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Photo courtesy of Jason Witzl. Above: Ellie’s chittara pomodoro.
It’s already official: less than two months after much-beloved Alamitos Beach eatery At Last Cafe closed its doors, its replacement has opened their doors to bring Southern Italian food to the hearts and bellies of Long Beach eaters.
Ellie’s is headed by Chef Jason Witzl—the former chef de cuisine at WeHo’s famed Herringbone as well as its former executive chef for the Santa Monica location—and is named after his grandmother.
The menu is a definitively Italian step away from its previous owner’s French-centric focus on bistro food.
Southern Italian food eschews cream sauces—a marker of Northern Italian cuisine that touched with French food—and goes for heavy vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli rabe in the winter and eggplant and tomatoes in the warmer months. It’s the birthplace of burrata, from Puglia (also home to the famed Pugliese-style bread that serves as a main component of Southern Italian food since many families were poor in the region when nobility ruled) and fresh mozzarella from Campania (also home to Napolitano-style pizza). The region of Abruzzo offers some of the best use of lamb in any form of cuisine,
So, you’ll find Witzl playing with chittara pomodoro [pictured top]. Or housemade agnolotti, a Northern Italian pasta, originating in Piedmont, that he cleverly pulls a southern trick with: he stuffs with pork cheek, chicken liver, golden raisins, pine nuts, and roasted apples. Or crudo made with Ahi tuna and topped with Calabrian chile, poppy seeds, pistachios, and beets. Or simply grilled bread with pork butter.
If the menu tastes as good as it sounds, Ellie’s will be a warm welcome to the Alamitos Beach food scene.
Ellie’s is located at 204 Orange Ave.