Italian With a Twist

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Pizza at Bar One by Il Barone Ristorante

Traditional meets modern at Bar One, a new venture from the creators of the classic Il Barone Ristorante.

By Ashley Ryan

 

There’s something magical about the infusion of culture in each bite of pasta or pizza that makes these hearty dishes feel like home—even if you’re not Italian. Luckily for local diners, the owners of Il Barone Ristorante are back with a new eatery that combines these traditional bites with contemporary cocktails and a modern bar scene.

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A variety of cocktails, including the Gin Tea, limoncello martini and Franco’s Old Fashioned | Photo by Ashley Ryan

Chef Franco Barone grew up working in his family’s Milan-area restaurant before coming to California. He worked at several high-profile restaurants in the region before he and his wife, Donatella, opened their own eatery in 2010. Now, after pandemic-era difficulties, the couple—along with the help of their son, Jonathan—have launched Bar One.

In the old Bosscat Kitchen & Libations space since September, Bar One has been a fun experiment, with Jonathan introducing fresh takes that complement Franco’s long-standing favorites. Head to the bar for a more casual dining environment while you enjoy sports on the televisions or opt for a seat on the patio, where strung lights add a romantic ambiance.

Start out with a classic cocktail like a limoncello martini or Franco’s Old Fashioned, which features smoked pancetta and an orange twist, or go for something unique, such as the Gin Tea with Earl Grey-infused gin, elderflower and pomegranate.

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Bar One’s patio area | Photo by Ashley Ryan

Pair these with appetizers for the table. The crispy arancine, rice balls that are flash fried and served warm, come four to a plate with ground beef, peas and mozzarella stuffed inside a Parmesan panko crust while the crudo of the day features fresh seafood, such as yellowtail, shrimp or sometimes both.

Another option is to share a pizza and salad before ordering your own entrees. Try the caprese salad, where thick slices of heirloom tomato serve as a base for chunks of creamy mozzarella and fresh basil, all drizzled in olive oil. For the pizza, opt for the Calabrese with spicy salami and chile oil or the Facci Ri Veccia, crafted on a thin focaccia bread with Italian crescenza cheese, prosciutto and truffle oil—both of which are cooked in a pizza oven on-site.

When transitioning to your main course, ask for a glass of Italian vino to pair with your pasta. Those who like whites will enjoy the crisp grillo while red wine lovers can’t go wrong with the Super Tuscans.

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Fresh pasta dishes including (clockwise from right) the pistachio pesto, the cacio e pepe and the wild boar ragu | Photo by Ashley Ryan

As for the pastas, you’re sure to delight in anything on this flavorful menu, but standouts include the pistachio pesto, where fusilli, smoked salmon and shrimp are coated in zesty pesto and toasted nuts, or the creamy cacio e pepe, with thick, house-made noodles smothered in a pecorino-Romano sauce and a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Or try the wild boar ragu: With meatballs and a sauce both made with braised boar, it’s a fantastic way to try this Italian delicacy, which is combined with red wine, fresh herbs and luxurious pappardelle pasta. The pasta itself is such a great base that the Bar One chefs are making it in-house, not just for their own plates but to sell to other eateries in the area as well.

What these chefs are doing is masterful, as it combines classics and modern dishes. On your next visit, consider asking for a chef’s table experience, a multicourse meal dictated by the chefs themselves for another special night of Italian flavors.

Bar One by Il Barone Ristorante
4647 MacArthur Blvd.
949-955-2755; baroneoc.com

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