Vin Bar – Santa Monica

Vin Bar/Valentino is an unique restaurant with incredible service. I have said this before, but I will say it again Piero Selvaggio ranks as one of the best  restaurateurs in the country. We never look at a menu and just let Piero orchestrate our meal.


Giuseppe and Piero



Amuse – from left to right – Arancini, duck prosciutto  on toast and cured salmon with sweet pea sauce – excellent beginning



Close-up of the salmon


wine 1

White wine – we never BYO at Vin Bar and again just let Piero choose the wine



Seared Scallop with abalone mushrooms – these scallops just came in and tasted as fresh as can be.



Crudo of tuna with anchovy brine, basil oil and slices of orange – absolutely perfect and better than most great sushi bar tuna in the city.


octopus soup

Baby Octopus soup with fresh tomatoes, green peas, basil oil, crouton – a homey, comforting dish


close-up of octopus

Close-up of the soup – gorgeous octopus


wine at Vin Bar - red

Red Wine



Vegetable and Cheese Tortino – the vegetables were spinach, zucchini, spring onions, abalone mushrooms. The cheese was Caciocavallo.

“One of the pear-shaped cheeses, Caciocavallo is tied at the neck with a cord and hung up to dry and ripen. Its name, which literally means ” horse-cheese ,” is said to derive from the way the cheese was originally slung in pairs over the back of a horse during transportation. The cheese’s composition, meanwhile, actually consists of whole or partly-skimmed cow (not horse) milk, with the possible (though more unlikely) addition of milk from sheep or goats.”

The Tortino sat on Pachino tomato puree.

“If you are looking for some of the sweetest, firmest, shiniest tomatoes with a long shelf like to boot, you need small, red juicy variety from Pachino, Sicily. Pachino tomatoes are rightfully famous, especially in Italy and Europe, and so treasured that a few years ago in their home country they were granted IGP status—a designation similar to the D.O.C. designation for wines, in this case certifying that at least part of the production of a product is in a particular area.”


Hand-made Strozzapreti (priest chokers) with mozzarella and oxtail ragu. In an earlier post I explained  that it is called “priest chokers”  because centuries ago, it was common practice to let priests eat for free in restaurants. Wishing to get rid of the “freeloaders”, chefs rolled the pasta in such a way with the hope that the pasta would get lodged in the priest’s throat and choke. 

close-up pasta

Close-up – I liked this so much that Piero added more pasta and ragu for me to take home so I could have it for dinner the next night!



Cheese Plate of Sottocenere, Gorgonzola Dolce, Raschera, Talleggia with apricots, fig, hazelnuts, walnuts and raisins.

An excellent meal – Vin Bar/Valentino is a treasure of a restaurant.


1 Response to “Vin Bar – Santa Monica”

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