The Final Days of Valentino, LA’s Most Iconic Italian Restaurant

Jan 04, 2019 198

BY: Alejandro Benes

On one of its last nights of service, guests of Valentino streamed into the restaurant from Pico Boulevard. “I hear you’re closing,” said a smartly-dressed woman. “Yes,” answered the host. “Why?” she asked, with pain in her voice. The host — the consummate host — sighed and responded, “Do you have a few hours?”This conversation in different forms continued throughout the night as Piero Selvaggio, the founder, face, heart, and life-force behind the restaurant Valentino, greeted diners. 

Selvaggio comforted his grieving regulars. They were there for one last bottle of excellent wine, a final bite of pillowy handkerchief pasta coated in pesto, or an ultimate forkful of beautiful branzino. Valentino closed on New Year’s Eve, more than 46 years after it opened in a part of Santa Monica one would not consider a great location. Valentino could safely be called the best restaurant that’s ever existed across the street from a Travelodge Motel.

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