07 Apr Authentic Homecooked Flavors at Radici in Hermosa Beach
One of my final restaurant meals pre-COVID-19 was in the casual beach town of Hermosa Beach. The last thing I had expected to find was an authentic Italian restaurant, but Radici, an upscale family-owned Italian restaurant, reminded me of Italy as I enjoyed an authentic home-cooked meal.
Radici is owned by Laura Francisco and her mother Lucia Gasbarri. Lucia, who grew up in Pacento, a tiny village in the Abruzzo region of Italy, is a self-taught chef who has owned restaurants with her now deceased husband in Southern California for multiple decades.
Laura brought her mother out of retirement to open Radici a couple of years ago. Lucia has taken family recipes that were carried through generations to create a menu of home-made pastas and traditional Abruzzese dishes in a modern and inviting open space.
Abruzzo is in Southern Italy, bordered by Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It is known as the “greenest region” in Europe as more than half of the territory is made up of national parks and protected nature reserves. While many think of Emilia-Romagna as the gastronomical capital of Italy, Abruzzo is considered among the best in Italy and one that has not been touched by international influences due to its isolation resulting from the Apennine Mountain Range and the sea. A full-wall photo in a smaller dining room depicts the town in Abruzzo where Laura’s father was born.
The menu at Radici offers a diverse menu sourced from local farmers markets as well as meat and seafood suppliers. The pastas are all produced in-house by hand. And, olive oils and cheeses are imported from Italy. At Radici it is all about fresh ingredients. One standout is the sugo, tomato sauce, made fresh with tomatoes from the farmers market. The sauce has no seeds in it and can be found in various dishes, from a dipping sauce to a pasta sauce.
Fried Polenta is a wonderful appetizer. The creamy polenta is fried in cornmeal and served in bite-size cubes with the savory sugo on the side for dipping.
Involtini di Melanzane is baked eggplant wrapped around housemade ricotta and topped with the sugo.
Burrata imported from Italy is served with heirloom tomatoes, basil and balsamic caviar.
Calamari Fritti is lightly fried and served with the tangy sugo.
The pastas at Radici are light and fresh and all pastas are made by hand.
Ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and spinach with pink sugo.
Gnocchi Bicolore Gratinati are house made potato and spinach dumplings with either gorgonzola cream sauce au gratin or fresh tomatoes. The gorgonzola cream can be overpowering in the dish but if you love gorgonzola, you will love this.
Pappardelle Bolognese are wide flat noodles covered with authentic meat ragu.
Cannelloni Carne e Spinaci are crepes filled with ground veal, spinach, bechamel sauce and the delicious sugo.
The jumbo shrimp in the Gamberoni al Limone were plump and perfectly cooked with white wine, garlic and lemon butter sauce and served over creamy polenta.
Lamb is very popular in Abruzzese cuisine. The Costelette D’Agnello alla Griglia is grilled lamb chops prepared medium rare with rosemary and balsamic vinegar reduction.