Our good friend Eric joined Joel and I for lunch today, and we decided to head over to Ristorante daVinci in Long Beach. Ristorante daVinci takes up the top floor of a 3-story building that sits next to the runways at the Long Beach Airport. Joel had eaten there a couple of times before and had recommended that we try it out for lunch.
Considering that daVinci is in an industrial area next to an airport, it's a pleasant surprise to step out of the elevator and find yourself in an elegant and spacious restaurant. This is definitely not your everyday airport diner. We were seated next to the huge windows looking down onto the airport runways, which made for a very pleasant atmosphere on a sunny Friday afternoon.
We started out with daVinci's affettato misto, which is a selection of various types of salami, prosciutto, candied pecans, marinated olives, figs and a couple of very light and airy pastries.
Eric is keeping himself at optimum fighting weight, and so opted for the Napoli insalate, a salad of mixed greens, grilled ahi, garbanzos and other mixed veggies with a citrus vinaigrette.
Joel went with the salmone di vegetale, wild Columbia River salmon served with sauteed pea tendrils, young potatoes and oven-blistered cherry tomatoes.
I wanted a sandwich, so I picked their bistecca pagnottelle. They start with beef brisket which has been slow roasted for 12 hours, mix in some carmelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, mozzarella and a horseradish cream sauce and serve it on a ciabatta roll. The sandwich was delicious, the meat melting in my mouth, but I think I would have preferred a crunchier bread than ciabatta. A French-style roll that's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside would have really taken that sandwich over the top, but that's a minor quibble. I seemed to be the only one at the table with anything critical to say, and we were all happy with the food.
Ok, so the food is yummy, the atmosphere elegant. The prices are a little on the high side, but reasonable for what you get in my opinion. What else should you know about daVinci? Helicopter rides! On Friday and Saturday nights, daVinci offers helicopter tours over Long Beach paired with drink specials for $60 per person. On Fridays, you get a flight of three wines to give you a bit of liquid courage before your flight. On Saturdays, its daVinci's hand-crafted martinis. In addition, they periodically offer airship rides over Long Beach. Check daVinci's website for their schedule. You might also be interested in their Happy Hour specials, which are offered Monday through Saturday 4-7pm and include cocktail, wine and beer selections for $5 as well as $7 appetizers.
I'm definitely heading back sometime soon for a helicopter ride!