Bringing Italy to Pacific Palisades

Chef Samuele Minin and Enrico Bortoluzzi
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Newly Opened Tratto

By JAMES BRASHER | Contributing Writer

Trattoria in English roughly translates from Italian to mean a family-owned, authentic and affordable Italian restaurant. In the place where Tivoli once served the Palisades community, the new—and seemingly true authentic—Italian restaurant Tratto was established to be just that, according to General Manager Enrico Bortoluzzi.

It doesn’t take long to see that Tratto is just as its name suggests. Instantly, one feels transported to a small yet popular restaurant in a village in Italy.

I felt like I was on vacation in a rustic Italian village, with a warm vibe of light music, welcoming waiters and local families enjoying each other’s company and the aroma of the open kitchen.

“We are a casual Italian Trattoria that wants to establish itself as the restaurant where local business people and families gather to have a great meal and a fantastic glass of wine,” Bortoluzzi told the Palisadian-Post.

A true Italian, Bortoluzzi hails from a small village outside Venice. He grew up working for his parents who owned and operated a small restaurant, which is still run by his brother. Even though he came to the States to be a pilot, fate and a passion for good food and service brought him full circle and back to his roots.

As I enter and sit down to dine, I quickly notice that the interior of Tratto has been redone with rustic, wood-lined walls, bar seating, a vaulted ceiling and wine bottles stacked and ready for consumption. I’m drawn to the menu and old-fashioned plates, which complete the small town, family vibe.

I also notice the new, open kitchen, specifically designed for chef Samuele Minin so that patrons feel closer to home. Minin grew up working for his family in their local Trattoria in Palmanova, Italy, where he developed his passion to make authentic Italian cuisine.

“The simplicity of the plate, the quality of the food, plus all the produce, vegetables, meats and wine, was local,” Minin explained.

A quick bite of his insalata or oven-baked pizzas and one can tell that Minin has a flare for good food. He went to culinary school in Arte Terme and began working his way up from line cook to chef, making authentic Italian cuisine in places like Arizona, Texas, Beverly Hills and now in Pacific Palisades.

Keeping to the name, Tratto is truly a family run, Italian restaurant that can accommodate only 50 to 60 people. It’s intimate, rustic yet sophisticated, and service is excellent.

Tratto offers a variety of authentic Italian menu items, including pastas, salads, chicken, salmon, pork chops, steak, with the veal topping out the price list at around $38.

Currently, only beer and wine are offered, with a mostly Italian list prepared by Bortoluzzi’s sommelier wife, which ranges in price from $12 to $18 per glass, with full bottles of champagne and the higher-end Barolo available.

Finally, as I finish my appetizer of calamari and entree of gnocchi, I ask Bortoluzzi how he likes the location.

He sat down next to me and said, “We are thrilled about the location, it’s probably the best spot that we could ever hope for. The Palisades is a fantastic community with real and genuine people that showed us lots of support since day one.”

Bortoluzzi escorted me to the door and recited a motto that he learned back in his early of days working at his parents trattoria back in Italy: “Let them remember that they are not your enemy. They are your colleagues. When you believe in what you do, the more people will walk in.”

Tratto is located in The Village at 15300 Sunset Blvd. It is open Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. with a special Happy Hour (Aperitivo) from 3 to 5 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.