Selvaggio treats you as if you were a guest in his home.
Dining at Valentino always is suffused with a sense of occasion, from the ceremonious greeting at the door to the lingering arriverderci. Selvaggio's genius is his warmth and charm, in the way he makes each guest feel they have his entire attention for the time they are there. Valentino has found the cuisine of the heart.
Los Angeles Times Magazine
Valentino has long been one of the area's most important restaurants, and not merely because it pours so much good wine.
With Valentino, Selvaggio upped the ante for Italian restaurants in America. He demanded more, and gave more. Thanks in no small part to Valentino, many of us now know that poricni are a variety of wild mushroom.
Among life's undeniably pleasurable challenges is seeking out that extraordinary dining experience. No easy task in Los Angles, so here's a suggestion: Valentino, lauded as not only LA's top table but also the best Italian restaurant in the nation. The praise is warranted.
There's no time to rest when creating a symphony of food.
NRN, Nation's Restaurant News
Without Piero Selvaggio, Italian food in Los Angeles wouldn't be Italian food. Visionary restauranteur Selvaggio, has an unshakable belief in the healing power of Cucina Italiana.
Before there were celebrity chefs, there were celebrity owners. Piero Selvaggio of Valentino - now celebrating its 40th anniversary - is one. Selvaggio, who came from humble Southern Italian beginnings, opened the restaurant as a modest red-sauce spot in 1972. But after returning to Italy in search of finer, more authentic cuisine, he transformed Valentino into one of the best Italian restaurants in the country, and brought one of the most impressive Italian wine lists to LA. In short, he has elevated dining to an art form.
For Valentino and Selvaggio, staying popular and relevant in the fickle and trendy Los Angeles market for over four decades might be the most impressive feat of all.
The Tasting Panel
Clearly the best winemakers in the world have found a good home for their wines at Valentino.
Singing praising for Valentino. Careful orchestration. That's what separates a really great restaurant from the rest.
New restaurants have their charms, but I never visit Los Angeles without treating myself to a meal at Valentino, a venerable restaurant that serves the best Italian food I have ever eaten in America.
The New York Times
One of the city's most passionate, knowledgeable and indefatigable Champion of Italian Cuisine. He may have known more about Italian food than virtually anyone else in America.
Those who enjoy fine Italian cuisine her in America, oew a debt to Piero Selvaggio's great restaurant, Valentino, in Santa Monica, California. For 40 years, Selvaggio has been bringing the ingredients and culinary techniques of Italiy to the United States, and in 1981 earned one of our inaugural Grand Awards for his wine list, which represents the best of Italy.
Valentino and it's V Bar just gets better and better. It is our favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles - no one does it better in all of Los Angeles. Our only responsibility is to site back and enjoy. I am not only endorsing Valentino and V Bar, I am urging everyone to just go.
A Refined Palate
Renowned as one of the country’s top Italian restaurants, Valentino has a truly awe-inspiring wine list. With nearly 1,200 labels consuming 100 pages, backed by a cellar overflowing with nearly 70,000 bottles, this restaurant is nothing short of heaven for serious oenophiles.
Valentino is a good choice if you’re splurging on just one special dinner, particularly if you’re passionate about wine. For more than 3 decades the ever-so-charming and world-renowned restaurateur, Piero Selvaggio, has greeted guests and helped guide them through the extensive wine list.
Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica has been one of LA’s most beloved Italian eateries for over three decades.
Los Angeles Confidential
At Valentino in Santa Monica, Owner-host Piero Selvaggio can match his kitchen’s refined specialties with apt choices from the far corners of Italy off his Grand Award-Winning wine list.
“At Valentino in Santa Monica, Owner-host Piero Selvaggio can match his kitchen’s refined specialties with apt choices from the far corners of Italy off his Grand Award-Winning wine list.”