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Spruzzo serves Malibu for 20 years

Pictured is the pesto rigatoni at Spruzzo in Malibu, which features rigatoni pasta, grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes and a basil pesto sauce. Photo by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the margherita pizza at Spruzzo in Malibu, which features basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on signature stone-baked pizza dough.
Pictured is the shrimp salad at Spruzzo in Malibu, which features grilled shrimp, mixed greens, endive, hearts of palm, avocado, cherry tomatoes and a lemon herb dressing. Photo by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
5:07 pm PDT April 2, 2014

Ray Gowhari has made Spruzzo another Malibu landmark. 

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake shook up his real estate aspirations, Gowhari returned to his roots in the restaurant business.

“The earthquake changed my life; the real estate business kind of died. I needed to get busy,” Gowhari said. “We found this location and fell in love.”

When he and his business partner took over the space across from Zuma Beach 20 years ago, their concept was simple; classic Italian favorites served against a one-of-a-kind Malibu  ocean backdrop.

“Who doesn’t love good pizza and good pasta,” Gowhari said. “As long as you have a great chef, you will have great food.”

They took that simplicity and extended it into all aspects of the establishment, from the staff to the effortlessly classy décor, which incorporates ample amounts of natural light and flows seamlessly from the more casual bar setting, to the elegant dining area and out onto the patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 To date, many of the kitchen staff still pumping out Spruzzo’s dishes have been at the restaurant 15-20 years, adhering to the original recipes of the restaurant and ensuring that the great food that was plated up in 1994 continues to please customers today.

That menu includes traditional pizza favorites, salads, entrées and pasta dishes like the rich and creamy pesto rigatoni, which features rigatoni pasta mixed with grilled chicken and sundried tomatoes and topped with a basil pesto sauce. 

“It’s difficult to operate a restaurant in Malibu with just pizza. You have to be open to a bigger menu,” Gowhari said.

The menu, like the décor, represents a range of styles from simple margherita pizzas to more complex pasta dishes like the pesto rigatoni. That breadth is part of what keeps their solid stock of Malibu locals and regular patrons coming back for more.

 “Ninety percent of our business comes from our regulars,” Gowhari said. “We appreciate their support and they appreciate us.”

Other dishes not to miss…

• Margherita pizza – This pizza is topped with basil, roasted tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and baked on a stone in a wood-fired oven.

• Shrimp salad – This dish features large grilled shrimp atop mixed greens and endive, with hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes and avocado and topped with a lemon herb dressing.