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Authentic Italian food in Los Angeles?

I am looking for an authentic Italian restaurant in the LA area. Great food, nice atmosphere. Any suggestions?

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  1. La Buca on Melrose is good. It is owned and run by Italians, so it's pretty authentic. Plus, there is no corkage!

    1. My two favorites: Giorgio Baldi for Italian seafood near the beach; Madeo for Northern Italian. Food is authentic, and each restaurant in its way reminds me of being in Italy. Warning: both are on the pricy side.

      1. Vincenti on San Vicente near Bundy, La Terza on 3rd near Sweetzer, Drago on Wilshire near 26th, Angeli Caffe on Melrose, Angelini Osteria on Beverly near La Brea are among the best in town. Il Moro on Purdue near Olympic is also quite good. Valentino can be wonderful (and has the best wine list) but is very inconsistent.

        1. Il Capriccio on Vermont in Los Feliz. Love the Tuscan bean soup and the clams with pasta. In general the sea food dishes, pasta dishes, and specials are the way to go with them.

          5 Replies
          1. re: bo_burger

            I second Il Capriccio on Vermont. Their pasta dishes are all incredible, and reasonably priced. But definitely make reservations ahead of time - they get really packed.

            1. re: Clare K

              i like il capriccio, but i wouldn't call it authentic. would you?

              1. re: Clare K

                I'm sorry, but Il Capriccio is a pretty sorry excuse for an authentic Italian restaurant. I was born in Italy, have my whole mother's side of my family there, and have spent every summer of my life there, so I have a lot of real Italian dining experiences to compare it to. If you're vegetarian, you will hate this place. The salads, including caprese, are unimpressive, and the lasagna is gross. I can't speak for the clams, but I guess if you're just looking for fresh clams in prepared in the Italian style, they must be pretty hard to mess up. Comunque se qualcuno mi puo dare un consiglio per un ristorante davvero autentico, sono contenta di provarlo!

                  1. re: fianxu

                    "Comunque se qualcuno mi puo dare un consiglio per un ristorante davvero autentico, sono contenta di provarlo!"

                    Meaning: a really small, family-run place, say the lady in the kitchen, the man running the front, perhaps a brother in law helping (total staff 3 or less), where absolutely everything is done in house, you feel absolutely at home, heavenly food, service that takes forever, no protocol ...?

                    Lasciate ogni speranza.

              2. Ditto the recs for Baldi, Madeo and Vincenti -- all are great and 100% authentic.

                1. madeo. the menu is extensive. it's always fantastic.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ostudio

                    Ate Madeo last night...god it's still soooooo good.

                  2. Vincenti - San Vicente Blvd at Montana. Upscale rustic Italian - very fresh, seasonal ingredients. Not inexpensive but wonderful stuff. My friends from Rome and Milan love this place over all of the other Italian places in L.A. Chef is from APuglia. Mondays are special - they only night that they offer Pizza's.

                    11930 San Vicente Blvd (in Brentwood)
                    Los Angeles, CA 90049

                    310 - 207 0127

                    1. I too like Drago and Angeli Cafe-Just went to AC this week and had the pizza with sausage (excellent) and started with the potato croquettes (carbs anyone?) which were excellent. I was wishing for some marinara to dip them in, but the olive oil on the table worked very well.
                      I also like La Bottega on Santa Monica and I know it's a chain but Il Fornaio on Beverly in BH is quite good. I have naver had a bad meal there and they are very accomodating. I was working for a large, 3 inital corporation one day and we were in a big rush. It was lunchtime and it was packed but we explained our predicament to the hostess/manager and she sat us in a room in the back that the employees usually eat in and housed the big oven. How's that for service?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: zoomchic

                        Service at Il Fornaio rocks but, food was disappointing on many occaisions, even for the starving student palette.

                      2. I second Vincenti and Angelini Osteria. Good food, great atmosphere, as you like it.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: chica

                          I third Vincenti and Angelini Osteria!
                          Never been to Madeo though...

                          1. re: banquisha

                            i'll fourth vicenti and angelini if you're looking for authenticity. italian guys behind the stove who are not compromising a whole lot to the l.a. ital palate. tre venezie in pasadena too, but pricey.

                            i think farfalla on hillhurst is turning out incredible pasta, pizza, and secondi after all these years. but it's a mixed bag closer to tuscan with a mix of bologna thrown in.

                        2. Do any of these restaurant's have the thin crusted italian style pizza's? Been craving that every since I came back from Italy. =)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Alice

                            yummy thin crust pizza at Il Buco on Robertson.
                            I like all of the Drago brothers restaurants for authentic italian- Il Pastaiao, Enoteca Drago, Il Buco, Panzanella (my least fav)
                            but Il Buco is the only one that makes Pizza!

                            1. re: Alice

                              antica pizza in marina del rey may interest you, alice

                              1. re: Alice

                                farfalla has nice pizza, but not pita-thin. i had a surprisingly good super-thin crust pizza at Napoli at Downtown Disney (Patina Group).

                              2. madeo makes a thin crusted pizza that is sooooo good.
                                classic pizza margherita, and the one w/ porcini mushroom rocks, but it's pricey.

                                1. my favorites are VIA VENNETTO in santa monica (very pricey) and PICCOLINO in venice.
                                  these are both very special places with delightful food.
                                  when I found these after moving to the westside, I was amazed that I had never heard or been to them. they are great! ( and not trying to be trendy but very authentic food and service)
                                  also in MDR -ANTICA PIZZARIA is a casual setting with very authentic napoli pizza--very tastey salds and pasta too. this is the same owner as LA TRATTORiA which used to be a favorite on 3rd street in west hollywood. ( no longer there)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Amanda Enclade

                                    There is a great Italian restaurant in Venice called Piccolo (formerly Piccolo Cipriani). Is this the one you mean?

                                  2. Vincenzo's Ristorante on Montana down by the beach -- excellent food by an Italian transplant.

                                    1. i have a different take on this, unfortunately.
                                      i've been to just about all these places (except madeo, which is next) and think none is really
                                      authentic and marvelous.
                                      while i love the restaurants in this city I feel I've had only mediocre (sure, better than most italian places in the US) Italian food. for example, who makes their own sausages like they do in Umbria? or grows their own sheep down the street? have gardens outside where they pick the vegetables.
                                      it is not simply a freshness issue, access to land. there's also the fact that most of the places listed here are way overpriced for what they offer, imho. i can spend a lot happily at a place but i always feel that it should it be deservedly; they have to earn it by teaching me a thing or two.

                                      can't say i've had that experience yet. not saying it to be grumpy. i've got my eyes wide open.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: epop

                                        Second that. There's no truly authentic Italian in LA. Angelini and Madeo are fine and about as good as it gets. The quality and freshness of ingredients is just not there. And there certainly is no authentic Italian pizza...

                                        1. re: cls

                                          I disagree that the freshness isn't there, in the sense that I think in the US it is available. I've had better tomatoes here than in Italy, for example, by far. Not from supermarkets, that's for sure. I'm not sure what the problem is. Except, I hate to say it, that I think they know they can get away with serving mediocrity b/c everyone else does so people really don't know better.

                                          so they stay lazy and greedy and get celebrated anyway. a shame, b/c there is a whole level
                                          that we can't experience, plain and simple.

                                      2. Capo in Santa Monica? Sort of authentic tweeked up a bit. $$$$
                                        Peppones in Brentwood. Quite authentic. $$$

                                        Anyone second these?

                                        2 Replies
                                          1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                            I like Peppone, but you must order very carefully and it helps (as it does everywhere) if you are a regular.

                                          2. La Buca, was only mentioned in the first post. If you are looking for authentic handmade pasta and perfect thin crust pizza go here. The guys who run this place are wonderful, they brought their Mama over from Rome to cook, she is always in the kitchen with a cap on that says Mama. Every one of their pasta's are great. For the pizza they have choices of regular cheese with red sauce or white pizzas (no red sauce) and red pizzas (no cheese), so many delicious choices. They are tiny, but are expanding, if they aready haven't. Very authentic, no pretention.

                                            1. Well, no one ever mentions Da Pasquale on Little Santa Monica in BH. I love the place for the family-style food and the friendly service which reminds me of my trips to Italy.
                                              It's not fancy or posh or hip but good comfort Italian food. I never tried their pizzas, but the pasta and entrees were consistently good.

                                              I also went to Briganti in Pasadena recently, it was recomended by Italian friends and it was good too. But I still prefer Da Pasquale.

                                                1. Absolutely La Terza and Angelini - Gino is my idol.

                                                  1. Amarone Kitchen on Sunset is surprisingly great. Don't be phased by the Sunset Strip location. The food and atmosphere are very good, as is the service.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ny2la

                                                      Amarone is one of those restaurants that you just wish was in another space. They have 3-4 nice tables downstairs, and if you're not at one of those it's upstairs in what my opinion is a stuffy loft with a very low ceiling. Food is good though, no doubt. Service is also outstanding.

                                                    2. La Pergola on ventura used to have its own garden and the vegetables were picked daily. Call to see if that's still the case.
                                                      La botte has some wonderful things that are authentic - casunziei alla ampezzana (cortinese).
                                                      I like angelini very much but they do cater to an american clientele - the liver for the fegato alla veneziana is sliced very thick rather than paper thin as in venice, and the sage is pretty much missing.
                                                      Now - no place in italy has everyting from all over the country. that would be madness, like expecting an american place to have flawless jambalaya, cioppinio, and new england clam chowder ( or indian pudding).. Can't be done. BUT i'd love to find a place that has ferrarese Salame al Sugo..(salama da sugo, salamina da sugo etc)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jerome

                                                        Tino still has his vegetable garden and temperament - deal as you will. But I would not step foot in La Pergola for the latter reason - like waiting for Etna to explode at any moment.

                                                      2. Panini Di Ambra- Little coffee shop style place run by Ambra from Milan. Excellent north Italian pizza & panini & pasta. Very very good espresso. She also does catering.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: PurpleTeeth

                                                          this is a wonderful little place. On Hollywood blvd, west of western, east of wilton. near sabor mi cultura.
                                                          I PANINI DI AMBRA
                                                          5633 HOLLYWOOD BLVD
                                                          LOS ANGELES

                                                          1. re: Jerome

                                                            Her pasta is the only pasta I have had in LA that is properly Al Dente! Love her.

                                                        2. What about Zucca Ristorante in downtown LA? I've had a cooking class from the chef and he's from Venice, Italy. I love their Insalata Caprese and their signature pumpkin tortelloni.