Best New Use of an Old Chinese Restaurant - 2003
Once upon a time (actually, just a couple of months ago), the space at 711 Grant Street was home to China Hill -- a small Chinese restaurant known in the neighborhood for its reasonable prices and flaming pu-pu platters. But now, thanks to a little good luck and a lot of hard work by Frank Bonanno and Doug Fleischmann, what was once a humble Asian hangout has been transformed into the much-anticipated Luca D'Italia. In these funky, colorful digs, customers are treated to rustic Italian family fare served in multiple courses from antipasti straight through to dessert, with everything from the pasta to the salami to the mozzarella made in-house and from scratch. What is it they say is the secret to opening a successful restaurant? Location, location, location. Well, Luca has the best location the partners could hope for -- not only is it in a great restaurant neighborhood and in a space that's been proven successful, but it's also so close to the partners' first restaurant, the wonderful Mizuna, that they can almost be in two places at once.