About Us


Locanda del Lago is dedicated to providing the highest-quality restaurant experience to our customers. Comprised of authentic, Northern Italian recipes prepared and served by courteous, knowledgeable, motivated staff, we are united in our philosophy of welcoming guests to gather, eat, drink and enjoy life as it is done on the lakeshore of Bellagio, Italy.

Lago is family-owned and operated; staff and guests are welcomed and treated as family. Dishes are prepared with authentic Italian products in conjunction with the freshest organic produce and sustainable, all-natural meats, sourced locally when possible. 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 
11:45 am – 10:00 pm

Friday: 
11:45 am – 11:00 pm

Saturday: 
10:45 am – 11:00 pm

Sunday: 
10:45 am – 10:00 pm

Location

231 Arizona Avenue
Santa Monica, CA — 90401
(310) 451-3525

Parking

Self parking available in the public structures. The closest structure to us is #4 between Arizona and Wilshire on 2nd Street.

VALET

Available from 6:00 pm nightly in front of the restaurant.

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West Hooker-Poletti, Owner

Born in Milan, West Hooker-Poletti spent much of his youth in Lombardy’s well-known capital city and later in Bellagio, the idyllic village in northern Italy known as “the pearl of Lake Como.”

Moving to the United States at age 18, intending to establish his career in the hotel industry, Hooker-Poletti enrolled at Cornell University’s renowned School of Hotel Administration, graduating with top honors.

After earning his degree, he became assistant food and beverage director at the Mayfair Regent Hotel in New York. At the time, the hotel housed the world-famous Le Cirque restaurant and its legendary owner Sirio Maccioni, who imparted many wise business pointers to the young manager.

Upon returning to California, a strong entrepreneurial spirit moved Hooker-Poletti to conceive of his own dining establishment, and in 1991 the restaurateur opened Locanda del Lago in Santa Monica. “Lago truly started as a window into my past,” he notes. “It focuses on the cuisine I grew up with and the flavors I know best.”

West leads the restaurant along with his wife, Karin Fumagalli, and their 2 children. The family can often be found dining on the patio and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Stop by and say hi!

Megan Heritage, General Manager

If the chef at Locanda del Lago is the restaurant's soul, then General Manager Megan Heritage is its heart.  Respected, highly regarded, and a favorite of her staff and Lago's patrons, Megan's superb operation of the restaurant is a key reason for its popularity and success.

Megan, who has worked at Lago since 1996, began as a server then promoted to lead server/trainer, assistant manager, and eventually General Manager. Most notably, Megan was concurrently studying Electrical Engineering at California State University, Long Beach, as a full time student, where she graduated with honors. As a grad, Megan received many offers to work as an engineer, but her passion for the restaurant industry prevailed. She accepted the position of General Manager of Locanda del Lago and continues to grow and improve all aspects of the restaurant. In 2006, Megan enabled expansion of the company by opening Caffé Bellagio and running both locations simultaneously.

Megan says, "My motivation stems from a constant love for, dedication to and passion for the restaurant business, and specifically to Locanda del Lago and Caffé Bellagio where I am able to grow along with the restaurant. The pride of knowing I have created something special and that my employees feel better and stronger having worked for me is the greatest gift. Whether it is by educating, motivating or coaching my team, they always feel that our main goal is to further ourselves in knowledge and to enhance Lago or Caffé Bellagio as a special place to be."

Megan currently works very closely with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Monica Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Downtown Santa Monica in order to support the community as well as aide Santa Monica to become an internationally recognized destination. She currently is the co-chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s committee PeBL, Professionals emerging as Business Leaders and sits on the Hospitality Committee. She was also the implementer and ambassador of Lago’s green certification and an integral part of Lago winning the Grand Prize at the 2015 Sustainable Quality Awards.

Daniele Turchetti, Chef

Daniele was born in 1968 in a Porpetto, a town in Italy situated in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Both of his parents worked full time. When they were away, he spent most of his days with his grandmother, where he learned to cultivate wild mushrooms and tend to her garden. In his family not only was food eaten out of necessity, it was part of their culture, helping mold him into who he is today. His passion for food and cooking grew so strong, that in 1991, he opened Bottega Turchetti, a specialty food store where he prepared and sold organic meats.

He continued this endeavor until 1995, when he met Lombardo Berardino, the proprietor of La Caveja, located in Pietravairano Campania. La Caveja was a sustainable foods restaurant where they raised their own animals, harvested their own vegetables, and made their own olive oil.

In 1999 he returned to his hometown, and was presented with an opportunity to work in Blasut Restaurant. Working there, he traveled to New York to Hostaria Mazzei to participate with other chefs from Friuli to introduce their rustic Italian food, such as homemade Italian sausage, Burrata, pasta and other rustic dishes to New Yorkers.

In New York, he had the pleasure of meeting Domenico Avelluto, Giuseppe Guglielmi and Vito Cinquepalmi, the owners of Mazzei. They offered him a position that would make his dream of coming to America true. Soon, after that, he became chef of Hostaria Mazzei in Westchester, NY.

In 2004 he was hired by Fireman Hospitality Group to become executive chef of Café Fiorello.  In 2005, he became executive chef of Bond45 in New York.  In 2010, for same company, he opened Bond 45 National Harbor and then went back to New York as the executive chef for Trattoria dell Arte, famous for hand-made thin pizza, named best pizza in New York.

In 2011, he moved once more to open Bond45 in Washington DC.  The restaurant is a well-reviewed, Italian steakhouse, also known for their Italian Antipasto and fresh pasta dishes.

Most recently, with family in Los Angeles, he came to LA for vacation.  He fell in love with the area, (especially the weather) so he decided to look for opportunities in the Golden State, and found Locanda del Lago.  With Lago, he has brought his home-made sausage and burrata cheese making skills to the restaurant, as well as developing creative, delicious seasonal dishes.

 

Sister Locations

Caffé Bellagio
For a quick bite of Northern Italy, stop by Caffé Bellagio... a panini & gelato coffee house in the heart of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Villa Poletti
Villa Poletti is a magnificent home, owned by the Hooker Poletti family, located in Bellagio, Italy with breathtaking views of Lake Como.

The villa towers over the small hamlet of San Giovanni with its quaint harbor, boat landing, pebble beaches, historical church, restaurant, grocer and a small post office.

The Villa is available for guest stays. The Villa also includes the services of a gourmet Italian chef upon request.


AWARDS

Sustainable Quality Awards Grand Prize Winner - 2015

Green Certified Business since 2013

WINNER – Santa Monica Daily Press 2014
• Most Loved Business Utilizing Locally Sourced Ingredients
• Most Loved Downtown Santa Monica Business
•Most Loved Happy Hour (runner up)

FINALIST – Santa Monica Daily Press 2015
• Most Loved Business Utilizing Locally Sourced Ingredients
• Most Loved Happy Hour
• Most Loved Downtown Santa Monica Business

Downtown Santa Monica Eclipse Award 2013-2014

Santa Monica Jaycees
Distinguished Service Award 2013

Marchio Q Award

Santa Monica Chamber Chairman Award 1999



PHILANTHROPY

Locanda del Lago strongly believes in giving back to the community. We have given time and resources to many local organizations such as:

KidSave

Upward Bound House

SM Boys and Girls Club

Heal the Bay

American Cancer Society Relay for Life

Connections for Children

Chrysalis

Meals on Wheels

American Red Cross

Baby Buggy

Westside Food & Hunger Coalition

YMCA