Trattoria del Sole Restaurant & Market in Sherman Oaks Serves Old-School Southern Italian in Irresistible Ways

Mangia! Mangia!

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, People
  • Written by
    Karen Young
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

Chances are you’ve driven past the bright yellow awning of Trattoria & Market del Sole on the Boulevard numerous times without giving it a glance. Free from flack puffery, it’s not included on any “hot” lists. And that’s precisely the reason why this neighborhood Italian restaurant should be on your radar.

Open since last August, the eatery, which adjoins a gourmet market, offers a casual fine dining menu with an approachable price point. Focusing on southern Italian specialties, the emphasis is on scratch-made sauces with olive oil (as opposed to butter) authentically prepared by Italian-born chefs.

Starters and antipasti include a hearty pasta e fagioli soup and calamari fritti, lightly battered and accompanied by a roasted-garlic tomato sauce. Sandwiches are served on ciabatta; choose pizza with regular or thin crust. Among the entrées, branzino is imported from Italy; linguini vongole is chock full of clams and prepared perfectly al dente. And the melanzana (eggplant) di parmigiana tastes as if it was made in Nonna’s kitchen. Don’t miss the tiramisu, made in-house and served in a bowl.

The eatery and market are both overseen by Hoss Zargaran, a certified sommelier, master chef, and food and beverage director whose career includes working with Joachim Splichal’s Patina Restaurant Group, Vibrato Grill and Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse.

The cozy space features a leather banquette and sunny, color-washed walls with soft, mood-setting music; Frank Sinatra was playing on a recent visit. A four-seat counter opens to the small kitchen where pizza and freshly baked rolls can be seen coming and going from the nearby oven.

Quite surprising is the full bar program. Cocktails, priced at a reasonable $12.50 ($1 less at lunch), are prepared with house-made bitters, and muddled with fresh fruit and herbs. Classics include the negroni, martini and manhattan. A unique amaro bar holds a finely curated collection of amari—a centuries-old herbal-based Italian liqueur known for its low alcohol content and digestive qualities.

The market’s takeaway counter mirrors the trattoria menu and has tables for patrons who wish to eat in-house. A deli case is filled with cheese and charcuterie. Shelves are lined with predominately Italian and French wines, plus a sprinkling of California varietals (prices from $10 a bottle), as well as a selection of imported groceries and fine liqueurs.

14230 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks