Fish Encino

Spinachi Serves Eclectic Kosher Italian Food in Encino

Spinachi is a new Kosher Italian restaurant in Encino that widens the definition of Kosher cuisine and frequently defies categorization.

Aside from the occasional sushi bar, Kosher cuisine tends to focus on Israeli fare. However, the new Spinachi in Encino widens the spectrum, defying categorization.

Pizza and pasta predominate at Spinachi, though Tel Aviv-born owner Alen Hatvil also serves some stylish salads and creative fish dishes. Entrees hover around $20.

Grilled Denise, aka seam bream, features three crisp-skinned, well-peppered filets that are dressed with chimichurri and plated in a pool of ginger sauce with a vegetable medley that might include cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. Grilled salmon and branzino are other options. Both plates come with roasted vegetables and fashionable swooshes of sauce.

These fish dishes didn’t feel very Italian, but Alen says that fish comes from all over the world and he didn’t want to serve a fish you could find at any other restaurant in L.A. He also wanted to avoid the kind of baked fish in heavy tomato sauce that he eats on Shabbat.

Pasta dishes include spaghetti and lasagna, but Alen is most proud of his house-made, rectangular ravioli with thin skins. Atypical preparations consist of ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, dressed with beet cream and spinach sauce, and sweet potato ravioli slathered with white Alfredo sauce.

Build your own pizza is another option. Toppings include kalamata olives, feta cheese and corn kernels. If you arrive early enough, Spinachi also serves a breakfast omelet plate with Israeli salad and shakshuka co-starring house-baked bread. Flaky burekas (savory pastries) filled with cheese and olives are also a.m.-friendly.

The glass-fronted space features floor-to-ceiling wood (including furniture) and a small patio.

Spinachi is a new part of a growing family business. His wife’s nephew Sam Bendavid runs Darna in Woodland Hills with Sam’s mother, Aviva, serving excellent Morrocan-Israeli food. Given their collective repertoire, one question remains: How do we get invited to their holiday dinners?

17930 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-776-0184

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