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Italian on the west side

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My mom is coming to town from New York and staying in Santa Monica. I'm looking for a good italian restaurant that is unpretentious...something like La buca on Melrose.

Any thoughts for BH, Brentwood, Culver City, westwood, Santa Monica?

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  1. although much more ritzy than la buca, vicenti in brentwood is a solid choice for good italian eats on the westside.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wilafur

      I second Vicenti on San Vicente in Brentwood. It was started by the owners of my favorite L.A. Italian, Angelini Osteria.

      1. re: wilafur

        I third Vincenti. Owners and servers are so nice, food is delicious, and setting very warm. Even other clientele, familiar and new, are friendly and make an evening there memorable.

        1. re: wilafur

          oops, just noticed that i left out an "n". its spelled vincenti as chica pointed out. =)

          1. Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills is fantastic! I haven't been in many years, but I used to love Pizzicotto in Brentwood.

            Il Pastaio
            400 N. CaƱon Dr.
            (Brighton Way)
            Beverly Hills, CA 90210

            11758 San Vicente Blvd.
            (bet. Gorham & Montana Aves.)
            Los Angeles, CA 90049

            1 Reply
            1. re: Obessed

              Two of my favorite! Great pasta at Pizzicotto. Il Pastaio is our favorite not only becuase of great food, but also because we can sit outside table with our puppy dog and enjoy great meal !

            2. Pizzicotto, Peppone, Drago - San Gennaro in the less pricey side

              1 Reply
              1. re: tdo ca

                Peppone is the WORST Italian food in Los Angeles.

                1. re: belladre

                  Piccolo is nice, but with that wait list it's nothing but unpretentious. Sure it's a neighborhood joint, but it's hard to stay low key when you're waiting 45 minutes for a table. You could theoretically wait outside on the boardwalk, but most people just opt to sit on the stairs and sip on wine.

                2. I agree with those who recommended Pizzicotto - it's a wonderful hidden gem!

                  1. More Culver City, our favorite options for casual but fabulous italian food:

                    Giovannis Trattoria (on venice, kitty-corner from Natalee Thai) www.giovannistrattoria.com Bring your own wine.

                    Ugos Cafe (downtown Culver City) www.cafeugo.com Good wine bar next door and small wine list.

                    Warning though, these spots are becoming very popular and Giovannis doesn't take reservations. We've had up to a 20/30 min wait, but the food is always worth it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chemjen

                      I'll second Giovannis. Good reviews on this board sent us there last night; they were spot on. The eggplant roll with fresh ricotta and a light and sprightly tomato sauce was a delicious appetizer for two. Wife loved her Chicken Florentine; I enjoyed the beef lasagna. Everything was well made. No wait at all at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday night and still several tables when we left around 7. Parking lot is tight. Not atmospheric, not pricey, but serious food here.

                    2. Ugo is very good ... enjoyed a great pizza ... try Novicento on Main Street also ...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: lilygirl

                        LOVE Novocento...spelling? It can be loud...because it is small and narrow...simply lovely food! A gem!

                      2. I third Pizzicotto. Reservations are a must. If they try to seat you upstairs, don't take it as a slight. It's actually kind of cozy up there in the rafters and you're away from the cold night air and tight quarters downstairs. Try the strezzopretti (sp?) w. sausage. One of my favorite reliable pastas in town.

                        La Botte on Santa Monica Blvd is very cozy and warm, but a bit on the pricey side. However, the deal of the century if everyone likes veal is the roasted veal shank. We ordered one and it would easily have fed 4. And the whole room stares and marvels at the presentation of the dish, wishing they'd had the good sense to order it. The server attempted to sell us TWO of these (each meant to serve 2 people) but we wisely stuck with one and it was fantastic. We also ordered a nice bottle of wine so they didn't throw us "bargain hunter" attitude.

                        Good luck.

                        1. If you want to have great simple italian food go to peccorino on san vicente in brentwood.

                          For a fun atmosphere try Pace in Laurel Canyon.

                          Both are great... but peccorino is a pleasant surprise and a must try...

                          1. La Bruschetta on Westwood Blvd.

                            Close to the Westside:

                            Fioretto in Culver City.
                            Fritto MIsto in Santa Monica.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cplourde

                              At the east end of Santa Monica: Il Forno. Seriously good food, upscale setting, midscale prices, and the most thoughtful but non-hovering service.

                            2. Vincenti and La Botte hands down! No contest. Of course you pay for it.

                              1. Try Giorgio in Paciific Palisades or Doug Arangos' in Weho if you don't find what you want in Brentwood. I had an amazing Pasta with Proscuitto and Peas and a lite slighty sweet cream sauce at Dougs on Thurs. I also recommend their pizza.

                                1. Wow. Interesting how some are interpreting your question. Although unpretentious, primarily because of Maureen Vincenti's solid presence, Vincenti is one of the most expensive restaurants in L.A. and you should know that going in if La Buca is your comparison. Same of La Botte from what I read here and elsewhere with possible attitude. Also, pricey but good in the Brentwood area would be Divino and Pahlmeri but, again, remembering my fine meal at the reasonable La Buca I'd probably be inclined to recomend Pizzicotto or Osteria Latina in Brentwood, or Il Forno, Fritto Misto (already suggested) or even La Vecchia in Santa Monica.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: cvc

                                    I agree that La Vecchia would be an excellent choice.

                                    1. re: chow726

                                      Third vote for La Vecchia here!

                                  2. There is a tiny restaurant on Westwood Blvd. (couple blocks sount of Wishire) called Pomodoro. very homey and friendly, good food, great tiramisu. As far as ambiance, it's not quite as dim and romantic as La Buca, but it definitely has a similar Italian vibe. been going there for years and really enjoy it.

                                    1. No mention of IL MORO on Santa Monica Blvd, WLA?? I am surprised.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: cnlsdad

                                        I second Il Moro, altho' I haven't been in a while. Always very reliable.

                                        1. re: ThatPat

                                          Il Moro - always my choice. Wonderful, reliable, super fresh Italian.

                                      2. Based on what you're looking for, I think Osteria Latini is the best bet. Nice space (if a bit loud), good food (if somewhat unadventurous), and the best vibe of the Brentwood Italian restaurants. The staff is really nice and make you feel at home. The Branzino and Bolognese are delicious.

                                        I used to love Pizzcotto but does anyone else agree that it can be really hit-or-miss? I only go there now on off hours for pizza or pasta, after having a couple of really bad meals.

                                        1. You may want to give Pecorino at wirl. In the old Zax location in BW. A little pricey but good wine selection, pasta and fish. The service is fantastic. I entertain there at least once a week for lunch and dinner.

                                          You may also want to try Divino in the Barrington Village in BW. I have never been there but for years people have been raving about it to me. Anyone have an opinion on Divino?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MichaelS

                                            Pecorino has excellent food. Very pleasant service.

                                            1. re: MichaelS

                                              Have never been impressed with Divino, although the staff is quite friendly.
                                              My fave is Toscana. Just love it.

                                            2. la vecchia rocks.... haven't been in a minute, gotta get back. where did you end up taking your mom? lots of good italian in NYC, did LA win her over?