Like Agostino Sciandri's other recent restaurant opening, Toscanova at the Century City Mall, Caffe Roma has several distinct dining areas including an extensive indoor room, a secluded outdoor patio space, as well as a hipper bar area up front with retro wall paper and a good view out onto Canon Drive. The menu, too, is eerily similar to Toscanova's.
Here you'll find the same appetizers like octopus and potatoes, fried calamari, a small eggplant parmigiana, and steamed mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce. The salads are also the same, including the one with mozzarella and tomatoes, another with baby spinach and cherry tomatoes with grilled bacon and dry ricotta, and another with dark red beets sliced paper thin and topped with arugula and frissé, walnuts and wheels of creamy goat cheese.
There are several pasta and risotto dishes like the fusilli with pesto sauce, potatoes and green beans, and umbricelli with sweet sausage and wild mushrooms, while there are also simple meat and fish courses like a chicken paillard, filet mignon with parmesan and arugula, grilled wild salmon with string beans and asparagus, and a traditional branzino filet topped with thinly sliced potatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions and olives.
For a little more excitement, stray from the normal menu options with specials like the braesola salad with endive, arugula and parmesan; a citrus tuna tartare; fresh Chilean sea bass with cherry tomatoes; or a fish ravioli made with grouper and halibut.
Desserts are equally standard, and include Italian staples like Tiramisu, traditional torta della nonna, and assorted gelati.
The crowd at lunch featured a sleepy who's who of the Beverly Hills over 50 set, but that also included a surprise appearance by the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, so we were satisfied by the celebrity factor.