LaTerza better than O'Mozza
I know what your probably thinking? No Way! Yeah Way.
We went to O' Mozza two weeks ago and ordered 19 dishes and shared them among six of us. Some were fantastic like the Octopus , Egg Raviolo & Quail and some were not good like the Scamorza & Linguini's (way too spicy, and we all eat Mexican food regularly). Most of the other dishes were just Average.
LaTerza last night was the best experience in years. Some big changes have occurred in the last month. The new Chef (Lucca) is from Il Fornaio and absolutely amazing. Gino was cooking also.
Marinated Artichoke (always great)
Antipasta assortment (solid)
Burrata w/fresh tomatoes
Steak Tartar (best we've had in LA)
Risotto w/fresh black truffle & baby scallops
Pappardelli w/mushrooms & sausage
Swordfish (crusted with Basil, Breadcrumbs & forbidden rice)
Rack of Lamb (fantastic)
Nona Cake (best we've had in LA, better than Fraiche which we really liked also).
Overall the food was very good and the consensus was that everything was great!
OM was really disappointing. Aside from the Octopus, nothing was particulary memorable, and some awful (agree with linguini, which IMO, was inedible)
The decor is really weird too. It is dominated by a open kitchen/bar, yet then it has all these formal tables with white tablecloths. It's neither casual nor formal...and the chairs are REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE (how can such experienced restauranteurs do that?). The vibe was weird too...it didn't seem like anyone was having any fun.
I've been to La Terza a couple of times and had excellent food both times. The food is a little more ambitious than Angelini, which in turn is more rustic, trattoria style, I think. But the rap on La Terza is that it has been inconsistent. Some people go there and say the food is mediocre. Hopefully it will stabilize in the upper-achievement range.
I have to chime in here about the comparison between Osteria Mozza and Angelini. I've eaten at both several times. The last visit to Angelini I could make several glaring comparisons.
The mussels. The mussels at Mozza are bigger. They tasted better. The broth that accompanied them was seasoned better and had more dimension of flavor. I tasted oregano, chives, great olive oil, very good tomatoes. The mussels at Angelini were very pedestrian and bland. The grilled bread that came with at Mozza was also better.
The pork. I recently had a grilled pork special at Angelini. It was served medium well. It was good. Nicely seasoned, came with braised cabbage and a pork jus. It doesn't even remotely compare to the Pork Arrista I had a mozza, which is just higher quality stuff anyway (Berkshire) brined and roasted medium rare. Tons of fat. Pork fat lovers dream come true.
Even the pastas at Mozza have been better than the ones I've had at Angelini (lasagna and papardelle with duck ragu). The pasta has a nicer texture, and the sauces better seasoned. The swordfish I recently had at Angelini wasn't very good. It was cotton-ey, overcooked, and served with sauteed Rapini that was overcooked and overpowered the bland fish. In comparison, the seabass livornese I had at Mozza was well balanced, perfectly cooked, and the fish was very very good quality.
I've enjoyed the antipasti at Mozza much more than Angelini.
That said, I still love Angelini, like Russ I've got friends who work (or have worked) at both. A close friend of mine worked with Gino for 5 years. I just feel that Mozza is much more ambitious and while there are kinks to be worked out, is playing at a different level. I haven't eaten at La Terza yet but hope to do so.
I should add that Angelini reminds much more of the food I ate when I was in Italy. Typically very lightly seasoned, very basic, which I love! The best seafood and two of the best meals I've had my entire life took place in Italy. However these days I do like things on the more heavily seasoned/flavored side so keep that in mind. If you have more subtle taste buds and like simpler food you will probably like Angelini more.
We go to ANGELINI all the time also but normally at lunch.
Best times to go to LA TERZA are Mon or Tue.
We really liked the Mussels at O'Mozza also along with the 3 other dishes described in the original post.
Is your friend who worked with Gino for 5 yrs, Jenn?
She's now at Fraiche which btw has a very solid Pork Chop along with many other fine courses, great wine list also.
I have been to Angelini, La Terza, All Angelo and Osteria Mozza. Dozens of visits to Angelini though, and only one recent visit to La Terza. Only once to All Angelo and Osteria Mozza. My current ranking:
2) Osteria Mozza - it may pull into first - could be soon. However, it is still working the kinks out so it can't oust my beloved Angelini yet.
3) La Terza - great food but hate the atmosphere
4) All Angelo - had terrible service. Octopus was amazing but other dishes, especially pastas, did not wow. A real letdown.
Going to do full reports w/ pics on La Terza and All Angelo soon.
Agree about the awful atmosphere at La Terza. Went a couple months ago because Gino Angelini had moved there from his first place to take over cooking but while food was good, some dishes really good, we couldn't get over the cold and sterile atmosphere of the place. Someone should hit a paint store and buy some warm-colored paint or better yet, hire a decorator to redo it entirely. However, service is quite wonderful and that's a difficult task, given some of the strange clientele (straight out of Sopranos casting) we saw in the place. Nonetheless I have high hopes for this place and look forward to returning soon.
Many feel that Angelini is better than La Terza. Doesn't that imply that Osteria Angelini >>> Osteria Mozza?
I'm wondering if the presence of the Mozza's in that neighborhood is causing an arms race in terms of restaurant quality in order to draw customers looking for high-end Italian.
I think that Angelini is a more reliable restaurant than Osteria Mozza. Not everything on the menu is to my taste -- Some of Angelini's dishes betray his hotel background. But his nightly specials and his pastas are practically perfect.
I'll still happily go to O-Mozza, but I'll focus on Nancy's antipasti and selected appetizers for now.