North Italia Brings Fresh Italian Fare to Canoga Park

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin

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North Italia Brings Fresh Italian Fare to Canoga Park
North Italia, the Italian eatery known for its scratch-made dishes, seasonal menu items and craft cocktails, opened its newest location in Canoga Park at the Westfield Topanga Mall on Dec. 13. Prior to its official opening, Flavia and I accepted an invitation to a VIP event where we were treated to an assortment of dishes including an appetizer, two entrĂ©es and a dessert. Marking the concept’s seventh location in California, Canoga Park joins locations in El Segundo, Irvine, Torrance, Santa Monica, and San Diego to further establish North Italia as a destination for handcrafted, modern Italian fare.
PHOTOS BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN
Per their announcements, the restaurant focuses on Italian “from scratch,” featuring handmade pastas and pizzas with seasonal ingredients and signature dishes, and prepared with ingredients from the garden, farm and sea. Yelp! reviews also boast that their hand-crafted seasonal cocktails are quite potent, which is a much-welcomed component of any true party restaurant!

North Italia also boasts a formidable wine list.

Our Brunch
For our appetizer, we chose the Tuna Crudo, served without bread until we asked for it. The fresh fish was tasty—each piece was adorned with avocado and crushed olives.
For my entrée, I chose the Crushed Meatball Ragu ($24) with beef meatballs, porchetta, blistered onion, wild oregano, bucatini and pecorino.

The dish lacked adequate sauce and the meatballs were tough, dry and very salty. I took three bites and took the rest to go where it sadly ended up in the trash.

Flavia chose the Braised Short Rib Lumache ($26) with parmesan fonduta, fresh horseradish, wilted arugula, herb breadcrumb. (Lumache pasta is named for its “snail” shape. These are ridged, bent tubes with a seashell-like appearance and one pinched end.)
The dish was very tasty and the short ribs were quite tender.

As a treat, North Italia gifted us with their White Truffle Garlic Bread with house-made ricotta, mozzarella, grana padano and herbs, which was yummy!

For our dessert, we shared the Seasonal Butter Cake ($12), a very rich slice infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, served Ă  la mode and set in a thick eggnog sauce.


The North Italia Concept
Tucked between Neiman-Marcus and The Cheesecake Factory on the Topanga Canyon side of the mall, North Italia occupies more than 10,275 sq. ft. on the ground floor of the mall, serving as the go-to spot for weekend brunches, everyday lunches, after-work happy hours and dinner with friends and family.

Indoor dining seats nearly 200 guests with 125 seats in the dining room and 70 seats at the bar.

Overall, the atmosphere of North Italia is casual, cheerful, light and breezy with an open kitchen concept inside the huge space (the former home of Forever 21). The music inside, however, was too loud to the point that you couldn’t carry on a conversation with your tablemates.
For a quieter, more elegant atmosphere, may we suggest Il Fornaio Italian Cuisine at the Westfield Topanga Village just south of Victory.

Head North for the New Year!
$75 per person, Dec 31, 2023 only. North Italia is accepting reservations for their three-course, New Year’s Eve prix-fixe dinner.

Ring in 2024 with cheers-worthy cocktails, your favorite house specialties, and brand-new special features! Please note: They are NOT serving their Ă  la carte menu that evening. Menu availability, capacity and hours may vary.
Reserve at: opentable.com/r/north-italia-topanga-los-angeles.

$100 For Them, $20 For You:
North Italia is offering a limited-time promotion on gift cards this holiday season. Now through Dec. 31, 2023, gift card purchasers will receive one $20 bonus card for every $100 worth of gift cards purchased in a single transaction. Gift cards can be purchased at North Italia Canoga Park or online at northitalia.com.

North Italia Canoga Park, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 52, Canoga Park, CA 91303.
(818) 710-7246; or northitalia.com.
Annemarie Donkin

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