Went with a party of 20 in their private room on a Friday night. Food was surprisingly good - 3 pasta app (tortellini with prosciutto and peas, pesto fettucini, lobster ravioli), choice of exquisite lamb rack with Dijon and kalamata olives, filet with a seriously deep Barolo sauce, chicken rolled with prosciutto and mozzarella in madiera sauce, and salmon with dijon sauce. There were several startled reactions from locals who had written the place off previously, and no one had any complaints. I was impressed with the unexpected quality of the food and the competency of the sauces and presentations.
But the main kudo goes to the operation - Amadeo is the owner and was there nearly the whole time assuring that everything went smoothly, despite a booming business in the main room. No one got cold food, wines were judiciously filled, and special orders went without a hitch.
With an open bar that went on for over an hour, miscellaneous extras (salads, desserts, coffees, etc), and more wine than we could drink, the whole thing came to $60 per person with a generous tip.
Although I have had less than spectacular times here, for a party this place is hard to beat, and especially in view of the price and quality. Other places wanted more than twice the per person minimum (and one in Old Town quoted us $10K for a Friday night - that's $500 per person!). Plus we were never rushed and had the room for nearly five hours.
Keep it in mind for special events for groups.
I am so glad to know of this! Not that I host frequent gatherings of a dozen or more, but it's good to hear that this place is hospitable to such groups. It would be a perfect place, for instance, for an Alfa Romeo Club party. Too many Italian venues have a well-earned rep for ringing up every charge they can possibly think of, up to and including a wastage fee for clearing the food you didn't eat off your plate...OK, that's an exaggeration, but you get my drift.
The other part that charms me is that this joint has one of the best old-fashioned, professionally-run bars in SoCal. I love not having to explain a REAL martini to a bartender, and the bartenders here know their stuff, and their often-elderly (a-HEM) clientele.
I've always liked Stoney Point - it's a real gem. We had a private dinner on that enclosed patio area for 18 people, and we had a similar menu (the tortellini is absolutely luscious!!). With tons of wine, salad, bread and apps, it came to less than $60 per person I recall.
Sometimes friends and I will go there for a drink after dinner, or just dessert. The staff is always friendly, and the pianist is a nice touch.