La Bottega on the Bay

Some Omni area condo dwellers have begun venturing down to the street after dark. Hungry ones. They’re picking up fresh, hot meals to go at La Bottega on the Bay at the 1800 Club.

Italian chef Carlo Lanzilotti is behind the counter all day making sure what he puts out is as good as his mama used to make in the Emilia-Romagna region. Wife Leyli Jahangiri manages the till and oversees the other part of the operation: a traditional Italian deli selling imports of olive oil, vinegars, organic pasta, wine, truffle oil and mustard. Shop while you wait.

“It was my husband’s dream to open a place like this,’’ Jahangiri says of Lanzilotti, who worked at Ago at the Shore Club, Casa Tua and the Epic Hotel’s Kyma Lounge. “Finally it’s a reality. We’re blessed.’’ The couple met at Ago seven years ago when Jahangiri was vacationing from her native Canada. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘I’m going to marry you,’” she recounts. “And here we are.”

The deal at La Bottega: You choose a fish, meat or pasta dish with two sides (soup or a salad), plus a drink (canned soda or bottled water). All this costs $13.95 at lunch or dinner. The menu changes daily. On a recent day, the choices were pesto lasagna, tilapia aqua pazza (with garlic, parsley and bread crumbs) and a deliciously filling veal stew. Typical sides are basmati rice, roasted potatoes and cioppino (seafood soup).

Though dessert isn’t included in the combo, be warned: They make a mean torta della nonna, a creamy pie-like treat with pastry shell. Since the weather has been cooler, they’ve been getting more requests for takeout “tavolozzas,” plates of antipasti — cheeses, cold cuts and olives. La Bottega’s clientele is varied: “I see all kinds of people from all sorts of cultures,’’ says Jahangiri. “I think they’re grateful to come in and get a nice, home-cooked meal.’’

There’s a brisk breakfast business here as well. Traditional American dishes are served, like French toast, pancakes and eggs cooked any way. Or pretend you’re in Italy: Grab a nice espresso, munch on bomboloni (marble cake filled with walnuts) and daydream as you gaze at the bay.


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