I went to the LA restaurant where Kim Kardashian recently took Pete Davidson on a date.
Giorgio Baldi's is a celebrity hotspot by the beach, but it's surprisingly not flashy.
I tried both Kardashian and Rihanna's favorite pastas — and Rihanna's were way better.
Kim Kardashian is just one of the many celebrities you could see eating pasta and sipping wine at Giorgio Baldi.
Giorgio Baldi is tucked away right by the beach, at the spot where Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades meet. You'd probably walk by and completely miss it if it wasn't for the sheer star power — and the paparazzi that follow them — walking through the restaurant's signature green hedges.
Video: How thick layers of restaurant kitchen grease are cleaned
Davidson took Kardashian to his favorite New York restaurant earlier in November, so she returned the favor. The reality TV star has tweeted about her love for Giorgio Baldi in the past, calling it "the best restaurant ever." Kardashian has also been spotted there with Kanye West — who she filed for divorce from in February — so it's definitely one of her go-to date spots.
But there's no bigger fan of the restaurant than Rihanna, who loves Giorgio Baldi so much that she's been known to eat there three times a week.
Elena Baldi, Giorgio Baldi's daughter and the manager, told The New York Times in May that Rihanna has been coming to the restaurant since she was 18.
"I remember when she couldn't even drink," Baldi added.
Rihanna is frequently photographed leaving the restaurant, and even holds interviews there. The singer has three favorite dishes (more on that in a bit), and she told Rolling Stone that she bought a home in the Pacific Palisades partly so she could be in the restaurant's delivery zone.
Rihanna's love for Giorgio Baldi runs so deep, Drake even gave it a shout-out — "Caterin' is from Giorgio Baldi's, Robyn's favorite" — in his song "Diplomatic Immunity" back in 2018.
But what's it like to go to Giorgio Baldi when you're not a billionaire reality TV star, a billionaire beauty mogul, or, well, Pete Davidson? I decided to find out.
I went to Giorgio Baldi on a Friday night, surprised that I was able to get a 6:30 p.m. reservation after calling only a few days in advance.
In true Jeremy Strong spirit (if you know, you know), I decided to go full "method" for this experiential. I dressed in all black, a la Kardashian, and took my boyfriend — whose name also happens to be Peter.
Now that's journalistic commitment.
What first surprised me about the restaurant was its location, which is basically hidden.
As our Lyft pulled up to an eerily quiet street, I quickly checked the app — wondering if I'd put in the wrong address. There was no long line snaking around the block, as I've seen at fellow celebrity hotspot Catch LA, or a sleek glowing sign like the kind you'll find at the front of Boa Steakhouse — where TikTok's biggest stars go on the daily.
"In 1990, that location was considered one of the worst locations ever because it was off from everything," Baldi told The Times.
But it's clear that Giorgio Baldi is a restaurant that embraces subtlety. Its front facade is almost entirely covered by well-trimmed hedges. You'll only find the full name, in small but elegant cursive, written on one side of the building. The "gb" above the door is even more understated.
The space is also very intimate — and super romantic.
Along with its bustling backyard — which is lit up by fairy lights — Giorgio Baldi has a few tables on its tented patio, as well as a small dining room.
I had expected Kardashian's favorite Italian restaurant to be something flashy, but Giorgio Baldi is cozy. The interior walls are painted with a teal blue that made me feel like I was by the Mediterranean Sea or one of those tiny coastal towns you'll find in a Nicholas Sparks movie.
Our waiter greeted us with a 'buona sera' as fresh bread and olive oil were immediately brought to our table.
The energy inside the restaurant was high thanks to the open kitchen, which provided that consistent sizzling soundtrack of meat hitting a hot pan. But the room was much smaller than I expected. The tables were so close together it reminded me of tiny Italian restaurants in New York City's West Village.
But there's still a feeling of privacy at Giorgio Baldi, thanks in large part to the dim lighting. I could see why celebrities would want to come here to escape and have some pasta in (relative) peace.
Baldi told The Times that treating everyone the same was part of her father's philosophy, and one she has maintained.
"I've sat people — big people — at really crappy tables," she said. "But I'm like, 'OK, I don't know who you are! Whatever."
Since we were about to try four different plates of pasta, we decided to start with an artichoke salad.
Giorgio Baldi's carciofin salad includes sliced raw artichoke hearts with shaved sweet fennel, green onion, shaved pecorino cheese, and a lemon sauce drizzled on top.
The salad's presentation was elegant, with the chopped green onions adding a burst of color. The star of the plate was the cheese, with the large but thin slices of pecorino adding a strong but delicious saltiness to the veggies.
The sauce is also bright and fresh. Peter liked that it gave the dish a "really nice zesty flavor," and each bite of the salad tasted light and refreshing — always great for an appetizer.
Next up was Kardashian's favorite pasta, a $30 plate of homemade ravioli that has been on Giorgio Baldi's menu since the beginning.
Kardashian is such a big fan of Giorgio Baldi's agnolotti — which is stuffed with sweet white corn and drizzled with a white truffle sauce — that she even defended it on Twitter.
Someone had screenshotted a picture that Kardashian shared of the pasta on her Instagram story back in 2018, and it went viral in 2020.
—Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 10, 2020
Our plate of agnolotti definitely looked prettier than Kardashian's, but I was surprised by how small the portion was. Maybe I'm just used to Italian restaurants that serve you bowls of pasta big enough to feed a small village, but there were only 18 tiny raviolis on the plate — meaning each one cost almost $2.
The dish, though, was nice and light. The pasta wasn't as creamy as I was expecting and I didn't taste much of the corn, but the sauce was delicious and unique. Baldi told The Times that her mother Roberta — Giorgio's widow — still comes in every day to prepare the pasta sauces, and the agnolotti definitely has that authentic, homemade flavor.
We also tried a couple of Rihanna's favorite pastas.
Rihanna has been known to get half-orders of all three of her favorite pastas: the $23 homemade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese, the $23 homemade gnocchi served with a meat or Gorgonzola sauce, and the pasta pomodoro with basil — which is no longer on the menu.
We were able to order all three and loved all of Rihanna's pastas more than the agnolotti. Sorry, Kim!
The gnocchi, pictured above, looked beautiful with its thick meat sauce and a generous sprinkle of parmesan. I'm not usually the biggest gnocchi fan, but these tasted like little fluffy pillows. Peter thought the pasta was perfectly soft, and we loved the sauce. I wouldn't typically think to serve gnocchi with a meat sauce, but it was just light enough not to overpower the pasta.
But our favorite dish was Rihanna's off-menu order, the pasta pomodoro.
Even after three pastas, Peter and I were still really hungry. And the wait had been a lot longer than we expected, with two of the pastas taking over an hour to come to the table.
So when this heaping plate of spaghetti appeared, we were extremely excited. And, it turned out, Giorgio Baldi had saved the best for last.
"This is maybe the best red sauce I've ever had," Peter said as he took his first bite.
While it was easily the simplest dish we ordered that night, there was so much depth of flavor to the pasta pomodoro. The sauce had a light sweetness to it, and it paired perfectly with the delicious spaghetti. I could've happily eaten another plate of this.
After so much savory, we needed something sweet — and a crème brulée was the perfect choice.
"This is bigger than our pastas," Peter exclaimed after our waiter brought the dish to our table.
And the crème brulée was as delicious as it was beautiful. The top made that satisfactory crack as we dug our spoons in and the dessert was perfectly creamy and vanilla-y, unsurprisingly sticking to the traditional flavor but still managing to make it memorable. I've probably had hundreds of crème brulées in my lifetime, but Giorgio Baldi's still tasted special.
I'd definitely go to Giorgio Baldi's again, but I'll probably skip Kardashian's favorite pasta.
Overall, what I loved most about Giorgio Baldi was the atmosphere. Unlike many hot spots for the Hollywood elite, it felt romantic instead of flashy.
And I'd love to try Giorgio Baldi's branzino (which was on the specials the night we went), or one of the hefty meat dishes I frequently saw floating around the restaurant.
Kardashian and I may not have the same taste in pasta, but I won't disagree that you can have a nice date at Giorgio Baldi's — especially with a Peter.
Next time, though, I'm sticking with Rihanna's pasta order.
Read the original article on Insider