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Bruno’s Italian Kitchen is one of my go-to Italian eateries. They truly understand and execute the essence of good Italian food. Placed in the heart of Brea Downtown, this restaurant is just the right mix of casual and upmarket dining. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, so that guests may enjoy the mood lighting with a sit-down-feel inside, or the beautiful Southern California weather with the downtown ambiance outside.

Starting off, their appetizers are delicious. A popular appetizer at Bruno’s is their risotto balls, Arancini. When dipped in marinara sauce, these risotto balls will have you begging for more. Another appetizer that I tried was their Crudo di Tonno, which is fresh tuna with avocado, blood orange, cucumber, radish, and aperol-citrus vinaigrette. I’m not a big fish-eater, but this was a plate that I liked. The avocado really tied everything together.

My absolute favorite type of food is pasta, and Bruno’s house-made pastas are to die for! Most recently, I had the Penne al Pesto which has homemade basil and arugula, fresh ricotta, toasted pine nuts, and pecorino chianti. I finished the entire plate and was pining for more, despite my full stomach. The Winter Squash Ravioli is also delicious. It is filled with roasted winter squash, ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, sage brown-butter, and hazelnuts.

I had never had this type of ravioli before, and now it’s one of my favorites!

Personally, I can’t go to an Italian restaurant without trying their spaghetti and meatballs. Bruno’s uses Nonna Maria’s special meatball recipe, which made me question if I can ever have anyone else’s meatballs again! The sauce was one of the best I have ever tasted, and overall, I loved the meal. Anyone who likes spaghetti and meatballs will love Bruno’s spaghetti and meatballs.

Outside of pasta, Bruno’s has seabass, chicken, pork chops, scallops, and their popular ‘Flat Iron’ steak. They also have quite a few gluten-free and vegetarian options. As you can see, Bruno’s has a meal for everybody. On the rare occasion when I’m not in the mood for pasta, I’ll go for the chicken or the steak. The Pan Roasted Mary’s Chicken has marsala, roasted baby carrots, and wild mushroom-fig farro. The Prime ‘Flat Iron’ Steak is grilled perfectly to your preference and has roasted Yukon gold potatoes, cipollini onions, brussel sprouts, and parmesan bread crumbs.

Bruno’s has a delicious selection of desserts, as well. One popular choice is the Panna Cotta. This is a custard dish topped with raspberries which creates a heavenly combination of sweet and fruity. Another popular dessert is, of course, gelato. They have dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and pistachio gelato, each amazing in taste (depending on your preference).

If you’re a fan of alcoholic beverages, Bruno’s bar is just for you! They have an amazing selection of beers, wines, and more. Being Italian, it’s no surprise that their variety of Californian and Italian wines are top-notch. In fact, they have Wine-d Down Wednesdays where they have a half-off special on all their wine (by the glass and/or bottle). Another great thing about Wine-d Down Wednesdays is the live acoustic music. I am a big music fan, myself, and this feature puts just the right touch to the overall experience

The story behind Bruno’s Italian Kitchen is just as feel-good as the food. Named after Chef Peter’s father and mentor, Bruno, the restaurant brings Peter’s savory upbringing to life. He was raised in Venice where his father and grandmother were very involved with the meals in the household. In fact, his grandmother, Nonna Maria, would go to the local market twice a day to gather ingredients for lunch or dinner. Bruno’s embodies Peter’s wholesome experience growing up, with the food being just as simple and rustic as his Papa’s and Nonna’s.

With the great staff, great food, and great story, I can’t wait to go back to Bruno’s Italian Kitchen!

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