Talk about a tough act to follow. La Festa Ristorante Italiano & Piano Bar recently opened in a building that was home to one of Myrtle Beach's most famous restaurants for more than 30 years.
Le Festa still has to last another 29 years to match the successful run of previous tenant Cagney's, one of the first and finest fine-dining restaurants on the "Grand Strand," but it's off to a pretty good start.
Chow down at La Festa! — Photo courtesy of La Festa
For starters, La Festa kept some of the memorabilia left behind by Cagney's, including the front door and a vintage winding staircase from the former Ocean Forest Hotel before its demolition. Familiar paintings by local artists also remain on the walls.
But, just as its menu has been completely overhauled to highlight Italian cuisine, the rest of the restaurant has been given a Milanese makeover, with scenes from the Italian countryside displayed throughout to keep a consistent theme.
The restaurant opened in the summer of 2014, so La Festa owner Tevos Zatikyan and Italian-born and trained chefs Alberto Andolfo and Matteo Cazzin have had to hit the ground running to deliver a fine-dining experience during the hectic summer season.
The busy summer proved to be a bit of a boot camp for the staff to get their service down to a tee. With a menu offering a combination of Northern Italian classics and all the American-Italian standards, La Festa has quickly found its niche in a town overrun by Italian eateries.
Serving classics such as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken alfredo and wood-fired pizzas, La Festa has all the mainstream Italian dishes. But La Festa takes pride in its wide selection of "bistro cuisine," which is hard to find at many Italian restaurants.
Utilizing fresh local seafood and produce in many of its signature dishes – such as the Flounder All'isolana and the Seafood Tagliatelle – La Festa puts its own twist on many authentic Italian dishes. Guests can even make their own dishes by mixing and matching other ingredients.
La Festa is also known for its "landfood" alternatives, including the Venetian Veal Brigole and Linguini Alla Bolognese. A wide selection of steak, veal and other chops are also available and can be prepared to your specification. Make it surf and turf, with a filet covered in fresh shrimp and crab meat.
Located in the heart of Restaurant Row, La Festa also offers fresh salads and soups of the day and starters such as the Octopus on the Beach and Seafood Flan. They also bake their own breads and creative desserts. A full bar and extensive wine list complete the meal and the experience.
For reservations or more information, call 843-945-9288 or visit the restaurant's website.