Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, the Italian house’s culinary endeavor, opens on Rodeo Drive on Feb. 17.
It’s a collaboration with three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura, a childhood friend of Gucci chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri. The two, who grew up together in Modena, opened the Michelin-star restaurant in 2018 in Florence, where the luxury brand was founded in 1921.
The opening is located on the rooftop of the Beverly Hills flagship — which recently expanded to more than 12,000 square feet with the addition of a men’s store and beauty area — marking the first time Bottura and Gucci are bringing their cuisine to the U.S. Seating 50 guests, the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from noon to 2:30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m., the last reservation time. Expect main dishes priced at $26 to $55 and dessert between $14 and $20.
“The pâté, I’m really proud of,” shared Bottura on Monday afternoon, introducing a tasting menu in the outdoor section of the restaurant. The space, high enough for a view of the sky and palm trees lining the street, features Italian marble mosaic floors and an antique wooden pulpit as a bar.
Bottura calls the pâté “Noah’s Ark,” he continued. “Why? Because it’s evolving all the time. It depends on what we have in the kitchen. You have chicken, you have veal, beef, fish. We create the pâté with everything we have. It’s the essence of my philosophy, to not waste anything.”
Cooking is an “act of love,” he added. All produce is organic, sourced from local farmer’s markets. “Wasting food for me is one of the worst things that you can do in 2020, because contemporary cuisine is about ethic — and aesthetic.”
His dishes are undoubtedly beautiful. The pâté, a delight made with balsamic vinegar from the chef’s hometown, was placed on the table alongside ricotta, which was particularly delicious, and butter with sourdough bread.
First to arrive was a seafood salad — light, fresh, accentuating the natural flavor and texture of the shellfish — followed by the cauliflower alla bagna cauda.
“We want to treat the vegetables with respect and make them feel part of the menu as it would be meat or fish,” explained Bottura. “We created this cauliflower couscous with foam, with a little bit of spices. The heart of the cauliflower is cooked first in the oven, then burnt on the outside…”
While Bottura had promised spaghetti next, plans had changed last-minute. “He was feeling the risotto,” we were told.
It was “risotto as pizza,” in fact. Colorful swirls of red, green and vivid white lay atop the Italian rice dish, made with peppers, burrata, tomato and lines of burnt capers. The result is an inventive, flavorful plate that somehow does evoke the taste of pizza.
“More sauce?” servers asked during the following course, a creamy tortellini dish with 36-month aged parmigiano-reggiano that is sure to leave pasta lovers satisfied.
Last on the menu was “Charley Marley goes to Hollywood,” a chocolate dessert named after Bottura’s son, but first the chef introduced a bright orange treat made with citrus and sorbet, inspired by a sunset visit to Venice Beach. “To me, it’s the essence of Los Angeles,” he shared.
The pastry chef is Tamara Rigo, while chef Mattia Agazzi oversees the establishment (Karime Lopez, chef de cuisine of Gucci Osteria Florence, was in town in support of the opening). Days earlier, on the eve of the Oscars, the team hosted a VIP dinner that brought out some Hollywood names including Salma Hayek Pinault, married to Kering founder and owner François Pinault, as well as Saoirse Ronan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Dakota Johnson.
Inside, the décor features red marble dining tables and wicker chairs with antique mirrors covering the Gucci wallpaper. Setting the L.A. location apart is the herringbone wood flooring and red, velvet banquettes.
“What do you think?” a diner asked another.
“I was just contemplating who was going to come here. People lining up for Gucci?”