Pastina (West L.A.)
Ate there w/ friends for first time Sat. night and discovered why we've never gone before even though it's walking distance to our house. Food not awful, but mediocre (carbonara w/out cream? chicken dry and relatively tasteless; veggies nice, though); service mediocre (slow; didn't bring asked-for bubble water; didn't offer wine bottle for inspection to verify it was as ordered); table not ready when promised; and very noisy.
I've been wondering about this place, it looks good on a drive-by. I've searched on chowhound recently, and people were raving about it--by all back in 2002. Nothing much since...
For what it's worth, carbonara should never have cream.
We have been several times and really enjoy the relaxed vibe.
The food is straight forward and the prices reasonable.
Menu Items are High Quality and there are many regular Celebrity Customers who are there weekly incognito.
Some of the best dishes are Domestic Rack of Lamb, Veal Chop, Burrata Cheese, Caesar Salad, Stuffed Swordfish, Fresh Pasta. Best Cheesecake & Mac Tart in LA.
(BTW. Carbonara in Southern ITALY has no cream but is made w/raw egg. Cream is Added to Carbonara in Northern Italy)
We went for the first time last week and really enjoyed it too! Laid back vibe, good prices for the area, and they accomodated our group quite quickly on a busy night when we called in a reservation at the last minute. The service was exceptional--professional, attentive, but not pushy or overly friendly. A nice red wine was recommended by our server.
Didn't love the tiramisu, but that was a personal preference issue and all the pastas were enjoyed by everyone.
And ditto on carbonara not being traditionally made with cream.
photos of the meal: http://www.chezpei.com/2007/06/pastin...
That's really unfortunate. My experiences at Pastina have been really the opposite. Great food and great service. The food isn't super duper sophisticated, but it's solid and good. Always really enjoyed my meals there.
Let's not forget the kick ass meatballs... http://www.chow.com/topics/397573
I like Pastina, dont think its one of the best, definitely not one of the worst (ahem - marias italian kitchen on pico - ahem). I think they make pretty good food, reasonable prices and its pretty nice overall. It's a good choice for that neighborhood, if I could pick any Italian in the city, it wouldn't be in my top list though.