Who doesn’t love Italian restaurants Los Angeles? There’s something about the very notion that speaks of comfort, of red tablecloths, the smell of rich tomato sauce, of sinfully red wine and flickering candlelight. Join us as we take a tour of the LA Italian scene, and we’ll see if we can find your new favorite somewhere on the list.
We have to start with this venerable institution, located on Las Palmas Avenue south of the Hollywood Hills. They’ve been in business a long time serving up the classics, and part of the charm is the ambiance, from the old straw-covered Chianti bottles to the waiters that serenade you during your meal. There’s tons of memorabilia and mementos about, a nod to the bygone Golden Age of Hollywood. As for the food, it’s exemplary. The spaghetti siciliano with marinara sauce and mushrooms, onion, garlic, and romano cheese is a winner, as is the veal francaise with zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, white wine, and lemon. Bring your appetite.
The Factory Kitchen
North of Boyle Heights, a reclaimed factory space cranks out some mighty fine handmade pasta and other classic Italian dishes with an updated flair. The dining area looks very modern, and you can envision some mergers and takeovers being discussed over lunch. Set business aside and concentrate on the food. Start with the marinated calamari salad with with cherry tomatoes and celery. The main course is a tough call, but the porchetta is amazing, slow-roasted pork belly with braised red onions, fennel, carrots, and celery in aromatic herbs. Equally impressive is the seared duck breast and leg confit, with wilted greens and tart cherry-barbera sauce. Try saving room for dessert, but it won’t be easy.
On South Broadway close to Chinatown is this homey little bistro with a covered patio. We’re not thrilled by the BYO wine policy, but the food more than makes up for it. The pasta is impeccable, especially the handmade potato gnocchi with the forest mushroom and the meat ragout. Or you could go with the tortellini with the Osso Bucco meat and marrow with the salsa verde sauce…or the pumpkin ravioli with buttercream truffle cheese sauce…seriously, with this menu they don’t make it easy to narrow down the selection. Your best bet is to bring along a gaggle of friends and order one of everything. Or just come back several times; that works too.
It’s clear that LA is serious about their Italian. It was difficult to come up with just three, so we’ll be back next time with some more of our favorites. Till then, we lift a glass of cabernet and wish you well on your dining adventures.