Last year, Paoli's Pizzeria & Piano Bar in Woodland Hills was ready to move to a new location about a half-mile down Ventura Boulevard from its old location. The new place was larger and the owner had begun remodeling, creating a different facade, a patio and a sign.
Everything was set; the new location's telephone number was even listed in the telephone book. But last April, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control denied the restaurant's application for a transfer of its liquor license.
The new storefront was within 100 feet of residences, and neighbors expressed fears of late-night noise, parking shortages, congestion and intoxicated patrons. So, the restaurant has stayed put. Moving plans have been canceled.
"It's a done deal," said Dee Barsi, Paoli's assistant manager, "Now, we're going to refurbish here. It's a good little house--good food and lots of fun."
Paoli's claims the distinction of being the "home of the Alfredo Pizza," which has a creamy white sauce instead of tomato sauce. The restaurant offers regular tomato sauce pizzas as well. Additionally, Paoli's has recently added five varieties of what they call "designer pizzas"--crafted for patrons with more adventurous palates. Pizzas range in price from $8.50 for a small cheese pie to $14.50 for a large designer pizza with shrimp, mushrooms and white sauce. Dinners are priced from $8.95 for linguine with garlic and olive oil to $16.95 for zuppa di mare a seafood dish with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari.
Paoli's Pizzeria & Piano Bar, 21020 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 883-4136.
BY THE SEA
The same man who brought the Gaucho Grill to Los Angeles is now opening a new restaurant in Studio City, the Antartica Fish & Ceviche Bar.
Adolfo Suaya's new restaurant will feature ceviche, which consists of seafood marinated in lime juice and flavored with chilies, tomatoes and herbs. The fish becomes opaque, as if cooked.
"Ceviche is a very fun thing," Suaya says. "People love it."
The dish is extremely popular in Latin America, especially Mexico, Peru and Ecuador. Ceviche bars are as commonplace there as McDonald's restaurants are here, Suaya says. He says the cuisine dates back to ancient Mayan and Incan cultures. He credits the lime juice as the source of its popularity.
"They call it the 'juice of God,' " Suaya says, "because when you drink it, it gives you all this energy."
Suaya named his restaurant for what he calls the "last pristine place on Earth" as a way of expressing his concern for the environment. He says his restaurant uses more plentiful fish and seafood such as snapper, trout, sole, salmon, halibut, shrimp and scallops, and avoids endangered or overfished species like tuna and swordfish.
In addition to ceviche, Antartica will also offer grilled seafood entrees--ranging from $5.95 to $8.95--for the less adventurous. And ceviche prices will range from $2.95 to 5.95.
"Ceviche is very good with a dry beer because it's spicy," Suaya says. "Beer, ceviche and salsa music--you've got it all."
Antartica Fish & Ceviche Bar, 11838 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 508-7536.