On the Spot reviews are exactly that—reviews written on the spot, after eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant in Redlands.
Place: La Volata
The star of La Volata is its wood-fired pizza oven, imported from Italy.
As you walk into the restaurant, you see the oven, tucked away in the corner. It was hand-tiled in Northern California, and La Volata only uses citrus wood as fuel. When the oven isn’t being used to cook pizza, its temperature is lowered and the chef roasts vegetables, cooks the house-made sausage, and bakes bread.
Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh, from the locally-grown produce to the humanely and organically raised meat. La Volata is known for its pizza — and that’s what I ordered during my visit — but at lunch, there are also salads, sandwiches, and pasta entrees on the menu. I wanted to try the sausage, so I ordered Ellie’s Pizza ($16), with olive oil, mushrooms, onions, fontina, and sausage, topped with local greens. My sister chose the Honey Pot ($16), with tomato sauce, fontina, mozzarella, pickled onions, fresnos, and prosciutto.
The pizzas are all 12 inches and Neapolitan style, with thin crust and not weighed down by too many toppings. The crust is made in-house, with flour from Italy. When my pizza arrived, I was shocked by the amount of local greens on top; I expected some arugula, but there was a basically an entire, lightly-dressed salad on the pizza. This was a very nice surprise.
The crunch of the lettuce was a nice contrast with the crisp crust and soft cheese. The roasted mushrooms were delicious, and I enjoyed the flavorful sausage, although I would have liked a little more scattered across the pizza. I swapped a piece of my pizza for my sister’s, and loved the bit of sweetness the honey brought to the slice. There was an ample amount of prosciutto on the pizza, and the fresno chiles added just a touch of spice. While we didn’t order the Alla Lori ($16), it’s a favorite from previous visits, and deserves a mention — it’s a sweet and savory concoction, featuring strawberry puree, taleggio, arugula, balsamic, and olive oil, topped with almonds.
While we aren’t sitting at the bar, I can see from our table there are purse hooks next to each chair, a handy extra that every restaurant should have. Speaking of the bar, the counter is long and stretches out across the restaurant, with lots of seating. There are dozens of bottles of alcohol, in addition to 10 beers on tap and wines, making this a great place to unwind after work.
Our waitress has been beyond friendly and helpful, keeping my water topped and offering suggestions when asked. We’re sitting inside, but there is a patio with tables, for days that aren’t so sizzling. While La Volata is on the pricier side, I’m happy to pay when the food is this fresh and locally-sourced. —Catherine
Posted: June 20, 2019