By Chris Baptiste
With so many fantastic Italian restaurants in Temecula, it can be difficult to choose which one (or two) to regularly visit.
With our wine region growing in popularity and quality, it’s only natural that “ristorantes” with amazing Italian cuisine would dot our landscape, be it Rustico, Francesca’s, or Crivello’s — to name a few. All are well worth your time and money and you won’t be disappointed.
If you seek a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine, where nine out of 10 menu items are made daily from scratch, including all of their sauces, sausages, meatballs, and lasagna, then allow me to introduce you to Chef Ozz and his wonderful world of authentic Italian dishes.
Hailing from Orange County where he was the Executive Chef at Bertolini’s in Irvine, as well as Market City Cafe and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Chef Ozz made his stamp on the culinary landscape before even opening Sebastian’s doors this past February.
Unique dishes with traditional leanings have become his trademark in just a short period of time after consulting on the menus for J. Carter’s Tavern Grill (Murrieta), Soro’s Mediterranean Grill (Old Town), and Traveller’s Cafe in Temecula.
Along with business partner Al Bernardino, a semi-retired contractor, Chef Ozz has brought his love for Italian food — via his Mexican roots — to his own place.
One of the first things you’ll find when entering Sebastian’s stark yet comfortable interior is the limited menu — limited in a good way.
There are only four pasta entrees, four signature pizzas, and four sub-style sandwiches — not the dozens you’ll see at some places.
There are also antipasta selections, soups and salads, fish and meat options, and a kids’ menu.
For Chef Ozz, it’s not about the number of menu selections — it’s about the quality of what he offers.
While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, a few items do indeed stand out. The hand-made Mozzarella Di’ Bufala is perhaps the best in the region.
Chef Ozz’s take on the traditional Margherita Pizza veers slightly left as his includes oven-roasted tomatoes as well as his homemade mozzarella. Simply amazing! And for those who like to get creative, you can build your own pasta dish for just about $10 by selecting your choice of pasta, sauce, and meat (or shrimp) to top it off. That’s a fantastic deal.
Simple, authentic dishes that give respect to traditional Italy and strives for unmatched quality and flavors — that’s the Sebastian’s Italian Grill way.