Italian Trio Debuts Caffé Italia, a Classic Trattoria, in Sherman Oaks

Native Italians Freddie Donadelli, Cosimo Di Vaia and Armando Liuzzo unite to open Caffé Italia, a classic trattoria in Sherman Oaks.

Sometimes timeless restaurants can surface in unexpected places. Caffé Italia debuted in a Sherman Oaks strip mall on April 15, thanks to the joint efforts of three native Italians: Freddie Donadelli, Cosimo Di Vaia and Armando Liuzzo.

Freddie and Armando worked at local Italian restaurants like Via Alloro, Pastaio and Panzanella, and Cosimo was an avid customer. Freddie grew up outside Milan; Cosimo is from Naples; and Armando hails from Sicily. Together they developed a diverse Italian menu. Chef Gerardo Posa spent 25 years working in Italian restaurants before signing on with Caffé Italia.

Their space occupies the corner of a plaza that also houses Falafel Grill, The Donut Factory and King of India Tandoori Restaurant. A small patio features green flooring and three umbrella-shaded tables. The restaurant shines more indoors, with marble tables and photos of the Naples area, including pizzas and coastline. Two-toned walls include white Venetian plaster with shiny marble powder in the base and brown plaster mixed with crushed seashells from Venetian artist Fabio Losurdo.

When it comes to the restaurant’s food, Freddie describes it as “everyday Italian dishes that families cook at home.” He’s particularly proud of pizza featuring dough made in-house daily. Other cornerstone dishes include farfalle with salmon and pink vodka sauce, homemade potato gnocchi with beef ragù alla Bolognese, and risotto with a wealth of vegetables: carrots, green peas, broccoli, onions and celery. For dessert, cross your fingers and hope the occasional off-menu tiramisu will surface during your meal.

14056 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-465-3690

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