On the heels of their fifth anniversary, Santa Monica’s Italian hotspot Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar will open a second location in Venice on Monday, October 12. A long-awaited follow-up to the Montana Avenue flagship, co-owners Mario Sabatini and Piero Topputo leased, gutted and renovated the space formerly occupied by Chaya at 110 Navy Street, two blocks from the beach and a short stroll to buzzy shopping destination Rose Avenue. The Venice outpost will offer a similar menu to Forma Santa Monica, including their signature pastas served “dalla forma,” a unique preparation method where freshly cooked pasta is tossed in large hollowed cheese wheels just prior to being served.
“Since opening Forma in 2015, the neighborhood’s enthusiasm and loyalty have exceeded our expectations,” says co-owner and General Manager Mario Sabatini. “Our regulars at Santa Monica are so passionate about the restaurant, and we’re excited to replicate the experience and bring that same energy to Venice.”
Spearheaded by co-owner and Executive Chef Piero Topputo, the menu will remain consistent with Forma Santa Monica, with dishes exclusive to Venice launching in the coming months. Familiar classics will include their signature pastas dalla forma, like the Tortellini with mushrooms, light cream and truffle oil, tossed in a wheel of bella lodi cheese, and the Chitarra Cacio E Pepe tossed in a wheel of pecorino romano. Small plate highlights include rotating Charcuterie, Grilled Spanish Octopus with lentils and harissa, and Burnt Spaghetti Assassina with arrabbiata and dry ricotta cheese. Mains range from the popular Pappardelle Wild Boar Ragout to Branzino with Mediterranean sea bass and roasted julienne of vegetables. Popular desserts include the Nutella Bread Pudding, the Raspberry Limoncello Tart, and the Blue Flight of three blue cheeses paired with dessert wines.
Forma Venice will also offer their wildly popular menu of domestic and imported cheeses, beautifully displayed, arranged, and distributed via a massive “cheese bar” that serves as the grand focal point of the main dining room. The menu features over 70 cheeses, including bloomy rind, washed-rind, blue veined, truffled, soft and hard varieties. The cheese bar will also house three massive cheese wheels, cut lengthwise and used as giant bowls to toss the pasta dalla forma, a process that has become a popular social media moment for diners at the flagship location.
While the Santa Monica location serves beer and wine only, Forma Venice will debut with a full bar and cocktail list created by locally acclaimed mixologist, Vincenzo Marianella, the mastermind behind cocktail programs at Fia and Providence. Highlights from the new menu include the 110 Navy with bourbon, Cynar, Ramazotti Aperitivo, and Jerry Thomas Bitters, the Campanula Sour with grapefruit vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime, red bell pepper, and mint, and the Ninja Negroni, a spin on the Italian classic featuring Toki Japanese whiskey, Nonino Aperitivo, Campari, and a mix of both orange and Peychaud’s bitters. The wine list will mirror Santa Monica’s with dozens of domestic and imported bottles.
In collaboration with Spacecraft Design Group, the Forma team implemented extensive renovations to the 5,000-square-foot space, dividing the existing structure to create a front patio containing roughly half of all seating. Four massive garage-style doors were installed along the exterior wall to create an indoor-outdoor flow. The new patio features a coastal aesthetic with a color palette of white, grey, and midnight blue. Bench style seating holds oversized cushions in contrasting oceanic hues of blue, orange, and yellow, while succulents are lined throughout dividers and overhead beams to add pops of greenery. In contrast to the vibrant patio, designer Kris Keith aimed for a darker, more sophisticated look inside, installing rich walnut veneers throughout, Mid-Century modern furniture and accessories, and dramatic brass lighting fixtures. As a bold point of contrast, the showstopping cheese bar was crafted in white marble and surrounded with chairs so diners can watch as the cooks assemble cheese boards and toss pasta through a glass partition. Behind the bar, a refrigerated display wall showcases all of the restaurant’s soft cheeses and white wines. Meanwhile, the hard cheeses and reds are displayed behind separate glass covered shelves near the dining room entrance. While the interior features an open concept and flow, distinctive seating areas include a main dining room, a semi-private dining room that seats up to 24, a cheese bar, and a traditional bar/lounge with high top tables.
Note that due to Los Angeles County COVID-19 dining restrictions, Forma is only open for dining on the patio. The safety and health of customers and employees is of the utmost importance to Forma leadership, and management is operating in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. Rigorous sanitation practices are in place, in addition to proper distance measured in between tables.
Forma Venice will be open for dinner from 4:00 pm to 10:30 pm daily, with plans to expand their hours for lunch in the near future.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.