I have a couple friends in from Italy, and they put me up to the challenge of finding a great Italian restaurant. So far, they've been under-whelmed by LA's restaurants: Spago, Koi, Mastros. They didn't necessarily hate these places, but I can tell they aren't impressed, especially after they take one bite and start ordering more sake bombs.
The two are in their 20s; so, I would like to find fun atmosphere and good food. Oh, and a great wine list, please. I was very impressed with their wine acumen.
Here's what's going through my mind:
OsMo - They're booked tonight, but might wait it out.
Valentino - Might put them to sleep.
Ago - Fun place, I don't think it's one of LA's best.
Giorgio - There has to be better.
Capo - Maybe?
Am I missing some place? Am I wrong about Ago? What's that place in Sunset Plaza? How does that rank? Thanks for the help.
when i came back from Italy, i was sooo picky on which place was worth "italian" restaurant title. the only one i have found is Osteria La Buca.
Melrose and Wilton.
they have like 12 tables but they are expanding!!! you have to ask to check out the construction next door! it looks great!!!!!!!!!
Not exactly a scene, but Piccolo Paradiso in BH has some of the best Italian food outside of Italy, IMO.
Via Veneto on Main St in Santa Monica!!! I like it better than Ago, Cap and Giorgio (haven't tried the others). It's fun, friendly and the pastas are amazing -- order anything with bottarga.
For the food, I think they would probably like Madeo on Beverly. They have a regular Italian clientele, and it definitely gets crowded, although not sure I'd call it "sceney" for 20-somethings. I've taken European friends there (one who is a chef), and they enjoyed it.
8897 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048
Angelini Osteria on Beverly is also a good suggestion.
As for Sunset Plaza, are you thinking of Cafe Med? I've eaten there a couple of times and wouldn't really recommend it for the food, which, while not bad, is nothing exceptional either. It would probably satisfy your quest for a "scene" though.
Are they asking specifically for Italian? When I have friends here from Europe, I generally dont take them to a restaurant with thier home country's food. I usually try to show them something they cant get at home. My German friends go crazy for the sushi in LA. My Spanish friends seem to dig our steak houses. Just a thought. Good luck.
Okay here is a shot. Dominicks Sunday Supper $15 pp and $10 bottles of wine. Your twentysomething friends will love the scenery ( hot woman ) and the price of food is worh the admission as well. Actually I went not expecting anything and the 3 course dinner was actually really good and the wine very drinkable..
Locanda Veneta on 3rd St. (West Hollywood/Bev Hills)
Locanda Portofino on Montana (Santa Monica)
Via Veneto (Santa Monica)
Then, of course, Valentino (new area is finished with the wine bar area) and Capo (though the interior definitely needs a refresh)
I think the Sunset Plaza place is Il Sole. Don't know if the food is actually good, but apparently the stars of "Friends" use it as a clubhouse. There's a cute little gelato/sandwich place on the other side of the street. Again, I haven't had any food, just a cup of gelato (which was decent), but it looked like a very cute place to hang.
you may want to try Piccolo in Venice - they don't take reservations but it's fantastic -- I don't know if its "Scene-y" but the last time I was there I was literally elbow to elbow (it's a small place with tables close together) with Sasha Baron Cohen, so that was pretty cool.