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Fraiche or All' Angelo?

Newkie Jan 8, 2008 11:20 AM

My parents are coming to town in a couple of weeks and wanted Italian, so I made reservations at Fraiche and All' Angelo. Reviews for both have been glowing and I'm anxious to try either one. If anyone has been to both, please help me decide where to go!

My parents are very accomplished chefs, so food is the most important factor here. They care more about execution than innovation, but that’s not to say they don’t enjoy trying new things. Price and neighborhood don’t matter, since they’re both in the same price range and near my home in West Hollywood. A good wine list is appreciated. As for atmosphere, they don’t like anything stuffy (i.e. waiters constantly refolding your napkin) and trendy (i.e. stuck-up staff, too loud to hear a conversation).

Any thoughts? I’d like to stick to these two restaurants, but I’m open to suggestions if they meet my criteria and are open on Mondays. Thanks!

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  1. wilafur RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 11:24 AM

    fraiche is french influenced. so if your folks want italian go to all angelo.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wilafur
      Newkie RE: wilafur Jan 8, 2008 11:29 AM

      I understand that, but they're not purists and Fraiche seems to have both French and Italian to try.

      1. re: wilafur
        Grog RE: wilafur Jan 8, 2008 11:48 AM

        I don't know where you got that from. Having been to Fraiche several times, I can say with confidence this is not just a French inspired menu, though some items are. There is a great selections of pastas. Many of the entrees are Italian influenced. The wine list has a strong Italian influence and is well chosen. It seems more Italian inspired than French. YMMV.

        To the OP: Both restaurants are outstanding. Fraiche is probably easier on the wallet. I've had nothing but excellent service at both. You can't go wrong at either place.

        1. re: Grog
          LisaStitch RE: Grog Jan 8, 2008 12:19 PM

          I've only been to Fraiche, and I didn't like it and neither did my mother who went with me. Since you inquire about Italian, one of the things I had was the rigatoni, which was considerably over-salted, which I actually like but most people would have found way too salty. So I wouldn't say Italian is one of their strong suits.

      2. ipsedixit RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 11:54 AM

        I like All' Angelo alot. Go there.

        1. h
          homecookinwannabe RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 01:16 PM

          I have not been to All'Angelo, but have tried Fraiche and the service was absolutely terrible and the food not really anything special. Although the ambiance is nice, after the level of service we received there, it felt much more like a tourist trap at a great location than the fabulous new restaurant it is touted to be.

          1. n
            New Trial RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 02:30 PM

            While I like Fraiche a lot (and go there far more often), the food and service at All'Angelo is better and more impressive. Fraiche's prcies are less expensive than All'Angelo's, though.

            1. s
              slacker RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 03:21 PM

              I've been to Fraiche a number of times; still need to try All' Angelo. The highlights at Fraiche are their pastas, they do them very well. The other dishes can be somewhat hit and miss, mostly hit. All the salads I've tried have been excellent except the farro, which I thought was just bland. The service is very hit and miss, there are one or two servers there who are really good at what they do, the others seem to be actors in training. But they have excellent specialty cocktails.

              1. c
                carter RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 03:52 PM

                While both of your selections have quality attributes, All'Angelo is a more serious restaurant that does Italian quite well, yet has more of the hovering service you indicate you might not be up for. Fraiche on the other hand is more casual, waiters seem fresh out of high school/college and have not developed the full professionalism you might be seeking, even in a less serious environment.
                The food is good in both places, with the edge to Angelo in my opinion.
                However, while not Italian, yet a cross between the two in ambiance, but with better service and quality of food, you should try Hatfields on Beverly. Truly wonderful food, very small yet well selected wine list, and the nicest of owners. It has a small and intimate feel, yet some say too bland, meaning mostly all white walls. But the food.... Take a look and see what you think.

                1. SauceSupreme RE: Newkie Jan 8, 2008 03:59 PM

                  All'Angelo would be a great place to bring the 'rents. Consider also Osteria La Buca and Angelini Osteria, as they're both a bit more casual than All'Angelo, though all are good choices.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme
                    Newkie RE: SauceSupreme Jan 9, 2008 09:07 AM

                    Angelini was my first choice (it's one of my favorite restaurants in LA), but unfortunately they're closed on Mondays. The Osteria La Buca looks good though. Is it as good as Angelini (i.e. high quality ingredients, everything tastes fresh and not overcooked like at some lesser Italian restaurants)? I'm pretty picky about my Italian....

                    1. re: Newkie
                      scurvy RE: Newkie Jan 9, 2008 09:24 AM

                      While I love La Buca, I don't think they serve the level of food you would get at Angelini or All'Angelo. They serve excellent and extremely fresh pasta and pizzas, but their preparations are not innovative in any way. I don't think you would find the meal to be as special as it sounds like you would like it to be.

                      Have you checked out Melograno? I have not tried it yet, but it is getting good marks so far and the menu looks interesting.

                      6541 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                      1. re: scurvy
                        Newkie RE: scurvy Jan 9, 2008 09:33 AM

                        Just checked the website and they're closed on Mondays. Thanks anyway!

                        1. re: Newkie
                          LisaStitch RE: Newkie Jan 9, 2008 10:30 AM

                          A couple more to consider: Via Veneto (top-notch service and great food, lots of specials every day, though I'm not very educated on source of ingredients) and La Vecchia Cucina (like a more relaxed version of Via Veneto, not as expensive).

                          Both places are on Main Street in Santa Monica. Both have a tendency to get loud but not deafening or anything like that. They're busy places. Definitely make a reservation either way, even for a Monday.

                  2. pleasurepalate RE: Newkie Jan 9, 2008 12:59 AM

                    I've never been to Fraiche, but I absolutely love All'Angelo. Check out my review and pics below:


                    1. MyMyNYGirl RE: Newkie Jan 9, 2008 11:22 AM

                      Not sure if you're focused on any particular part of town, but if they're looking for Italian and a "neighborhood" place is OK, I wouldn't miss VITO on Ocean Park in Santa Monica. It's very much a mix of casual and dressed up (I wouldn't go so far as to say elegant). The food is divine - very old school (table side caesar is the best caesar I've ever had) and the main dishes (pasta, meat, fish) all delicious. Nice bar, good wine selection and a very genuinely welcoming staff. They are open Monday and you can see more at http://www.vitorestaurant.com/. Enjoy!

                      1. Cicely RE: Newkie Jan 10, 2008 01:52 PM

                        I think those are good choices. There are always *other* possibilities, but I wouldn't revise those reservations.

                        I went to Fraiche not long ago with three friends and we ordered just about all the pasta dishes on the menu, as well as some appetizers and a main or two. It was all delicious, although my favorite was definitely a dark horse: the bacon risotto. In general, the pastas were very fresh, tender and perfectly cooked. Flavorful sauces, and I didn't notice anything overly salty (and I'm the kind of cook who usually forgets the salt). We also managed to share a Paris-Brest for dessert... I'm not big on fancy pastries, but the hazelnut cream (?) was delicious. We had good service; we'd heard that the sommelier, who's a part owner and the host, can be really rude to walk-ins who expect a table (tho you can walk in to eat in the bar area), but we did have a res, so just sailed past his glacial aura. I'm going back for my birthday dinner.
                        report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/466487

                        I haven't been to All' Angelo, but my friend who is a big Italophile loves it.

                        1. carln RE: Newkie Jan 10, 2008 02:18 PM

                          My experience at Fraiche was mixed. The food was excellent and i greatly enjoyed it...however the service was awful. They acted as though they were doing us a favor for allowing us to give them our business. To me thats a huge turn-off. There are enough very good restaurants in LA that one does not need to put up with this sort of nonsense.

                          If you are intersested in reading about the details of my visit, you can find my review here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/441052

                          1. s
                            sparky RE: Newkie Jan 10, 2008 02:57 PM

                            i've been to both, although i've eaten at fraiche much more frequently as it's closer to my home. it's more casual than all'angelo. have to say though, i'm surprised at other posters' references to poor service. i've always felt welcome and comfortable. oh man, now i'm craving a pork chop...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sparky
                              SauceSupreme RE: sparky Jan 10, 2008 06:23 PM

                              Agreed that All'Angelo is not as casual as Fraiche, which is why I thought it would be perfect to take the parents. I mean, I don't know goodhealthgourmet's parental units at all, but if they're anything like mine, the loud boisterous atmosphere of Fraiche would be a turn-off. Also, All'Angelo's menu is much more straightforward.

                              I really like both, so it's going to come down to which one the OP feels will be best suited for her parents.

                              1. re: SauceSupreme
                                The Sauce RE: SauceSupreme Jan 11, 2008 04:13 PM

                                I have eaten at Fraiche. I really enjoyed my meal. Service was fine but I did feel a bit odd when I approached the host for a table. I do agree that a host/hostess should be as welcoming as possible. I believe that many restaurant owners and chefs review boards such as Chowhound and blogs to read what people are saying, but I encourage people who truly feel that service was lousy to email the restaurant directly. If they really care (and they all do) they will address it directly with the staff. Sometimes it's still a work in progress, regardless if a restaurant is not brand new anymore.

                            2. h
                              HelpingU RE: Newkie Jan 11, 2008 08:06 PM

                              All'Angelo is a nice place and the food is very worthy. If you are like me, you don't want to take your parents to a place with attitude and All'Angelo has proven to be very classy the times I have been. Fraiche...the food is ok but really the treatment is not so great and at the end of the day, I like to spend my money at a place that has good food and actually appreciates that I have chosen to spend my money there. Sadly, this is not the case at Fraiche. In LA there are so many places to eat and I wish more people would support the establishments that are serving good food and good attitude!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: HelpingU
                                The Sauce RE: HelpingU Jan 12, 2008 02:42 PM

                                HelpingU - agreed. I'm just saying, give places a chance to improve before writing them off. :)

                                1. re: The Sauce
                                  carln RE: The Sauce Jan 13, 2008 08:25 AM

                                  Sauce, I hear ya about giving a place a second chance and i likely will give Fraiche a second chance, but honestly, when management seems to have an attitude, rather than just a server, it sometimes not worthy of another chance. The only reason im probably going back is because the food was very good...but if i get the slightest attitude again, im done.

                              2. w
                                wiz RE: Newkie Jan 13, 2008 08:39 AM

                                If you are looking for Italian, why try anywhere except Valentino's, the benchmark for Italian food in L.A. very expensive, but you said, no problem.

                                1. n
                                  Newkie RE: Newkie Jan 14, 2008 03:45 PM

                                  Thanks for all the really thoughtful feedback! Tough call but I'm going to go with All 'Angelo as it sounds like it's more consistent than Fraiche (I'll save that restaurant for another night).

                                  1. e
                                    europhile40 RE: Newkie Jan 14, 2008 07:18 PM

                                    I've been to both (BTW, my friends also think I'm an accomplished home chef). Although All'Angelo is certainly good, my first choice would be Fraiche by far. My girlfriend and I were there for New Year's Eve, when they offered both prix fixe and their regular menu. We ordered off the regular menu, and everything was wonderful. The wine list is also very reasonably priced. It was our second visit in the past month, and we'll go back again very soon. In my opinion, the food and atmosphere at All'Angelo just doesn't compare. Fraiche by a mile in my view.

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