From a childhood dream to reality, Chef Tara Punzone created the 1st plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar in the U.S., changing the dining experience as we know it!
Tara Punzone is an Italian American Chef from New York with deep Southern Italian roots. From the young age of 10, Tara became a vegetarian for animals. At age 12, they decided they would open their restaurant one day. Her passion for food has evolved during her 20 years of career. Chef Tara has worked with many amazing chefs from New York City to California. Finally, in 2018, Chef Tara opened the first 100% plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar, Pura Vita, in West Hollywood. With their instant hit, she opened Pura Vita Pizzeria 2yrs later!
Chef Tara’s Pura Vita and Pura Vita Pizzeria will make your night! Every dish is made using only the best organic plant-based ingredients. The dishes are gluten-free, clean, and sustainably made from scratch! The wines are also vegan. They are biodynamic wines from small and local (California and Italy) businesses that will re-activate your taste buds and soul.
Tell me about yourself and being a chef and owner! You have your plate full!
Chef Tara: I love what I do. I get to create scratch-made plant-based foods and share them with the most loving and supportive community. I could not be more grateful for everything we have built in the past 3 1/2 years. As a female business owner, I feel confident that I can provide a safe, balanced, and fun space for my employees. Hopefully, I can inspire other women to do the same!
Why do you love food and your inspiration behind it?
CT: Food brings people together. Food makes people feel happy. I am an old-fashioned kind of person, and I love to hold onto traditions. I am proud to be able to keep all my Italian family traditions and foods alive via a vegan and more sustainable practice.
What’s your fave dish to cook?
CT: Pasta is my favorite dish to cook and to eat too!
How has restaurant and eating changed with the pandemic?
CT: We have outdoor dining now, which is the best silver-lining of Covid!
Let’s talk about the food scene in LA. Do you love it, what do you think about it?
CT: The food scene in LA has grown so much in the past decade. I love it, and I am so proud to be a part of it!
As the 1st plant-based restaurant in Hollywood, what were your hardships?
CT: We were surely not the 1st plant-based restaurant in Hollywood. However, we were the first plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar in the country!!! We are very proud of that!
What is the hardest dish to make vegan?
CT: I still haven’t nailed a Braciole (Italian pork rolled with herbs and cheese). I am working on it and hope to finally get it done soon!
Lastly, what is your favorite type of pizza?
CT: Neapolitan style Margherita pizza (ours too, of course). I love the charred crust on a perfect wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.
This plant-based experience is definitely the place to go. And even if you are not vegan, Chef Tara’s creations will captivate even meat lovers. We recommend their fresh pasta, artisanal pizzas, and even don’t miss the fantastic Tiramisu! Andiago provides personalized dining recommendations and insider access to exclusive culinary experiences And while you are out and about in Hollywood, don’t forget to save the places you would like to eat and drink to your Guides.