Outside of downtown, the dining epicenter has shifted from the Mozza multiplex (the Pizzeria, Osteria and carnivore emporium Chi Spacca) to République, in the building formerly occupied by Campanile (and once, long ago, Charlie Chaplin’s offices). By thrusting the bar into the courtyard, altering table heights and widths, opening up the kitchen and installing a pair of grand communal tables beneath the soaring central atrium, chef Walter Manzke and his designer Osvaldo Maiozzi have created the city’s ultimate gathering place, a public house serving up three meals daily to all comers. Manzke’s fanatical devotion to fresh ingredients means his evening menu is a moving target, whether Santa Barbara spot prawns or dry-aged pork chops from nearby Cook Ranch, and Taylor Parsons’ wine list somehow manages to stay abreast. On paper it’s about 100 selections centered on France and Italy (and especially deep in sparkling wines), but Parsons has more than a thousand wines in reserve and o menu, ones and twos of old vintages and rarities he’s prepared to relinquish on the sly to the right customer.
photo by Ryan Tanaka