Obikà Mozzarella Bar Opens This September 2010 in Los Angeles

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By • Aug 4th, 2010 • Category: Dining and Cuisine

Obikà Mozzarella Bar announces the September 2010 opening of its first Los Angeles location in the Westfield Century City shopping center, adding to the 13 existing locations in five countries. The innovative restaurant concept marries high-quality, local ingredients and traditional Italian products with clean, modern design to create a sophisticated, yet informal, Italian dining experience. The star of Obikà is the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP (Protected Origin Denomination), flown in regularly from Italy’s Paestum and Agro Pontino regions and featured throughout the menu along with other Italian specialties and seasonal California produce. The Westfield Century City Obikà restaurant will be open for lunch, “aperitivo hour,” and dinner, and will be located on the upper level of the shopping center.

Obikà is the brainchild of Silvio Ursini, who debuted the first restaurant in Rome in 2004 and created the concept of the mozzarella bar by fusing the Neapolitan celebration of Mozzarella di Bufala with the reverence for ingredients and stylistic qualities that define Japanese cuisine. Obikà’s California restaurants will be opened and managed by Ursini’s longtime collaborator Raimondo Boggia, president and CEO of B-Ventures USA, LLC, who comes from a strong culinary and business background. Boggia opened the longstanding and Michelin-starred Joia Alta Cucina Naturale in Milan in 1989 and has extensive marketing and communications experience working with and for international luxury and food and beverage brands.

“I am very proud that Obikà is opening in California. The city has become the cradle for new American foodies, and now Angelenos can have everyday access to the freshest mozzarella, that was once only possible to enjoy in southern Italy,” Ursini says. Boggia echoes Ursini’s enthusiasm for opening in Los Angeles and complementing the exceptional mozzarella with local ingredients saying “For the past two years I have been researching the best organic products from local farmers and now they will be paired with the freshest Mozzarella di Bufala that we import from Italy three times a week to create good, fresh, and healthy food that is the focus of Obikà’s menu.”

Rome-based Studio Labics conceptualized Obikà’s unique aesthetic, which incorporates crystal glass containers lining the prominent mozzarella bar and showcasing the focal point of the restaurant—the ingredients. Signature Obikà design elements such as light wood accents and steel wine racks complete the space. In addition to the Mozzarella di Bufala, other items on display include organic fresh greens like arugula and radicchio, cured Italian meats, desserts, and more. The mozzarella bar and raised communal table will accommodate 22 guests, in addition to 25 seats at tables throughout the restaurant, and a patio that seats 28 and allows Obikà guests to enjoy Los Angeles’s temperate weather.

The menu was developed by Obikà chefs in Italy with a focus on highlighting exceptional local and Italian ingredients. The flexible menu makes it just as ideal for a leisurely dinner as a quick lunch, or a destination for the Italian counterpart to happy hour, “aperitivo hour”—which is an early evening snack or light dinner enjoyed along with a glass of wine or cocktail. All menu items are also available for takeout.

The Mozzarella di Bufala served at Obikà is certified DOP and handmade in the Paestum and Agro Pontino regions of Italy. Local dairy farmers make the cheese in the traditional fashion employed for centuries, using their hands for the mozzatura process (mozzare means “to lop off”) to form the individual mozzarellas. Obikà serves a variety of the prized cheese, including the classic; smoked Affumicata; and sweet, creamy Stracciatella di Burrata.

The mozzarella can be enjoyed on its own in a tasting, or alongside cured Italian meats such as Prosciutto Crudo di San Daniele, Speck dell’Alto Adige, Salame Felino, and Culatello. Guests can also choose from a selection of other accompaniments, including Cherry Tomatoes or Grilled Seasonal Vegetables and Light Basil Pesto; Eggplant Caponata alla Siciliana; Sciacca Anchovies, Sundried Tomatoes, and Capers; and Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon. Artfully composed Rotoli made of Mozzarella di Bufala, Bresaola, and Arugula are signature Obikà creations, while a cold Basil and Organic Tomato Soup elevates local ingredients and is served with Stracciatella di Burrata and Crostini.

Heartier appetizers include Fried Breaded Mozzarella, and salads incorporate Italian specialties such as Tuna in Olive Oil, Baby Lettuces, Caperberries, Oven Baked Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes. Pane Cunzato, or roasted bread, is topped with selections such as Spicy Sausage Patè from Calabria, Stracciatella di Burrata, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Capers from Pantelleria, and Salted Ricotta Cheese. First courses include Schiaffoni Gragnano Pasta with Mozzarella di Bufala and Organic Tomato Sauce; Trofie Pasta with light Basil Pesto; and Rice Tortino with Capers from Pantelleria, Sundried Tomatoes, Tuna in Olive Oil, and Mozzarella di Bufala (served cold). Desserts include Ricotta Mousse with Honey, Orange Peel, and Pine Nuts; a flourless Chocolate and Almond Torta Caprese with Organic Gelato; and a traditional Tiramisù. A carefully selected Italian wine list boasts rare finds from small producers throughout the country including Scalabrone rose’ from Tuscany, Greco di tufo from Campania, and Nero di Avola from Sicily. Italian beers will be offered by the bottle, as well as a selection of Obikà’s signature cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks.

Obikà’s 13 locations span five countries with locations throughout Italy, and in London, Kuwait City, Tokyo, and in New York City in the IBM building. The Century City location is Obikà’s first in Los Angeles, with additional locations planned for the near future. Obikà is located on the upper level of the Westfield Century City shopping center adjacent to Borders and will be open for lunch, “aperitivo hour,” and dinner, Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight. For additional information, or to make a reservation, please call 310.55 OBIKA (310.556.2452) or visit Obikà online at www.obikala.com and www.obika.it or on Facebook or Twitter.

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