The Valley is known for strip mall fine dining. Bistro Provence is one such hidden gem. The small French restaurant offers food rivaling the finest LA bistros. Now Chef Miki Zivkovic has opened Luca’s Trattoria in the same Burbank Vons shopping center, bringing with him his trademark quality ingredients, respect for vegetables and complex sauces.
With mirrors on the walls, stark black chairs and crisp white tablecloths, the small restaurant is classic except for the somewhat 80s fabric on the booths. It’s perfect for a lunch meeting or a romantic date. The acoustics can make for a noisy meal when the room is crowded. Other than being closed on Sundays, I have no other complaints about this intimate spot.
The pizzas alone are a good reason to visit with a thin, bubbling crust and creative ingredients, you will be fighting over the last piece. Another arena in which they excel is in the meats. Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Picatta and a special of Orange chicken featured free-range chicken treated properly and topped with deep, rich sauces that few people have the time or skill to make at home. The Parmigiana has a nicely breaded tender breast, the Picatta has a milder sauce than the traditional, richer and less shocking to the palate, and the orange chicken manages to showcase the fruit without being cloying.
The salads are crisp and cool with the finest ingredients. This chef has definitely got a good relationship with his suppliers. From the crisp greens to the plump strawberries, the produce is beautiful. I recommend the Insalata alla Sophia with beets, green beans, greens, goat cheese, and a champagne vinagrette.
The spinach gnocchi is a cross between the very light, pillowy style and potato-heavy style, a nice compromise making for a delicious dish. I would love to describe the other pastas, risottos, and especially the house-made tortellini and mushroom ravioli. Unfortunately, my normally generous dining partners have suddenly become very stingly with tastes when it comes to Luca’s. If you want to try that saffron and shrimp seafood risotto you’re just going to have to order it yourself.
Most of the desserts are bought, but the chocolate malt cake is made in house. The gelato is also a fantastic choice for dessert. And hey, if the night is young you can always hit porn karaoke next door.