Tramonto, the newest effort by restaurateur Nando Silvestri, known for owning and operating Il Piccolo Ritrovo in Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, opened on Monday. 

The restaurant replaces Giovanni’s Ristorante, which closed in March and changed hands from previous owner Giovanni “John” Mazzola to Silvestri, his nephew.

Tavern 1, a new barbeque restaurant, is preparing to open early this summer at the location of the old La Costa Mission, which closed in 2014, and is currently undergoing a transformation from the Mexican restaurant decor to a modern American barbeque and burger joint.

Coogies, a favorite local dining spot, raised alarm earlier this month when notices went out that the restaurant would be closing to move locations. Since then, it’s been clarified the spot will undergo a remodel and reopen — in its original location in the Malibu Colony Shopping Center.

Tramonto serves up Italian favorites

Silvestri’s new restaurant, Tramonto, is a new take on the Italian dining experience compared to its predecessor, Giovanni’s.

According to Silvestri, the restaurant offers homemade pastas, including house-made ravioli and a gnocchi bar with eight different gnocchi dishes.

The most exciting menu item, according to Silvestri, is orecchiette. “We make orecchiette, pasta made tableside ... to order. Basically, ‘orecchie’ is ‘ears’ in Italian, so it’s ear-shaped pasta,” Silvestri explained, “That’s what it means, ‘little ears.’ It’s a little strange, but that’s the shape of the pasta.”

If made-to-order pasta and a gnocchi bar aren’t enough to draw in new customers, Silvestri said the new general manager could.

“Now there’s maybe a new restaurant base from Tarcisio Mosconi, from Tra di Noi,” Silvestri said. “He’ll be involved in the restaurant in day-to-day operations, so a lot of the people he knows will hopefully come give us a try.”

One other change Giovanni’s patrons will notice if they try out Tramonto will be parking, which switches to valet on Thursday through Sunday.

Tramonto, which is located along Pacific Coast Highway between Carbon Mesa and Sweetwater Canyon, means “sunset” in Italian.

New barbeque restaurant to open this summer

PCH commuters have likely noticed a new sign up at the location just west of Rambla Vista where the La Costa Mission was, announcing the new Tavern 1 “Malibu’s only BBQ restaurant.”

While some Malibu residents have expressed sadness over the change in decor of the new eatery, experienced chef and owner Marco Gonzalez thinks the restaurant will be a hit with locals.

“I want to have my core to be the people that live here, ya know,” Gonzalez said, “I mean, it’s nice to get the tourists, but I want to build a place where it can be a local place.” 

Gonzalez points to his other restaurant, Tavern 101, located over the hill in Agoura Hills, as his inspiration.

“The customer base I have in Agoura is really loyal,” Gonzalez said, “It’s like ‘Cheers’ almost, it’s just a great atmosphere, and that’s something I want to create here as well.”

As for what to expect, Gonzalez, an award-winning barbeque chef, stressed barbeque is far from the only menu offering. 

“I’m known for barbeque, but I have phenomenal burgers,” Gonzalez said, adding that salads, seafood and steaks are also staples of his menu. His favorite dish, though, is ribs.

“I do a braised short rib ... I braise it with a stout beer, which is a Firestone stout, and I braise that for 24 hours,” Gonzalez said. “It’s great.”

For the more health conscious, there will be menu additions they don’t offer in Agoura.

“I’m adding some healthy choices to my menu ... and fish items. I can do a really good fish taco,” Gonzalez said.

As for when doors will open, Gonzalez said they’re waiting on a liquor license, which could take anywhere from 60 to 90 days.

Coogies to remain in same location

Despite fears that Coogies, a well-loved Malibu cafe, was slated to close or move locations, sources confirm the restaurant will close temporarily for remodeling and open again in the same location.

Concerns were raised when the coupon website Groupon sent out notices to those who ordered Coogie’s coupons to tell them the restaurant was closing up.

“We have some bad news: Coogies Beach Cafe will be moving at the end of April,” reads the message Groupon Customer Support sent to those who had already purchased a digital coupon.

Coogies, which is located in the Stan Kroenke-owned Malibu Colony Shopping Center, was feared to have been joining the ranks of other shuttered now-vacant businesses in the center, including Clarisse, Granita, Malibu Business and Shipping Center and most recently Theodore’s Beach, all victims of the apparent indifference of owners.

Kroenke is a local entrepreneur who is also the owner of the St. Louis Rams.

According to announcements by City Councilmember Laura Rosenthal, though, Coogies is in no danger.

“I wanted to just let everyone know, Coogies is not closing, they’re just going to be closed for a few weeks for renovations, because they have a liquor license,” Rosenthal said at the Monday, March 23 City Council meeting.

Coogies management was not available for comment.

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