Growing up in northern Italy, my family cooked at home and had the most extraordinary experiences with ingredients grown in our backyard, paired with the wines my chef/restaurateur stepfather would bring back from regions throughout Italy.

I fell in love with food as a child watching my stepfather, once nominated a top chef in Italy, work in restaurant kitchens and floors. It’s no surprise that when I came to California in 1991 to study finance, I quickly gravitated back to the restaurant business, and have worked in Italian restaurants here ever since.

Moving to Santa Monica and experiencing the Farmers Market inspired me to start Orto – Italian for “vegetable garden” – where I meld local ingredients and organic herbs grown here at the restaurant to create traditional Italian recipes. At our bar you’ll find a cocktail list created from fresh herbs and premium spirits, and our wine list focuses on sustainable and organic producers.