I grew up in northern Italy in a restaurant family. I watched my chef restauranteur stepfather work in the kitchen and on the floor since I was 10 years old. That is when I fell in love with food and wine. We all cooked at home and had the most extraordinary experiences with ingredients grown in our backyard and beautiful wines that my stepfather would pick from all regions of Italy. Before he had to sell the restaurant because of health issues he actually was nominated top chef in Italy in the year 1980. When I came to California in 1991 to study finance I quickly gravitated back towards the restaurant business and worked in Italian restaurants ever since. Living in Santa Monica and experiencing the Farmers Market moved me to start Orto (Italian for “vegetable garden”) where I unite local ingredients and organic herbs grown here at the restaurant with traditional Italian recipes. We also created a cocktail list with premium spirits and herbs that you can enjoy before dinner at the table or bar. Our wine list focuses on sustainable and organic producers. My family (you will often see my wife and kids here) welcomes you with open arms to make you feel like you are back home with us in Italy.