Nerano Beverly Hills | Benvenuti a Un Giorno Perfetto
A perfect day! What does yours look like? Mine always includes sharing food and drink in a beautiful setting with family or friends. I experienced such a day on holiday in Southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The vibrant small town, jagged steep coastline, lemon-scented air and sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea served as the ideal backdrop. The amazing flavor of simple dishes coming from a small cliffside kitchen, the laughter of friends and exhilarating afternoon swim made it complete, un Giorno Perfetto!
Arriving at Nerano in Beverly Hills memories of that flawless day were mixed with anticipation of the dining experience ahead. The owners, Andy Brandon-Gordon and Carlo Brandon-Gordon, had the vision to create an upscale Italian restaurant serving the exquisite dishes and grand hospitality reminiscent of their favorite place, the charming fishing village of Nerano. The name was originally derived from Emperor Tiberio Nerone, who undoubtedly spent many perfect days filled with the unparalleled beauty and superb cuisine of the Amalfi Coast.
The two-story standalone building is clad in white brick, floor to ceiling windows and a classy understated sign. The artfully landscaped side entrance is indicative of many fine European restaurants often located on a discreet passageway or narrow street. The décor includes custom lighting, a bold color palette, and concrete and brick walls adorned with a stunning contemporary art collection. The warm greeting by the host, the posh décor and the tantalizing aroma make clear this is going to be an impeccable experience.
Guests are encouraged to begin upstairs in the sleek BG Lounge, accessed by private elevator. The intimate candlelit room contains a full bar with comfy leather stools and red velvet sofas, dramatic and opulent! Specialty cocktails include the Costa Amalfitana and the Sorrentino, truly unique, delightful and delicious! Shoestring zucchini fries, crisp baby artichokes, a simple cheese plate or other small bites can be savored before heading downstairs for dinner. The upscale happy hour can be had after work or after a show; Apertivo Hour (early) and Hideaway Hour (late) at a price rarely seen for an establishment of this quality. In addition, the lounge doubles as a private event space and includes a dedicated kitchen.
Downstairs dining spaces include curvy dark blue banquettes, a dozen cozy tables, and bar seating overlooking a glass enclosed open kitchen. Executive chef Michele Lisi uses only the finest California and imported Italian ingredients. The menu is naturally centered on seafood, has a respectable number of meat dishes and vegetarian options as well as Southern Italian classics like pizza and pasta. In keeping with the theme, the extensive wine list leans heavily on Italian labels with an ample selection of Amalfi wines as well as regional California labels.
A beautifully arranged colorful plate of crudités and balsamic dipping sauce are placed before you as are enthusiastically welcomed by your server, an authentic Italian accent is a special bonus! Next to arrive is a heavenly aromatic plate of rosemary foccacia. Starters include a Pacific yellowtail tuna crudo with crispy capers; grilled Spanish octopus with olive oil mashed potatoes; and a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and hazelnuts. A wood-burning brick oven turns out perfect Neapolitan Pizzas including a simple Margherita or the visually stunning Proscuitto e Rucola, where arugula is piled high in the center surrounded by a vertical wall of prosciutto.
The outstanding homemade pastas include Spaghetti alla Nerano, a simple and light dish made with sautéed Italian zucchini, squash blossoms, provolone, and basil. Created in the 1950’s this dish continues to be offered at every restaurant in the Southern Italian Village of Nerano making it a must try piece of Nerano history in Beverly Hills. Another refreshing favorite is the Taglioni ai Limone – taglioni served with basil, lemon zest, and Parmigiano-Reggiono. Share several of the exceptional pasta dishes as it is nearly impossible to choose just one.
The main course seafood dishes are fresh and prepared grilled, Ahi Tuna, Branzino and Gulf Spot Prawns are among the favorites. A true house specialty is the Salmone Neozelandese prepared with Ora King Salmon and accompanied by celery root puree, rainbow carrots, spinach and fried capers. Standout meat dishes served with a variety of accompaniments include Jidori chicken with a Dijon mustard sauce; an 8 oz filet mignon with truffle butter, a 20oz bone-in ribeye with salsa verde.
Desserts are small enough for one, yet rich enough to share. Try the Guanaja dark chocolate mousse with crunchy hazelnut gelato and toasted meringue, a vanilla pannacotta with wild berry coulis or house-spun lemon sorbet. Finishing your meal with a glass of limoncello, an after dinner digestivo from the Amalfi Coast is mandatory to complete the experience.