Scopa Italian Roots - Loud, Solid Italian in Venice

I remembered @boogiebaby @wienermobile @CiaoBob talking about Scopa Italian Roots a while back. Scopa occupies a non-descript (no signage) storefront along Washington, near Venice’s longtime burger stalwart 26 Beach.

It’s a clean, bright space for an early dinner, turning into a more moody, loud, raucous place by evening.

Mamie Taylor (Blended Scotch, Ginger, Lime, Bitters, Soda):

This was their twist on the Moscow Mule. Loved the fresh Ginger, the Scotch gave it a nice kick and aroma missing from a standard Moscow Mule.

Baby Beets (Burrata, Market Tangerine, Tarragon, Vanilla):

It’s hard to screw up Burrata Cheese, and thankfully Scopa’s version is delicious. Fresh, creamy, delicate, and the Baby Beets and Tangerines brought a naturally sweet and citrus angle. Went great with their toasted bread.

Italian Cold Cuts (Prosciutto San Daniele, Mortadella, Lomo, Speck, Soppressata, Cotto, Vegetables, Olives, Cheese):

Solid Charcuterie board. My favorite was the Speck.

Ricotta Crostini (Parsley, Olive Oil, Ciabatta):

While I like fresh Burrata, their Ricotta was even better! It was also very mild, delicate and had a lush quality without being too overwhelming. Delicious with their toasted Ciabatta Bread! :slight_smile:

The West Side (Vodka, Orgeat, Mint, Cucumber, Lime, Bitters):

And like the previous cocktail, this one was their re-interpretation of another classic, this time the Mojito. It tasted like a heavy version of a Mojito: The bartenders here were generous with the alcohol, LOL, but it also made their drinks a bit heavier than you’d expect after having stuff from Julian Cox and his proteges.

Sunchokes (Artichoke, Rosemary, Lemon Treviso):

Their Sunchoke salad was pretty well-balanced. I liked their Radicchio’s slight bitterness blended with the Artichokes and the Rosemary gave it just the right amount of piney aroma.

Baby Kale (Bottarga, Crushed Egg, Pecorino Romano, Pickled Shallots, Lemon):

This was fine. It sounded better on the menu. Nothing wrong with it, but we expected more punch from the Bottarga and Pickled Shallots in the ingredients list, whereas in execution it was really minor.

Crispy Squash Blossoms (Ricotta, Mozzarella, Tomato, Chili):

Having recently had Pizzeria Mozza’s version again (one of the earlier restaurants to push Squash Blossoms with Ricotta), it put Scopa’s version to shame. Scopa’s is fine, but much oilier and greasier. It felt heavy in comparison to Mozza’s delicate touch and their Ricotta.

Meat Ball Hero (Burrata, Basil, Arugula):

On the denser side, but not overly so, it was a solid, hot appetizer. The Arugula and Basil helped to keep each bite interesting instead of being overwhelmed eating a giant meatball.

Lasagnette Pasta (Pork Shank, Burrata, Arugula):

This was decent. The Lasagnette was cooked al dente, so it had good bite, but the Pork Shank Pasta Sauce was a bit mundane and boring. It wasn’t bad, but it just tasted like a typical red sauce / red wine-style stew. But it wasn’t the salt bomb that we had at Union either.

Creste Rigate Pasta (Wild Mushrooms, Fiddlehead Ferns, Parmesan, Bread Crumbs):

And then their Creste Rigate arrived. WOW! Absolutely delicious pasta. :slight_smile: The Wild Mushrooms and Fiddlehead Ferns really upped the umami and crave-worthiness in this pasta. One of the better pastas we’ve had recently. :slight_smile:

Whole Branzino (Fennel Frond, Lemon, Basil):

It was deboned and cooked just a touch over medium. It was fine.

T-Bone (24 oz, Katarina’s Oil):

This was disappointing. Overcooked (medium-well), slightly tough, and just OK. Nothing to write home about.

Zeppole:

Essentially fresh-fried Italian Donut Holes. Coated with Powdered Sugar. They were denser and chewier than I was hoping for. They were OK.

When we started dinner conversation was pleasant and we could hear each other. By the end of the meal, it suddenly hit me that we were screaming at each other at the table to hear what we were talking about LOL. :pensive:

In the end. Scopa was a nice neighborhood Italian eatery with some standouts and some so-so dishes. I’d be glad to return if I didn’t want to go too far.

Scopa Italian Roots
2905 Washington Blvd.
Venice, CA 90292
Tel: (310) 821-1100

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That Ricotta with Ciabiatta is amazing – I still think about it! Such a simple thing, but well executed.

Too bad about your T-Bone steak – when we went, we ordered it medium rare and it was perfect. Yours does look a bit overdone. And that Creste Rigate looks delicious – we were planning to have dinner at Scopa with some friends soon and it looks like I’ll be ordering that for us! :slight_smile:

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Nice report.

I’ve had some positive experiences there, but I find myself hesitating to go back because of the space. It’s gorgeous inside, of course, but with the way the bar/community table area is set up, if the bar gets busy at all, the space becomes an immovable corridor of conjoined humanity.

I mean, I get why people go for drinks - they’re great drinks. I just wish there was a better layout to accommodate for that.

Went last night for in-person meal #2. Tables were well spaced and there were so many space heaters I didn’t need a sweater.

Drinks:


This is the Sierra Norte (mezcal, aperol, pineapple, lemon) and the East India cocktail (cognac, maraschino, bitters, pineapple, lemon). Both tasted similar; I’d say the East India had more depth of flavor. Sierra Norte didn’t get overwhelmed by the smokiness of the mezcal or the tartness of the lemon, but it felt like it was missing that something extra.


Ricotta (comes with thick toasted bread): probably the best part of the meal. Beyond what everybody has said above, the olive oil drizzle really came through and added a bit of fruitiness. I wish they sold this by the jar :slight_smile:


Rice ball: big miss for me. Outside was incredibly hard, then once we cut it up the rice tasted undercooked and the meat sauce was uninteresting. We had been deciding between this and the fried cauliflower, and unfortunately ordered incorrectly.


Squash blossom: infinitely superior to the rice ball. Surprisingly flavorful blossoms that I thought were very well fried, and the cheese worked well and didn’t make things too heavy. Barely needed the sauce (which was fine).

Pastas (Trecce with mushrooms, dandelion green, Parmesan, bread crumbs and Rigatoni with vodka sauce and ricotta)

Both were hits, with Trecce a home run. Crunchy + umami + good bite from the pasta. Tasted like an earthy version of our fave limone pasta from Jon and Vinny’s. Rigatoni had an interesting thickness to the pasta, which was perfectly cooked. There was some dill in the garnish that added a little unexpected freshness.


Fluffernutter: an absolute bomb; we could only manage to eat like a third. Large finishing salt on the outside works great with the warm marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and banana on the inside. Another hit, and this one was also well fried.

Service was fine; I think to then we were waiting too long between courses but it felt very pleasantly paced to me. I assume they’re still getting used to more and more people coming because we were offered another table’s food multiple times. Wine pours are unpictured here but were heavy. With tax and tip this cost $190; frankly we could’ve been full with half the food.

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This is the second restaurant I’ve heard of called “scopa,” which seems like a strange name to me since it means broom, sweep, or fuck.