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On the heels of its fifth anniversary in Santa Monica, Italian eatery Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar will open in Venice on Monday, October 12, 2020. Co-Owners Mario Sabatini and Piero Topputo leased, gutted, and renovated the space formerly occupied by Chaya, at 110 Navy Street, to open Forma, two blocks from the beach, and a short stroll to Rose Avenue. The Venice outpost will offer a similar menu to Forma Santa Monica, including its signature pasta served “dalla forma,” a 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,” Sabatini said Friday in a press release. “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.”
Topputo, who acts as executive chef, has created a menu consistent with Forma Santa Monica, with the addition of dishes exclusive to Venice launching in the coming months. Familiar classics will include its signature pasta 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 its menu of domestic and imported cheeses 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, to use in the pasta dalla forma process described above.
While the Santa Monica location serves beer and wine only, Forma Venice will debut with a full bar and cocktail list created by local Mixologist Vincenzo Marianella whose resume includes the 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. 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,” according to the release. “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 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, with plans to expand its hours for lunch in the near future.