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Café Fiore Serves Up Authentic Italian in a Valley Office Bar

For many years, Café Fiore has satisfied the locals in Ventura with its tasty Italian food. The owners are getting closer to LA now with a new location on the first floor of a huge office building near Warner Center in Woodland Hills. At a media tasting event this summer, local journalists enjoyed the company of the effervescent Chef Silverio Posarelli, his fragrant aged cheeses and colorful antipasto plates, and a five-alarm fire brick oven pizza.

Specialty cocktails and pillowy soft freshly baked bread could make your meal alone, but that's simply not necessary because there are so many other tasty choices on the menu.

Every dish that exemplified the traditional rustic style, illustrated by Posarelli with colorful stories tableside, was delicious, but it was the tortellaci di zucca, or butternut squash-filled pasta in parmesan sage cream sauce, that elicited the closed eyes and soft groans of pleasure from diners. It's like dessert for dinner, and is something everyone should eat at least once. Dessert itself included a chocolate lava concoction that is worth a drive from any point in town.

Destined to become an after-work-cocktail destination for the Warner Center business crowd, or a groovy place to get lunch considering the sizable deli counter inside the restaurant, Café Fiore will also be a lovely spot for special family meals or intimate dates that involve delicious wine, $10 artisan cocktails, and lingering over several courses of dinner and dessert.

The ambiance inside Café Fiore (which conveniently validates 2 hours of parking under the building - after all, parking shouldn't be an issue in the Valley) is all dimly-lit and sports bar liveliness. Several booths on the patio close your party in for an intimate meal with their high backs and crafted lamps. Take that one step further inside the bar in the curtained booths that are lit only by candles.

Almost everywhere you look, there is an interesting story behind the element of decor that you see. For example, the sides of the wooden booths are made of planks of wood reclaimed from an old ship, hand-installed by the chef and his partners. The booth tables are made from old wine crates. In the ladies' room, you'll pass the time while listening to Italian lessons piped in over the loudspeaker. Perhaps you'll leave the loo with a new phrase to share with your waiter.

Guests have access to free two-hour parking with validation at the Café Fiore restaurant in Woodland Hills. Happy hour begins at 5 p.m., 7 nights a week, and all champagnes and wines are 30 percent off in the Martini Bar. There is live music in the bar Wednesday – Friday and starting September 15, there will also be a DJ Saturday nights starting at 10 p.m.

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Kim Tracy Prince is the managing editor of Best of Los Angeles and Orange County on CBS Local Los Angeles.

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