choosing an italian restaurant
- goodhealthgourmet Jan 24, 2008 11:54 PM
already been to angelini osteria, valentino, pane e vino & orso. which of the following must i try next...?
Other than Melograno, which I have yet to get to (definitely on the list), I have been to all of these and they are all great choices in their own ways. La Botte is dark and romantic (and got a Michelin star, if that matters) but, that having been said, I took my parents there in early December and they loved it. Il Moro is perhaps the least "must try" of this group, though I do like it quite a bit for semi-casual dining. La Terza is owned by Angelini, though the menu and space are different--more relaxed and spacious, with some delicious roast meats on offer (alas, fewer than it used to have)--and I seem to recall, a vegetarian tasting menu is now available. All' Angelo is excellent, inventive, high end cooking and was named one of the best new restaurants of the year (2007) by Esquire Magazine--I chose it for a double Birthday celebration next week with a group of friends. Vincenti offers superb alta cucina cooking and is an often overlooked gem (Angelini used to be the chef there and it has lost none of its luster since his departure) hosted by the warm and gracious Maureen Vincenti. In other words, a delicious dilemma! But I would lean toward either All' Angelo or Vincenti for your next "must try" Italian.
How about dressing down and hit a great little hole in the wall Italian joint in Venice/ Marina area called Allejo's? (This is the original one on the corner of Washington and Lincoln. There's another one down further south in the Westchester area-not so good) You can bring your own wine and They'll open it with no corkage fee. The prices are great, food is excellent, and the open kitchen will fill whatever you're wearing full of the great smell of garlic-bigtime. Make sure you get there by 6 or so. It does get packed. Nothing fancy about it, just great food.
Another Italian joint is Anna's on Pico in west LA. It's totally old school. They do several dishes at your table like Alfredo. When we go there, me and my g-friend always get this feeling that we walkd' in into a mob owned establishement; with it's amber colored dinning room and a big (but gentle) greeting host that speaks broken english...Mangia...
I have to disagree on All'Angelo. I was there last week. The salumi platter and cauliflower timbale were delicious, but the grilled lamb chops and chitarra spaghetti with langoustines were just passable. The pasta was cooked well, but there was something about the sauce I didn't like. The lamb chops were overcooked (we asked for medium rare and they were closer to well), over-salted, and also had a funny flavor. Both dishes were reminiscent of and on par with the lobster spaghetti and lamb chops at Bizou in Santa Monica.
Of those listed, I prefer LaBotte. Il Moro seems corporate, but it could just be the fact it's in an office building. I haven't been to LaTerza in years, but I recall it being good. Still have to try Vicente and Melograno.
from the list, i'd go to all' angelo and vincenti.
you may also want to give bella roma spqr a whirl as well. corkage is extremely low....like $4 or something.
La Botte would be the best among your choices. For first time, I would recommend their tasting menu which runs between $65 to $85. Fabulous food. Excellent Service.
Your list is excellent, but I would suggest (for something a little different) Il Carpaccio in Pacific Palisades for an amazing Italian experience. It's not that far, the staff/chef-owner are friendly, everything is delicious, fresh and piping hot if
it's a hot dish. This place is a gem.
You can find them on Open Table or at www.ilcarpaccioristoranate.com. I believe the chef-owner was the chef at La Botte until late last year. I say try all the places on your list!
I love Toscana. All dishes are beautifully prepared. No attitude among staff. Expensive? Yes! I don't feel ripped off. Quality ingredients. In Brentwood, for me, it is a great neighborhood restaurant; as close as it comes to a local trattoria in Italy. Perhaps, the restaurant reviewers will not swoon. Toscana is often ignored. Yet, they are always busy and provide consistently wonderful food. Also, a great place for lunch. Dining solo, sit at the counter. You will love the ambiance, food and experience.