Obicà
 
 

So much more than just a mozzarella bar

By Joshua Lurie

In certain parts of Italy, the milk of the water buffalo flows like, well, water, providing the crucial, core ingredient to the rich and creamy culinary miracles known as mozzarella di bufala and burrata. You may have noticed that there aren’t many water buffalo ambling around the plains of America, but as luck would have it, Raimondo Boggia and his partners brought Obicà to Los Angeles in 2010, promising locals a steady disbursement of the unofficial currency of his home region, mozzarella de bufala Campana DOP.

Today, Obicà Mozzarella Bar, Pizza e Cucina has three LA locations—Century City, Santa Monica, and Sunset Plaza—all brimming with mozzarella di bufala. The location in Century City is located inside the recently renovated Westfield Mall, complete with beautiful outdoor patio seating. The Santa Monica outpost sits behind an industrial façade that gives way to a mozzarella bar overlooking the open kitchen, while high-tops, a cluster of wood tables with grey cushioned banquettes, and a covered back patio complete the scene. Meanwhile, the Sunset Plaza location spreads the love across four spaces: a patio out front, an airy dining room where skylights peer down through exposed beams onto a gleaming Carrara marble-topped bar, a comfy lounge set in banquettes, and a back terrace featuring another marble countertop.

The menu is substantial; you can get a grass-fed Angus rib eye or Mediterranean sea bass with green beans, black-eyed peas, and cherry tomatoes. Still, cheese is the main draw here—and for good reason. Obicà expresses snow white mozzarella di bufala “from the fertile plains of Campania” in many forms, including classic mozzarella balls, smoked mozzarella, braided mozzarella, and burrata, all plate-able with complementary ingredients.

The caprese classica is a must, combining classic mozzarella, heirloom tomato, and delicate basil. Creamy burrata factors into a colorful salad that incorporates roasted red and gold beets and crunchy baby spinach folded with string beans and pine nuts.
The pizza is another specialty, featuring stone-ground white and whole-wheat flours that rise for 48 hours, yielding an airy crust. Why miss out? Start any visit here with the basic Bufala DOP, an oblong play on a Margherita with zesty tomato sauce, molten pools of mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.

The house-made pastas include rosemary-infused pappardelle and vegetarian ravioli with kale and ricotta. The seemingly simple lasagna is nonetheless a wonder of elegant perfection, composed of thin, supple spinach pasta sheets layered with grass-fed beef ragu and, you guessed it, mozzarella di bufala.

Depending on your mood, you can choose the perfect finish to your meal with a slab of tiramisu or glass of amaro, though you couldn’t be blamed for giving in and just rebooting with more mozzarella. As the Neopolitan translation of the name itself suggests, “Here it is!”

Evan Sung

hours

Sunset: Sun–Thu noon–10 PM, Fri–Sat noon–11 PM
Santa Monica: Sun–Thu noon–10 PM; Fri–Sat noon–11 PM

price range

$10 (zuppa di zucca) to $29 (tagliata)
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