Chef Franco Barone literally grew up in the restaurant business. He received his introduction to restaurant and food culture at a young age, helping in his family’s restaurant near Milan. There, he discovered his love of food and his passion for presenting regional Italian dishes to diners. By the time he emigrated to Southern California in 1982, Franco had already developed into a highly discerning and eager Italian chef. Stints at several high profile restaurants earned him recognition as one of Southern California’s most talented chefs.
The opening of Il Barone Ristorante in February of 2010 was the realization of a long-held dream for Franco and his wife Donatella. At Il Barone, Chef Franco continues to dazzle and impress Southern California diners and tourists alike. The Orange County Register’s Brad Johnson stated in a recent review: “Il Barone actually has a soul. The cooking is solid and precise, steeped in tradition and clearly weighted with heart and experience.” Franco’s many honors include two-time recognition as Southern California’s Chef of the Year and 2010 Restauranteur of the Year by Southern California Restaurant Writers, Inc., as well as the Orange County Business Journal. He has also been named one of the Great Chefs of Orange County by the Orange County Kidney Foundation.
At Il Barone, Donatella handles front-of-house duties, greeting everyone at the door and making guests feel welcome. Guests especially enjoy the banquet room for private parties and events.Franco, meanwhile, has not slowed down since opening Il Barone. In fact, he recently opened Il Barone Pizza e Pasta on Balboa Peninsula, a more casual concept that provides the same great quality food in a more relaxed beach setting. With son Jonathan firmly at the helm of the Balboa location, Franco has found time to expand once again. He recently opened Il Barone Bottega, an Italian market, gelateria, and espresso bar located next to Il Barone Ristorante, offering homemade gelato, authentic Italian panini, and espresso along with fresh breads, pastas, and Italian specialty products.
Learn more online at ilbaroneristorante.com.