Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Nostalgic Bites: Lomeli's Italian Restaurant (Gardena, CA)


Nostalgic Bites: Lomeli's Italian Restaurant (Gardena, CA)

This particular food review is a bit special for me as it answers a question nearly 28 years in the making.

So a little background story here. For the first four years of my life, I lived in Gardena, CA, a suburb south of Los Angeles for the out-of-towners. Occasionally, I would be treated to pizza for dinner from a place called Lomeli's Italian Restaurant (2223 West Redondo Beach Boulevard, Gardena, CA 90247). My parents never told me where the pizza came from (they figured I was too little to care), but fortunately I learned to read at a very young age and was able to remember the restaurant's name from reading the receipts and the pizza boxes. However, that wasn't the only thing that ingrained that name into the deep recesses of my childhood memories; it was the distinct taste of the cheese and the homemade sauce together when I would eat my pizza slices. There was no other place that I would find in my motorcycle adventures and pizza trips to other shops across the country that would replicate that particular flavor.

Fast forward to 2014 and my 30th birthday. Among the birthday presents that I received from my late friend, Robbie, was a $50 gift card to Lomeli's, as I had mentioned to him at one point in our many conversations that it was a place that I had hoped to finally eat at after my five-year exodus in Ohio and subsequent return home to California earlier that year. After he had passed away suddenly less than a month later, I put the gift card away in storage and made the promise to myself that I wouldn't redeem it until I found the perfect time, place, and person to enjoy this eye-opening moment with.

So now in 2016, I found that perfect time, place...and person, recently, to have that long-anticipated dinner. At the time this dinner happened, we were originally supposed to go to the movies for a second attempt at watching Disney's Zootopia; our first try the previous week was blocked by a sold-out show in Santa Monica, so we opted for a screening of London Has Fallen instead. Withholding the fun details (sorry, those are mine), we never made it to the movie theater and just went to dinner.

(Side note: The particular running gag about missing this particular film, now three times at the time that I have written this, has birthed the hashtag #manthatwasalongmovie to describe this new journey we've embarked on together. For the dedicated fans who actually read my blog posts as well as my other media on Instagram, it'll be around as an ongoing chronicle to adventures with this person. Perhaps I can eventually introduce him to this online venue as time marches on.)

For that night's dinner, we ordered a medium pizza, half vegetarian and the other half a shrimp scampi with a pesto sauce. When the pie came out and was served, the distinct smell of that same cheese wafted across the table, filling my head with the same wonderful memories of those formative years. And with a single bite, I answered a 28 year-old question. It tasted just as good as I had remembered it.

As heavenly as the initial taste of the pizza was, it wasn't complete perfection. The vegetarian side of the the pizza was overloaded with toppings and the sliced tomatoes were falling all over the place. I found the shrimp scampi to be a little too salty and a bit strong in flavor, but nevertheless it was a delicious dish. I'd like to try their margherita pizza next time for a simpler change of pace.

I also sampled their creamy pesto sauce topped over fettuccine. That was quite flavorful and blended well with the noodles without the typical heavy feel that comes with a cream sauce. I will say, it doesn't reheat very well as a leftover so try to eat it on site if you can. Their garlic bread (not pictured) just added to a nice classic Italian dinner.

After this pleasant reintroduction to this place, I'm looking forward to returning again to sample more entrees. For more information about Lomeli's Italian Restaurant, visit

Lomeli's Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato