When I walked into Osteria Bigoli on a windy Tuesday LA night, he was the first thing I saw. Although Chef Claudio Marchesen was busy talking to another table and I hadn’t officially met him yet, I could tell he must be the chef – there was a sense of passion in his mannerisms and voice that was undeniable.

Osteria’s manager, Mark, gave me a cozy table by the window, and I waited for my guest (Leonardo Ledesma of Art Seen) to arrive. As I sat and sipped on my Chianti, I glanced around the small restaurant. Although the space is dainty in size, it’s huge in personality. Paintings of Chef Claudio’s father and his hometown in Italy hang on the walls, all painted by the chef himself. You can tell that everything he puts his hands on, he does with the same passion. It’s beautiful to behold.

I ordered the burrata to start with while I waited for Leo (he was forgiven for being a little bit late considering he was the birthday boy 😉 ). When the dish arrived, it looked too pretty to eat!

Burrata is one of my all-time favorite cheeses, and considering they make it fresh, in house, it made it even better! The creamy, soft mozzarella is served with pesto, blister grape tomatoes, garlic crostini and prosciutto.

The buratta is a great dish for sharing also, and when my birthday boy arrived, it was perfect timing, we dug right in. By the time we were halfway through our appetizer, Chef Claudio came over to greet us.

One of my favorite dishes to experience when dining at Italian restaurants is Grilled Octopus, so I thought we’d give that a try. The bruschetta style tomatoes were just mouthwatering… and the octopus, cooked to perfection.

The GRILLED OCTOPUS is served with fingerling potatoes, arugula, tomatoes coulis and mint, and it is absolutely delightful.

We spoke with Chef about an array of topics including his mother’s house in Italy, veganism (which Chef is not a fan of), America being a “paradox”, and the wild boar of Tuscany… which leads me to our next dish.

The name of the restaurant, “Bigoli”, actually came from the Venetian pasta. The BIGOLI ALL’AGLIONE is served with tomato and roasted garlic sauce and pecorino cheese, and could be considered the “house pasta” considering the name.

Chef treats all his pastas equally, though, and suggested we try the special with the wild boar instead.

The spaghetti was hand-crafted right there in the kitchen, and each bite was a dream. Although I’m not a big meat eater, the dish wasn’t overwhelming when it came to the boar, and all the flavors synced together in delicious harmony. There wasn’t too much or too little of anything, and the noodles were simply divine!

Chef told us about how he’d created the “perfect al dente” the other day, accompanied with “the perfect sauce”, and how happy it made him. The simple fact that he’d managed to create a sauce that wasn’t too runny and a pasta that was just right lit up his eyes. I showed him each photo I was taking of the food, and he approved! By the time our branzino arrived, Chef was off to greet another guest.

The fish was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, to be quite frank, EVER. I’ve traveled to Italy and all over the world, and when it came to this dish, everything from the sauce to the temperature to the side dish danced on my tastebuds in the most magical of ways.

The BRANZINO is served with lemon sauce, tomatoes and fresh vegetables. Definitely ask for it during your visit!

If you haven’t been to Osteria Bigoli yet, I highly recommend you GO! Here’s the info below, give them a call and when you make a reservation, please tell them Jackie from TGIFguide sent you! 

714 Montana Ave
Santa Monica CA 90403

Phone: 310.395.6619
Email: mwarreola@yahoo.com

Tue – Sat, 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Sun, 5 pm – 9:30 pm
Closed Mondays

Follow them on Instagram and like them on Facebook.

Chef Claudio’s presence lights up a room, and the sound of his tales of his mother in Italy accompanied by his merry singing fills it with joy, not to mention, he makes amazing food!

Thank you so much for having us!

Written by Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers

Jacqueline Chambers is the founder of TGIFguide. She uses her innate skills as a natural “connector” to serve businesses, brands and individuals in the LA area and beyond.