Palisadian Chef Gianbattista Vinzoni Brings Italian Cuisine with a California Twist to the Space Formerly Occupied by Pinocchio in Cucina
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Less than two months after Giuseppe “Pino” Barravecchia shuttered Pinocchio in Cucina, Palisadians Gianbattista “Gianba” and Marlo Vinzoni are opening CinqueTerre WEST Osteria in its place on Monument Street.
“Pino said he was tired and I said, ‘If you’re tired, let’s talk,’” Gianba said of the takeover. “I’ve been cooking privately for a lot of families around here and everybody was like, ‘Why don’t you [open] something?’ I need to wait for the right space, the right moment, the right everything to be aligned in order to [open] a new place. So that’s what it is.”
A chef with more than 25 years of experience, Gianba shared that he started as a dishwasher and did some front of the house work, but that cooking was what he really wanted to do.
“I started cooking and I found myself in my element,” Gianba explained. “Before cooking, I was a Navy SEAL for five years in Italy and I found the kitchen to be very similar in feeling the pressure, feeling the adrenaline, feeling everything that I felt when I was in the Navy SEALs.”
Gianba brings with him experience at several LA hot spots, including Soho House and Beverly Hilton Hotel. His latest job, which he finished about two weeks before speaking with the Palisadian-Post, was executive chef at Fig and Olive.
CinqueTerre will offer Italian cuisine with a California twist.
“Meaning I’m not all about meatballs and lasagna and Parmesan, like old school, which will be a part of it,” Gianba said. “It’s a new concept for the Palisades. We’re going to have a lot of seafood … pizza, pasta, focaccia—all of the good stuff.”
The restaurant, when it opens near the end of April, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Gianba shared that even though he has had a career in big name restaurants, he will be not be bringing with him the big prices.
“I think that is the end of this industry, the fact that a lot of people over charge for food,” Gianba said. “I want to be fair, I want to be good, I want to have a lot of families who come here often.”
And, Gianba promised, the menu will feature a “big surprise for breakfast,” which he couldn’t share yet, but explained that he was “bringing back some goodies that have been missing for a couple of years in the Palisades.”
Gianba, who has lived in the Palisades with his wife and kids for 15 years, shared that he is “very excited to open my own restaurant at home.”
“I’ve been joking around with a couple of people that it’ll be like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows your name,” Gianba’s wife Marlo shared, “because we live here and my kids are in sports, soccer, Girl Scouts—they grew up here, so we’re home.”
“I love the quiet in the Palisades, which I plan to maintain,” Gianba added. “I love that it’s a very safe neighborhood, I love to see kids walk, which is a luxury in Los Angeles in general.
“I love the fact that there are a lot of families … I’m from Italy—family, for us, is everything.”