Monday, September 19, 2011

Torrance: Capricciosa Finally Opens!

There's always been a huge demand for Japanese Italian around the South Bay so it's not surprised that Capricciosa decided to open the first US branch in Torrance, where there is a good sizeable Japanese population and where Japanese Italian is widely accepted.

Capricciosa is a huge restaurant chain from Japan, with several locations worldwide. Essentially it is an Italian restaurant with the flavors and dishes tweaked a little to suit the Japanese palate while trying to stay true to Italian cuisine. Nothing is too heavy and all the pastas focuses on more of the ingredients. There's no fusion like bonito flakes or uni as part of a pasta dish.

Took us awhile to find the place though since it shares a restaurant space with Tony Roma's. A little odd, yes, but there's actually a good amount of seating. Just this past weekend was their soft opening but they had most of their menu ready when we were there.

24301 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505

Entrance to the restaurant! I was definitely very excited to try it out :P

Nice and elegant decor throughout the restaurant. It does get a bit loud near the back, where it is closer to Tony Roma's.

Since 1978!

menu 2 menu 2
Menu (click to enlarge).

Complimentary bread.

strawberry lemonade
Strawberry lemonade. Meh, nothing special but it looked good haha.

garlic toast
Garlic toasts.

garlic toast
It's rolls spread with garlic butter then toasted. We were expecting more garlic flavor. The only disappointment of the night though!

black squid ink
Choi's Squid Ink Pasta. Calamari, sauteed onions, garlic in a tomato based squid ink sauce. One of the better squid ink pastas I've had in the States! I am not a fan of the squid ink pastas with cream sauce as a base, so I like that they use the tomato based. It's much more true to the Italian roots (Venice).

Vongole. Garlic, clams, and wine. As simple as it gets! It's more like pasta in a clam broth. Definitely drink up that deliciousness. They give you so many clams here as well!

orignal tomato & garlic
Original Tomato & Garlic. This is Capricciosa's signature dish. Great Arrabbiata sauce with sauteed garlic & peppers. Arrabbiata sauce is a classic Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and red chili cooked in olive oil. It is sweet and tangy while the garlic chunks provides a huge punch of flavor. Favorite pasta dish of the night!

spicy seafood linguine
Spicy Seafood Linguine. Clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari in spicy garlic cream sauce. Seafood flavor integrated throughout and even though it is a cream sauce, it's not heavy at all! This is a perfect example of a pasta dish that's more suited for the Japanese palate with the lighter cream-based sauce that allows the seafood to shine through.

chicken & mushroom fettucine alrefredo
Chicken & Mushroom Fettucine Alfredo. Marinated chicken, onions, mushrooms, with creamy alfredo sauce. Marinated chicken is pure awesomeness. Tender but slighly crisped on the outside from being pan cooked. A hearty and earthy pasta dish.

Gotta say, I'm a huge fan of their pastas! Definitely will be coming back to try some of the other items like pizzas, lasagnas, and desserts. Also, with the opening of Capricciosa, South Bay has officially become the land of Japanese Italian! Too many good spots with Spoon House, Akane, Italian Tomato, and Il Chianti.