Obiká Mozzarella Bar

Imported chain, imported cheese

The food set doesn't often rush to the galleria-variety malls for dining. But Westfield Century City, with many a high-end fashion boutique, is no conventional mall, and Obiká–with its D.O.P. mozzarella di bufala–is no run-of-the-mill food-court restaurant.

This first California location of a growing Italian-based chain has its heart in Campania: Mozzarella is flown in three times per week. The restaurant looks closer to home for its produce, bringing in vegetables from local farms to serve alongside its imported star.

Obiká challenges Osteria Mozza in terms of granting mozzarella the title role: Classic di bufala, a lightly smoked mozzarella, and Puglia's stracciatella di burrata can be had unadorned, in salads, on cunzato bread, in pasta. You can avoid buffalo milk here, but you'd find yourself in a very lonely corner of the menu.

Just outside of the strict Italian traditions upheld at Obiká are the mozzarella di bufala rolls, made from thin sheets of cheese stretched to the restaurant's specifications in Campania. Bresaola and arugula ($19), radicchio and oven-roasted ham ($19), smoked wild Alaskan salmon and arugula ($21): The rolls' fillings contrast the sweet, mild flavor of the cheese with the more assertive nature of peppery greens, salumi funk or briny smoke. If you're hard-pressed to choose just one, you can have one of each for $20.

Obikà, Westfield Century City Shopping Center, Upper Level, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City; 310-556-2452 or