With my girlfriend Kellie coming from Santa Ana and me in Pasadena, a lunch date in Gardena was logistically sound since it was approximately halfway* between our respective starting points. After debating a few Hawaiian and Japanese restaurant options in the area, I selected Eatalian Cafe for our meetup. Pasta. Forever.
Eatalian Cafe brings a slice of Italy to an industrial stretch of Gardena lined with manufacturers and repairmen. Owner Antonio Pellini initially planned to transform this former textile factory into a production facility for fresh cheeses, gelati, and baked goods; however, the sheer size of the space was so grand that a dining room was built into the plans.
Here at this cavernous temple of Italian cuisine, pastas, sauces, gelati, breads, and pastries are made fresh every morning.
Joining our party were The Astronomer and Kellie’s sis—the more the merrier.
To start, we shared the Emilia, grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, onion, yellow and red bell pepper) topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and aged balsamic vinegar ($8.50). I loved the cheese’s salty granules, but the vegetables could’ve been smokier.