Whether you’re someone who quietly admires marine life or not, a day at the aquarium is a day you don’t pass up. You’ll probably catch a dolphin show, learn why belugas can swim backwards, and gaze in wonder at dangerous sea creatures you’ve only ever seen in pictures - all behind the safety of a glass wall.
But when it comes to Giorgio Baldi, LA’s best vantage point for watching the dangerous creatures of Hollywood, there is no such safety net. Forget glass walls, you’re swimming right with the sharks at this high-end Italian restaurant, mere inches away from insanity at all times. And that’s exactly the kind of danger that makes Giorgio Baldi worth experiencing.
When you first walk into Giorgio Baldi, it won’t seem like a spot where Rihanna eats six times a week when she’s in town. It’s small, cramped, and feels like that restaurant in your hometown that your parents have frequented since 1979. But by 8pm, the nearby hilltop creatures begin crawling down from their Pacific Palisades estates, and this quiet Italian restaurant is quickly turned into the unofficial after-party for aging celebrities and people who didn’t do anything today. You’ll overhear Martha Stewart talk about animal urns, sit next to a guy who lives in an airstream but also owns a movie studio, and spot several other famous people you could’ve sworn were dead already. By the time this valium circus hits full stride, you’ll likely forget this is a place where people come to eat. But remind yourself, because the food is actually pretty good.
Giorgio Baldi’s menu is very traditional. You’ll see a shaved fennel salad, a hunk of burrata, and a lot of people ordering $90 lobster because they can. The good news is things taste more interesting than they sound. The shaved fennel salad comes on top of artichoke hearts with pecorino cheese, and it’s delicious. Yes, it’s hard to mess up burrata, but Giorgio’s is fresh, massive, and worth every bit of its $20 price tag. If there’s a signature dish on the menu, it’s the agnolotti. Stuffed with sweet corn and chilling in a pool of white truffle sauce, this is easily the best thing here, and will dull the pain of realizing you just missed Dustin Hoffman take a sambuca shot.
You’re going to drop a lot of money at Giorgio Baldi. But if you’re cool with shoveling out $300 to see very famous people eat pasta, then consider this seaside graveyard essential LA dining. If not, the real aquarium’s down in Long Beach with all the glass walls you could want.
Sliced artichoke hearts, fennel, and shaved pecorino covered in a lemon sauce. This is the best of the salad section, and should definitely be the first thing to hit your table.
Surprise, burrata’s still good. But at Giorgio Baldi, it’s borderline fantastic. A giant hunk of soft mozzarella with cream, topped with pesto and roasted tomatoes that are also excellent.
Not our favorite dish. The gnocchi itself is way too soft and melts in your mouth in the way you definitely don’t want it to.
The most famous dish at Giorgio Baldi and easily the best thing on the menu. Sure, $25 is steep for what’s probably ten tiny raviolis, but welcome to the Pacific Palisades. The mix of its sweet corn-stuffed interior and white truffle sauce is ecstasy. And not the kind the table next to you is on.
Ordering this $90 two-pound lobster is more of a status move than anything else. It’s fine, but certainly not something that has to make it on the table.
This is one of those tiramisus you’ll like while eating, and forget about by the time you got home. If that’s good enough for you, then order it.