If you name a place Delizia Cafe, the food had better deliver. Unfortunately, what they call food at Delizia is anything but delicious.
Victor and I had been stuck inside our Venice Beach pad most of Sunday and wanted to get outside for a nice walk and to grab a quick bite. I have bladed past Delizia many times since it opened last year and have always wanted to try it. Something about its modern outdoor decor, bright orange sign and simple Italian menu made it looked enticing. But clearly the boardwalk location is the only thing keeping this place hopping.
Delizia has sunset specials every night that include beer, drinks like sangria and what they call “tapas.” Perhaps the use of the Spanish word “tapas” instead of the Italian “cicchetti” for small plates — not to mention the Spanish Sangria — should have tipped us off that this would be nothing like the Italian food we spent our honeymoon grazing on every day. The only authentically European thing about Delizia was the vast number of smokers. (Their palates must be burned out.)
We ordered the pizzette, cannellini crostini and four pieces of dark meat roasted chicken with greens and garlic. The four tiny squares of pizzette on thick bread ($5) barely resembled any pizza I had ever seen. It looked and tasted like it had been sitting around all day. The cheese was burnt. The toppings were dried out. One of the pieces tasted like cardboard. We complained to the waitress, and she said, “I’m sorry, should I bring some olive oil and vinegar to spice it up?” OK, but no amount of oil and vinegar was going to make this pizza edible. The Amy’s Organic and Trader Joe’s frozen pizzas at home are far superior, and that’s kind of scary.
The crostini topped with a mixture of white beans, onions and parsley ($5) was bland but edible. It also tasted like it had been mixed hours before and refrigerated. Clearly they don’t make the tapas fresh at Delizia. I splashed some vinegar on that just to kick it up a notch, too.
Next she brought out chicken, along with a supposedly “clean” plate that had bits of food still stuck to the surface. Vic’s plate was also dirty. At this point, I was a little afraid to eat the chicken. It was slightly pink in the middle, and I had visions of salmonella running through my brain. Victor was equally unimpressed by our meal.
Despite our trepidation, we asked for fresh plates and did eat the chicken ($10). It was moist and mildly spiced, accompanied by broccoli and greens that were drowning in lemon juice and chunks of garlic. It’s been an hour, and I haven’t gotten sick so far, but that’s probably the ony compliment I can generate. The roasted chicken at Ralph’s is much better.
Delizia Cafe and Catering, 301 Oceanfront Walk, Venice Beach
–Photo courtesy of YoVenice.com