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La Dolce Vita Is The Iconic Beverly Hills Restaurant Frank Sinatra Helped Start

interior of la dolce vita restaurant
interior of la dolce vita restaurant - Instagram/Victoria Gillet

La Dolce Vita is a cozy Beverly Hills restaurant that has withstood the test of time by serving up hearty plates of Italian fare and keeping glasses filled. The establishment has ushered in a lineup of royalty, celebrities, and politicians, yet if it weren't for the financial backing of Frank Sinatra and George Raft, the sweet joint may never have found its wings.

As told to Spectrum News, the original owners of La Dolce Vita were two waiters, and while they didn't necessarily have the money to float their enterprise, they had plenty of spirit -- and spirits. In 1966, when La Dolce Vita opened, the Grammy-winning blue-eyed crooner had cemented a reputation as a tuxedo-wearing reveler. He fit the scene at La Dolce Vita, as eating and enjoying life found center stage. Sinatra was pleased to help get the establishment off the ground and held regular court in a booth that is to this day marked with a golden plaque bearing his name.

Read more: 13 Unexpected Ingredients To Elevate Lasagna

Preserving History For Modern Diners

bar at La Dolce Vita
bar at La Dolce Vita - Instagram/Victoria Gillet

The windowless restaurant (a perk for those avoiding paparazzi cameras) has remained true to its founding vision and has preserved the red leather booths and exposed brick walls that have welcomed old Hollywood stars and Washington families. Menus have remained dependable, and though some aesthetic touches have changed, the establishment has remained largely the same with an eager staff ready to please.

In its decades-long existence, La Dolce Vita has only changed managerial hands three times. The current owners have brought a few new details to the space with staff uniforms, new recipes, and noticeable aesthetic upgrades. Though the restaurant was forced to close during the pandemic, a refreshed food and drink menu has ushered in its revival. Classic Lasagna Bolognese served with sautéed spinach and ricotta is a reliable order, and New York strip steaks topped with red wine glaze address even the most demanding appetites.

Though the space is compact -- only seven bar seats and 70 chairs are available -- the atmosphere is textured with relics. Movie buffs may spot playful nods to films like "The Godfather." For added drama, guests are welcomed into the restaurant with Punt e Mes, and after dinner is served, a large grinder is brought to tables to add freshly cracked pepper to plates.

A Luxurious Setting Honoring Yesteryear

interior of La Dolce Vita
interior of La Dolce Vita - Instagram/Victoria Gillet

For those wanting to finish off their meal with a true taste of Italy, a generous amaro menu offers plenty to choose from, or the housemade limoncello can freshen palates before additional drinks are poured and dessert is served. Because this is truly the sweet life, tiramisu and vanilla panna cotta make frequent appearances on the linen-covered dining tables, and chocolate tarts and Tartufo are quick to silence any demanding sweet tooth.

For late-night revelers, the cocktail list honors a few of the Hollywood faces who once graced the premises — try The Sinatra Sour, a whiskey sour made with Sinatra's beloved Jack Daniels; or sip on The Doheny & Beverly, a vodka, gin, sherry, and Cointreau concoction that is made with Dean Martin in mind. In such a sumptuous setting, it is easy to see how regular civilians and stars alike come to soak up a part of a glamorous star-studded story.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.