Review: Bianca Bakery brings Europe to your plate

The+counter+at+Bianca+displays+the+days+pastries%2C+ranging+from+banana+bread+to+olive+oil+cake+by+the+slice.+Located+at+Platform+LA%2C+Bianca+serves+as+both+a+bakery+and+restaurant+for+the+Culver+City+area.

Photo credit: Greta Irvine

The counter at Bianca displays the day’s pastries, ranging from banana bread to olive oil cake by the slice. Located at Platform LA, Bianca serves as both a bakery and restaurant for the Culver City area.

By Greta Irvine, News Editor

With the suspension of international travel, memories of old trips to the scenic streets of Italy or mid-day meals at a French cafe linger in some minds. And while only domestic getaways are feasible at the moment, stopping by Bianca Bakery sure makes you feel like you’re in Europe.

The Culver City bakery and restaurant was opened a few years ago by brothers Gianni and Nicola Vietina (founders of Madeo Ristorante in Beverly Hills) and chef Federico Fernande. Located at Platform LA, Bianca serves as both your neighborhood bread and pastry supplier as well as a remarkable breakfast, lunch and dinner stop. 

Over the past year, I have become a frequenter at Bianca, paying a visit every Sunday to restock on bread and pastries. So trust me when I tell you the truly unique experience provided at Bianca is not one you want to miss. 

When you arrive, it is all but impossible to miss the racks of freshly baked breads and pizzas lining the glass walls at the entrance. Looking to the left, you will see the charming patio outlined by olive trees that serves as an elegant, Covid-safe and family-friendly setting for a meal. Upon entering the building, I often feel transported to a little European cafe bustling with customers, lively music, and busy chefs.

An array of pastries line the counter and (from my experience) a smiling server waits to help you with your order. While some may admire the polished building with quick service and the more than appealing pastries, my favorite part of Bianca is the feeling of being inside a legitimate Italian kitchen where pizzas are twirling in the air to the right, and, from the back, shouts of orders and laughter fly across the room.

But back to the most important part: the food. On my weekly bakery runs, the rosemary focaccia and sesame round loaf always find their way onto the receipt. I have tried my fair share of focaccia, even sampling some in Italy itself, but the light, fluffy, salty bread from Bianca that leaves a trace of olive oil on your fingers is unmatchable.

I don’t have enough adjectives in my vocabulary to do the pastries justice. The almond croissants are light and flakey with a natural sweetness and dusted with power sugar, the pistachio bostock is fluffy and airy with a light syrup and salty pistachio aftertaste and the one of a kind chocolate zucchini bread is a dense cake with dark chocolate chunks that may seem daunting to finish but trust me you can and will do it. And of course the European owners don’t shy away from a superb café; my knowledge on the drink menu is limited to only a cappuccino and iced matcha, but I was impressed by both. Overall, the price is fair for the bread and pastries, but make sure you grab some in the morning before they sell out.

Before I begin raving about the restaurant menu featuring a blend of Italian, Argentinian and French flavors, I must note a downside to the restaurant: The price for a meal is very high, especially in comparison to the serving size. While I appreciate the fresh ingredients, $26 for a salad is excessive. 

However, if you do treat yourself to a meal at Bianca, let me share some of my goto’s: For breakfast or brunch the tomato bisque-avocado toast is a flavorful twist on the LA classic, and the Spanish tortilla uses simple ingredients to make a masterfully tasty meal. For lunch, the prosciutto sandwiches, which can be ordered at the counter, pack a rich punch with freshly baked bread and layers of sharp cheeses and prosciutto that you are sure to not find anywhere else in the city. Dinner was recently added to the restaurant hours so the verdict is still out on the items of the evening menu. 

Last but certainly not least, the desert at Bianca is truly something to behold. Whether you are ordering for a special occasion or going by the slice, the olive oil cake is a simple sweet and savory delight and the dulce de leche coconut tart has a sugary, rich filling and a surprisingly complimentary blend of flavors. 

The charm of the restaurant does not end with the ambiance and food; the family story behind Bianca is sure to make you smile. As written on the website, Bianca was named after the grandmother of Gianni and Nicola who was a self-taught chef, hosting feasts for her neighbors using ingredients she grew in the garden. “Everyone in Forte Dei Marmi has stories to tell about Bianca around the nights they gathered to drink and dine together. Her culinary achievements are not based on accolades or awards but on the merit and heart of her recipes.” And at the center of the restaurant’s recipes is flour. “To help feed her family and neighbors during WWII, Bianca obtained flour the only way she could – by courageously hiking 14 days alone through the Apuan Alps with 90lbs of salt to trade for 90lbs of flour.”

I really do think Bianca is a treasure in Los Angeles. Whether you go for a pastry, coffee, mid-day meal, fancy dinner, or for one of the many special occasion meals they provide on holidays like Mothers day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can promise you it won’t disappoint. At a restaurant so centered in authentic flavors and family tradition, you are sure to be transported to Europe for a flavorful bite or scrumptious meal.

Restaurant Review
  • Service
  • Price
  • Food
  • Environment
4.3

Summary

Bianca is a restaurant and bakery at Platform LA in Culver City that sells fresh breads and pastries as well a variety of European dishes and desserts. The unique food and atmosphere at Bianca makes for an exceptional experience.