Acclaimed Los Angeles restaurateur and James Beard Foundation honoree Celestino Drago will open an exclusive new Italian restaurant, Osteria Drago, at Fashion Island in Newport Beach in spring, 2010. The namesake restaurant marks Drago’s first restaurant outside of Los Angeles.

Osteria Drago will be located adjacent to Nordstrom, also opening next spring, and will occupy more than 3,700 square feet, as well as offer patio dining. The restaurant will be an authentic osteria, known in Italy as a welcoming, personal and casually elegant restaurant serving lunch and dinner.

According to Drago, the menu will feature fresh, high quality and seasonal food from throughout Italy. Osteria Drago will offer a Naples-style wood burning pizza, and an assortment of dishes meant to be shared family-style by the entire table. Fresh pasta, baked dishes such as lasagna, specialties such as pumpkin stuffed tortellini, polenta, fish and game will be on the menu.

The restaurant will also have a wine bar with seating for approximately 25 patrons, with an extensive list of rare wines, and a bar menu with charcuterie and small plates available throughout the day.

“Osteria Drago will reflect one thousand years of Italian culture,” said Celestino Drago. “The menu will depict what I remember eating as a kid -- basic yet quality food, fresh from the Farmer’s Market, with a beautiful presentation.”

Designed by Felderman Keatinge + Associates in Los Angeles, who designed the stunning Drago Centro in downtown Los Angeles, Osteria Drago will have an inviting and casual yet sophisticated atmosphere. Diners will be greeted by warm woods, and a rustic, Old World feel typically found in Italian osterias. Distressed wood floors, marble, and stamped leather accents will be found throughout the restaurant.

“I’ve visited Fashion Island for more than 20 years and always enjoyed shopping and dining here,” said Drago. “I have a lot of customers at my LA restaurants that are from Orange County. I’m looking forward to being in the Newport Beach community and catering to the local customer -- making them feel like family, as if they are dining in their own home.”

According to Keith Eyrich, President of Irvine Company Retail Properties, which owns Fashion Island, the addition of Osteria Drago is part of the major reinvestment the company recently announced.

“Bringing exciting new restaurants such as Osteria Drago to Fashion Island is part of Irvine Company’s on-going commitment to the center and local community,” said Eyrich. “The Fashion Island customer is a well-travelled and discriminating diner who has high expectations for dining experiences. Osteria Drago will provide this authentic and quality dining experience to the local community.”

Eyrich also noted that patio dining is popular at Fashion Island and enhances the guest experience.

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