Alessio Casagrande was born and raised in Santa Margarita on the Italian Riviera. He comes from a long line of pastry chefs, butchers and cooks, so the kitchen was always his family’s gathering place; as a kid, Casagrande helped his mom and grandma make dinner every Sunday.
In 2013, Casagrande moved to Santa Cruz, where he and his business partner, Leonardo, opened Bedda Mia less than a year ago. Everything on the menu is homemade.
Alessio cooks regional southern Sicily dishes, and Leonardo focuses on northern Genoa. Highlights include a classic arancini appetizer, and the Trofie al Pesto Genovese and Burrida Genovese—an ancient tomato-based fish stew—are entrée favorites. Leonardo’s signature Swordfish alla Palermitana—breaded and grilled alongside bell peppers, onions, capers and olives and finished with sweet and sour sauce—is stellar.
The cannoli and chocolate cheesecake are dessert standouts. The relaxed ambiance blends oldschool and modern Italian décor.
Bedda is open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, 11:30am-2pm for lunch, and 4:30-9pm for dinner.
GT asked Casagrande about Bedda Mia’s beloved patio and what makes their food the real deal.
What makes your menu so authentic?
ALESSIO CASAGRANDE: The way that the food is presented and prepared is exactly how it’s done back in Italy. Leo and I come from a kitchen background, and nothing changed from how we did it there and here. All our recipes come from our Italian moms and have been passed down for generations.
What’s so special about your patio?
We built the patio specifically to be comfortable. It’s cozy and pleasant, especially when we have live music. And it blends seamlessly with the indoor space. You can see us cooking [in the kitchen] from the patio. It’s a pleasurable dining experience.
Bedda Mia, 736 Water St., Santa Cruz, 831-201-4320; beddamiarestaurant.com