Italian in LA
I don't think you have enough recommendations here. I'm going to suggest one of my very favorites - La Dolce Vita at 9785 Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. This is definitely white tablecloth upscale with a full bar, great wines, private booths, and a very professional serving staff. Did I mention the food - perfecto!!
Il Carpaccio last Friday eve in Pacific Palisades was amazing. We had the pumpkin ravioli, seared scallops in truffle fondue sauce, tender grilled calamari over swiss chard, the ricotta cheesecake with orange. The chef and staff were very friendly and the service, excellent. It was a nice change from the usual LA restaurant scene. www.ilcarpaccioristorante.com - consider it your lucky day if they are doing an x-mas eve dinner. Bon app.
This is over kill, but I like Italian so I have compiled a list that I follow.
Valentino (VERY expensive)
La botte /piccolo/il carpaccio
Via Veneto (expensive)
Capo (very expensive)
Café Bella Roma (cheap)
Giorgio Baldi (expensive. Small. tasty)
Farfalla Trattoria Inc (cheap)
Osteria La Buca (cheap, neighorhood favorite)
La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana (Best in long beach)
La sosta enoteca (best in the south bay)
Madeo (Expensive, dated, industry charmer. Tasty though)
Il grano (chef owned and crudo)
Il Moro (Bolognese)
I eat a lot of Italian and I love trying new places.
If I had to pick one.........hmmmmm.......I don't know. They all have different price points, advantages, disadvantages. Valentino is inconsistent, but when its on, its very good, especially for non-pasta dishes. Their wine list is great. Capo and La Botte both have great menu items and are well rounded. All Angelo is great at pastas. Osteria Mozza was great when I had it, but there are mixed reviews. Il Moro is very heavy (bolognese) but some of their meat dishes are very good.
I sure do. Love to cook it, love to have it home cooked for me, and love to eat out!
I used to be the only person in my family that didnt like Italian food. My mom made it only so so, and we always ate at olive garden when I was young. One day I ate Italian at a fancy place in SF. Ever since then I have been making up for lost time :). Same goes for pizza :)
I love Via Veneto as well.
To your list, I add...
Angeli Caffe (just a charming little place and not too expensive)
Palmeri (a frequent san vicente stop)
Pecorino (one of my more recent haunts)
Pizzicotto (really tasty and reasonable, but a bit noisier and crowded)
Peppone (old school dark moody ambience)
if you happen to be in the valley,
Il Tiramisu (not everyone here loves it, but I think it's a great, valuable spot)
Oliva Italian on Van Nuys
I like: (i) Vito on Ocean Park, (ii) Dan Tana's in WeHo, and (iii and iv) Il Pastaio and Il Buco (both Giacomino Drago restaurants) in Beverly Hills, (v) Angelini Osteria near the Grove, and (vi) Mozza (I prefer the Pizzeria, but that might be too casual for Christmas). That said, the most "famous" and well-regarded Italian restaurant in the city is Valentino in West LA (by far), but I find it to be too much (for cost and pomp/circumstance) for an Italian restaurant.