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Feb 19, 2001 03:16 PM

What's the current buzz on Valentino?

  • d

I was looking for a place to try for my birthday and I haven't been to Valentino yet. The place intrigues me, but if its glory days are ten years behind it, maybe I don't want to go. Does anyone have thoughts?

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  1. You can still get a great meal at Valentino. Like all restaurants, the quality varies somewhat, but the baseline is very high. I've not read, heard, or experienced anything that suggests it's a restaurant in decline. The Executive Chef, Angelo Auriana, has been at Valentino since 1986, and has maintained an exceptionally high level of performance during his long tenure there. Valentino's is on my list of the top restaurants in Los Angeles.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tom Armitage

      I've never understood the appeal of Valentino. I do love the wine list, but have eaten there twice and been disappointed both times. The first time, we had an overcooked osso buco. (Although the gnocchi was some of the best I've had.) Thinking that they must have had an off night, we tried it again. The second time we got the tasting menu and received 3 dishes in a row that had the same texture and over-the-top richness. Although we enjoy rich food, this was so far overdone that it nearly made us ill, and the same texture 3 dishes in a row certainly wasn't very interesting.

      1. re: Chowgirl

        The gnocci are amazing. The carpaccio is also very good. You must be into subtlety to properly appreciate Valentino. If you love Cafe Del Rey you will probably not appreciate Valentino.

    2. Don't know the current (2001) buzz, but as an out-of-towner who has eaten there every other year for quite some time (last visit summer 2000)I am amazed by its consistency. First-rate food, a knowledgable, welcoming staff (though a bit obsequious with the regulars)and though somewhat expensive, a real value.
      Wish I could go more often.

      1 Reply
      1. re: reid

        "a bit obsequious with the regulars" and a lot rude and condescending with the commoners.

      2. Dined at Valentino last week with clients. The wine list is tops and the food unbelievable. For an unforgettable dining experience, ask the owner, Piero Selvaggio, to put together a 4-5 course menu for you, including wines. To be a regular here costs a bunch so it's no wonder the staff goes out of their way for them.


        1. h

          Ate there about 2 mon. ago and was not impressed. My husband (being blessed with an expense account) has eaten there on multiple occasions in the past and has never understood the buzz/hype about Valentino.

          1. the food, and everyone seems to get the "extraveganza menu", or tasting menu, is really mediocre. although some of the dishes are quite tasty, none are transcendant, and some outright bad. the veal ravioli taste like chefboyardee, one night the lamb was so tough we couldn't eat it.

            in addition, the service is really average. the first two times we went, we almost walked out because no one was paying attention to our table. after we complained (getting a free bottle of wine in the process), the service was fine.

            also, the ambiance is terrible. the rooms and tables are not particulary comfortable, and there is no "buzz" in the restaurant.

            yes, the wine list is amazing and there are some good values (steer away from cal cults and big names), but here in la corkage is a fact of life. if you don't collect wine, go to a good wine store and pick up a bottle or two of wine for dinner. you'll pay less (corkage ranges from 0 to $25, averaging $10 - remember, always call ahead to find out their policy) and enjoy more.

            2 Replies
            1. re: john guerin
              nicholas lowie

              valentino is, along with patina one of the most overrated restaurants in LA and the entire country. Probably the most redundant and gooey meals i've ever had was one the famous tasting meals--made just for you---as well as everybody else who wants it. there was cheese, or dairy in every single course. first-fried cheese. second-burrata salad. third-lamb with a cheddar! cheese risotto. finally panna cotta. i guess piero like california for the cheese.

              1. re: nicholas lowie
                Nicholas Lowie

                I forgot the pasta course of radiatore in a sun dried tomato cream sauce. Yuck. I also misspelled Piero likes California: for the cheese.