Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino!

Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino, California


Berry Panna Cotta & Berry Sorbet at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant

Thursday evening and time for another happy birthday dinner! Neapolitan Italian Food at Gio Cucina Napoletana in Encino. We’ve eaten here before and the food has always been excellent. Tonight’s dinner was a lovely dining experience and the meal was great.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor of a small shopping center/mini-mall on Ventura Blvd and in addition to the small storefront dining room and kitchen there is a large outdoor patio available for dining.

There is limited free parking in the shopping center’s front and rear lots and metered (8am-8pm) street parking available.

The restaurant has been here for years and the food is made with only fresh ingredients. The pasta and gnocchi is made from scratch. They offer rice pasta as a substitution for the “gluten free” diner and have a number of vegetarian options on the menu.

There’s a nice selection of appetizers, vegetable soups and fancy salads (and they have a Caesar Salad that’s off the menu but easily ordered with or without anchovies). There’s pizza, pasta, meat and fish entrees on the menu and always creative daily specials on the whiteboard in the dining room. If you like lasagna, try their beef or chicken lasagna.


Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

We got there early and chose to sit inside. We had the dining room all to ourselves for most of our meal. It got busy inside just as we were finishing up.

Everything is made to order and you can almost watch them cook from across the dining room. Fresh baked bread and olive tapenade are offered as a starter. They have a nice selection of wine by the bottle or glass to choose from and their desserts are very tasty.

This picture and cutout from Valley Magazine was above our table in the dining room and provides a wonderful description of the restaurant and the dining experience:


Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

“Gio’s Cucina Napoletana is a tiny restaurant with a big heart. Toques off to chef and owner Roberto Castellanos, who cooks with olive oil rather than butter, makes pasta from scratch and bakes mini-loaves of killer bread for each table.From his minuscule open kitchen, Castellanos presides over a menu of variety and quality. His dairy-free pureed vegetable soups have deep, rich flavor. His radicchio, endive, fennel and shaved Parmesan salad could pass muster at a  far fancier restaurant. And his homemade spaghetti with seafood in white wine-tomato sauce with roasted garlic is hearty, tasty,old-fashioned fare. I’ve yet to try the cracker thin pizza, but it’s next on the list. Prices are reasonable, making it easy to go back.” – Valley Magazine May-June 2008


On The Menu: Meat Lasagna, 1/2 Caesar Salad, fresh baked bread with olive tapenade, fried calamari with marinara sauce, berry panna cotta & berry sorbet, tiramisu and a coke

NOTE: There was also lobster & vegetable risotto and mushroom & vegetable pasta as the other entrees (not pictured). Both dishes received excellent reviews!


Meat Lasagna with pasta and sauce made from scratch!


NOTE: We sent the fried calamari back. It was pan fried, not deep fried, in a very light batter and two of us were fine with the preparation, but two of us didn’t like it.

Here’s a pic of one of the best dishes we ordered at a previous dinner: Hawaiian Prawns with spaghetti, garlic and olive oil:


From a Previous Dinner: Hawaiian prawns with spaghetti, garlic & olive oil

Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant15826 Ventura Blvd., 2nd Floor, Encino

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel


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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

gio cucina crop

Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino at Night


Updated December 29, 2016
A nice dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana
Fresh baked bread, fried calimari with marinara sauce, beef lasagna and a coke


Updated Friday, April 7, 2017
Dinner delivered!
Spaghetti bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread: Excellent!


Spaghetti Bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread


UPDATED Friday April 28, 2017:


Beef Lasagna at Gio Cucina Napoletana

My old college friend Kent came out to the valley and took me to dinner. We went to Gio Cucina Napoletana and had some great Italian food. Carpacchio, fresh baked bread and olive tapenade, fried calamari, Caesar salad, beef lasagna, tiramisu, red wine (cabernet sauvignon) and a coke. So much fun, I even took a selfie.


Selfie! Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana with Kent


Happy Mother’s Day! Dinner at Cafe Carolina!

Happy Mother’s Day! Italian Cuisine at Cafe Carolina in the San Fernando Valley.

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Italian Cuisine (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

My brother chose the restaurant for our Mother’s Day celebration. Cafe Carolina (pronounced Caroleeeeena) is a small Italian restaurant on Ventura Blvd. that we’ve driven past but never tried until last night. We had an early reservation at 6pm and by the time we finished the restaurant was full. Everyone was celebrating Mother’s Day and the atmosphere was festive.

Cafe Carolina

Cafe Carolina – Italian Cuisine (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The decor is simple “no frills”, nice-casual, with art-for-sale on the walls by a local artist.

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Bruschetta (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

On the menu: I enjoyed the Bread with red sauce, Bruschetta, Lasagna (with meat), Tiramisu and a Cream Soda. We also tried the Ravioli and Linguine specials, a Caesar salad, Rigatoni with meat sauce, red/white wine and a Berry Cobbler ala mode’.

Everything was excellent! The pesto sauce on the bruschetta was delicious. My tasty lasagna was made with organic pasta and angus beef. There was only a little red sauce, so the wonderful flavor of the spiced meat and pasta wasn’t smothered in tomato.

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Lasagna with Angus Beef (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Ravioli special with beef & cheese was perfectly spiced with nutmeg and herbs.

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Ravioli (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The linguine special with Italian sausage wasn’t too spicy. The wine was excellent and the pricing by the bottle and the glass was very good!

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Linguine (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Tiramisu was billed on the menu as “the best in the valley”, and while that might not be true, it was pretty good.

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Tiramisu! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina – Berry Cobbler ala mode’  (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Carolina –  17934 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316  www.organiccafecarolina.com/