I just wrapped up a nice evening at La Bocca - on my own, because of a business trip, and despite my solitary visit - I've been won over to make a point of visiting again.
Let me cut to the chase:
The ambiance is warm and inviting.
The menu is diverse and delicious!
The staff is on their game.
The happy hour is excellent!
I went during the tail end of happy hour (good from opening at 11am to 6:30pm) and started with a glass of Olaia Tempranillo Blend, Spain 2005 - normally $9 a glass but 1/2 off because of happy hour. I love tempranillos and this did not disappoint: very smooth and delicious through and through. I decided to try the $12 bruschetta plank as it was hard to pass up with all of the options. You choose 4 of the 8 options (or I suppose you can go all in with a single selection). I chose:
salami & house made pesto
roasted garlic, goat cheese, balsamic arugula
mozz, basil, roma tomato, olive oil, balsamic
prosciutto, fig, mascarpone, truffle oil
They were all phenomenal in their own way, there could have been a little more arugula and prosciutto on their respective samples - but let me say this about the pairing with my wines. (I ordered a glass of Poggio Vignoso Chianti, Tuscany 2007 that's normally $7 but again 1/2 off thanks to happy hour).
The Tempranillo followed the goat cheese very well but was superb with the caprese style bruschetta. I almost couldn't go on to the next selection because the pairing was so amazing. The aftertaste and revisited splash of wine had a never ending appeal. A wild outcome was derived from following the prosciutto bruschetta with the Tempranillo. It was as if I had savored a fantastic creme brule with a blanketing of earthy meatiness thanks to the prosciutto.
The younger Chianti also matched very well with the prosciutto bruschetta and finished with magnificence after a bite of the bruschetta with goat cheese, arugula and roasted garlic. That roasted garlic was the key, so should you visit and order the same, eat around the roasted garlic, saving a nice portion to match up with your wine.
It was nice to see such a wide range of wines offered on their menu (even better to see the glasses 1/2 off during happy hour). The whites are diverse enough and the reds range from a number of CA wines (Cab, Merlot, Zin), to the single Italian, a pair of Tempranillos and a pair of Malbecs in addition to a Pinot and Shiraz from down under. It would be great to see a Carmenere in addition to some more Italians.
I know they serve desserts, but I didn't indulge beyond a cup of coffee. I'd say as a finishing touch, change over to the smooth yet robust Illy coffee and from start to finish the bill of fare would be top notch.