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Comme Ca or Osteria Mozza

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I will be heading down to LA from SF over the weekend in late April and am deciding between the Comme Ca and Osteria Mozza.

We will be a party of 4, all in our mid-20s. I understand the basic differences: French Brasserie vs. Italian Rustic.

So Which shoud I choose?

This past Winter I was in NYC but tried a month in advance to get into Babbo but those phone lines were ridiculous and I was on hold for over 30 minutes (I started calling 5 minutes before opening). So Osteria Sounds good, for the Pasta and the Rustic food, similar somewhat to Babbo. I have been to Pizzeria Mozza and thought it was good, not great, but good.

As for Comme Ca, I haven't had French Brasserie food in awhile and I heard its a very loud and festive atmosphere with Good Food and drinks.

I seems like both a are in a similar price range.

My main priorities are good food and enjoyable surroundings to spend time with friends I don't see often. Thanks in Advance for your suggestions.

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  1. In a city that doesn't have many (or at least as many as you might think) good French Bistro's, Comme Ca gets a lot of play. But it is a formula replicated, albeit very well, in a fun environment. If you want a French Bistro, have at it. However, in a city that is packed to the gills with very very good Italian, Osteria Mozza stands out. You will most likely spend more at Mozza and it may be harder to get in vs. Comme Ca, but that is the food experience you want.

    AND, Mozza has a very impressive bar--all boutique brands and talented mixologists. I had one of the best Old Fashioned's I've had in a long time there about 3 weeks ago. The wine list is also very well put together and while somewhat esoteric and sometimes downtright obscure, their wine staff is good and will take care of you.

    Just call immediately to see if you can snag a table at Mozza the weekend you'll be in town. If you can't, then the choice is easy. :) Unless Comme Ca has suddenly gotten molten hot in a way I am not aware of, you shouldn't have too much trouble with this lead time there.

    1. I had been waiting to try Comme Ca since it opened, and finally went last night. HUGE disappointment. We had an 8:30 reservation, but weren't seated till 9:15. Overall the ambiance is nice - typical French brasserie feel, but it gets extremely loud (even for 26 yr olds) and tough to hear each other across a small table. The service and food were mediocre at best. The cocktails are great, but at a place like that, you expect the food to be as well.

      I've heard wonderful things about their brunch, so I'd skip dinner there and perhaps try it for brunch....Go to Osteria Mozza instead. Or, a few other quality LA restaurants:

      Lucques
      Fraiche
      The Wilshire
      Campanile

      5 Replies
      1. re: foodie55

        If you don't like Comme Ca, you will absolutely hate Osteria Mozza. It is the noisiest, most uncomfortable, over-rated restaurant in the world!! I like Lucques very much and would heartily recommend it, as I would Sona (the much fancier big brother of Comme Ca). And...if you truly want a casual and very competent French bistro, there is always Mimosa on Beverly Blvd. It's very nice and consistent, but certainly not in a league with Lucques or Sona. Forget Mozza (either the pizzeria or osteria) unless you don't care to have conversation over dinner, and don't mind being treated poorly and eating mediocre food!

        1. re: josephnl

          Sorry but this is not true. I, and several others I know, think that Comme Ca has great cocktails but mediocre food...but love love love Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza. I don't begrudge the opinion of those who don't like the Mozza's but they are in the minority, among casual diners and foodies alike, to be sure.

          It is true that Pizzeria Mozza is very loud, but fun and convivial, and the Osteria is only somewhat quieter.

          1. re: glengarry

            I would agree that the noise level in the osteria is somewhat tolerable, but absolutely stand on my comments re the pizzeria. I guess there are some that don't mind noise, and others who prefer to be able to talk over dinner. I personally don't care how good the food is (which I think isn't particularly great), if the noise level and general ambiance are so uncomfortable as is true at the pizzeria, you can count me out!

            1. re: josephnl

              No disrespect to your opinion intended and you certainly aren't the only person who doesn't like Mozza, just didn't want readers to think that if they don't like Comme Ca, that they definately or even probably won't like Mozza. Just not the prevailing opinion, though you, the OP and other knowledgeable foodies might feel just the opposite or hate both.

          2. re: josephnl

            Do NOT care for Comme Ca, ADORE Mozza. Frankly, the flow of the room is better and so is the food. I love the people watching at Mozza and have found myself slightly uncomfortable at Comme Ca when I have been in (food wise and space wise).

        2. o'mozza. if you do not have a ressie, call NOW.

          1. I have been to both and agree that both are noisy. That being said the noise level at Comme Ca was unbearable. And I was made to wait 30 mins when I had a reservation and it was a Tuesday night! The food was good, but between being a party of 3 squished into a table for two and the restaurant being so noisy we couldn't even hear our server, it is just not a place I will return to until the buzz dies down, except maybe to try their brunch. Mozza wasn't quiet but I found the overall experience much mroe enjoyable. Everything from the Mozzarella bar is wonderful as are the rosemary and olive oil cakes for desert.

            Enjoy!

            1. In my experience, other than for the latter's cocktails and the cheese selection, Osteia Mozza has Comme Ca beat by a country kilometre. This is not to say that the food at Comme Ca isn't good--with a few notable exceptions, and some general issues with salt level, it has been--but rather that the food at Osteria Mozza has largely been superb. Both places can be intolerably loud though, and neither is particularly comfortable (Osteria has the edge here as well). Lunch is a lot more pleasant at Comme Ca than dinner, if that is an option.

              Like Jenh, Comme Ca once tried to squeeze my party of 3 into a two-top in a corner near two archways; however, when they declined to move us to a larger table, even though there were many still open ("But they are reserved," came the response), we left--and wound up at Osteria Mozza where timing favored us with three seats at the Mozzarella Bar. That has not stopped me from going back to Comme Ca, but I do view it as poor restaurant management since the two-tops are not comfortable for three and we had not walked in off the street but had a reservation as well.

              1. I don't think anyone is factoring in age. I think Mozza is pretty great, but it's an older crowd. And it's a lot more expensive than Comme Ca (except for the drinks).

                Comme Ca has really good basics, the crowd is younger and more fun, and the drinks really are terrific. If you lean toward food, Mozza, atmosphere, Comme Ca.

                1. I think the first reply got it right: you don't have anything like Mozza in SF, you do have your Comme Ça-s. I love them both so far. So I do disagree that Comme Ca is mediocre on food. If you know French brasseries, this is authentic outside of the decor, and in my experience much of the food much better than you will get at a real French brasserie. Last time there, I had a dozen perfect oysters--but see, you have them better for sure up in SF--and then the special of the night (Saturday), which is pork belly served on a bed of perfectly cooked lentils. It was a dish from heaven. The cocktails do impress, as do the bartenders, if you sit in the bar and watch the action.
                  It is the Italian vs. French conundrum. Read Bill Buford's Heat...

                  1. I tried calling the osteria mozza lines right at 10 but no one was picking up and I had to head into 1 hour meeting. I called after my meeting but the times available 1 month in advance just wouldn't work (5:30 or 9:30).

                    I also thought about what you all had said about comme ca and it made me miss Bistro Jeanty (yountville/napa) which I had about 3-4 months. I don't think it will measure up food wise, though. So I went with AOC. I recently heard good reports here on CH. So I feel positive about it. Its kinda compromise between osteria and comme ca in my mind.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: DavidB

                      As another option, Osteria Mozza does take walk-ins for seating at its Mozzarella and cocktail bars; first come, first served. I actually prefer dining at the Mozzarella bar to having a table there.

                      1. re: DavidB

                        Nothing in southern CA will come close to Bistro Jeanty! I LOVE that place!! For reasonably decent bistro cuisine, I would head over to Mimosa on Beverly. I find it much more authentic, comfortable, and less expensive than Comme Ca. Neither place is in a league with BJ!

                        1. re: DavidB

                          Sorry about the Osteria Mozza call lines. It really sucks these days getting a table, especially with their horrible new phone line. I'm convinced one day I will call Mozza and get a reservationist in Bangalore. Keep trying for a table; something may open up. Believe it or not, it occasionally happens. Perhaps once or twice a week until the event, then daily during the week of the dinner, including (and especially) the day of your dinner. Afternoons are the best time to call.

                          1. re: DavidB

                            Make sure you ask to be seated downstairs at AOC. Atmosphere is a lot better. And make sure you order the dates stuffed with parm and wrapped in bacon, it's arguably the best thing on the menu.

                            1. re: sloanedone

                              My virgin experience at Osteria Mozza last night. 6:30 reservation (made a month ago), seated right away. Very small four top, very uncomfortable, very loud. VERY RUSHED SERVICE, they clearly wanted us in and out quickly. Food was wonderful, I really wanted the pasta tasting menu but the rest in my party weren't wanting it. I'd like to do it some day but I'm not sure I want to go back to Osteria, do want to try the Pizzeria but if I'm in for another night of loudness with sore butt and waiting 20 minutes for the valet to get our car, then I'm not so sure any pizza is worth that.

                              1. re: Muhlyssa

                                they started serving pizza at o'mozza?

                                1. re: Muhlyssa

                                  "if I'm in for another night of loudness with sore butt and waiting 20 minutes for the valet to get our car, then I'm not so sure any pizza is worth that"

                                  Bravo!

                                  1. re: RicRios

                                    Who uses the valet??? It's street parking heaven around there.

                                    1. re: sloanedone

                                      It's residential permit parking in the neighborhood and all the meters were full. Believe me, I'm the cheapest person in the world when it comes to valet and I cursed out loud when I saw they were charging $8.50 for valet.

                                      1. re: Muhlyssa

                                        Just go down Highland past Clinton Street. There are no time restrictions on those blocks, with plenty of open spaces.

                                        1. re: Muhlyssa

                                          highland has a plethora of free parking. just go south 1.5 blocks and you'll find blocks upon blocks of free (non-permit necesssary) parking .

                                          1. re: wilafur

                                            Yeah, as long as you go East of Highland, it's open season on those side streets.

                                            1. re: sloanedone

                                              actually both the east and west sides of highland are open game for free parking.

                                    2. re: Muhlyssa

                                      If you found the Osteria loud and uncomfortable, you will find the pizzeria doubly so. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would put up with the uncomfortable ambiance at the pizzeria.

                                      1. re: Muhlyssa

                                        What night were you there?

                                    3. re: DavidB

                                      AOC is always good. I've been a regular there since it opened. You'll definitely eat well. Osteria Mozza is a hard reservation, but they seat walk-ins at both bars. Bar seating is not ideal for a party of 4, but you should try it when you're a just a couple. It's actually better than eating at a table.

                                    4. Mozza for sure. Comme Ca is horrible. The only people who like it are those so starved for anything even vaguely french in this town.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: EREDSON

                                        Ortolan and Pastis aren't too far away. I think the crowd is because it's new, not because it's French.

                                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                                          I would also suggest you take a look at Angelini Osteria http://www.angeliniosteria.com/menus.... if Mozza is too much of a scene, too loud, too rushed... I have yet to try Comme Ca but intend to!

                                      2. Neither restaurant is great, both are noisy, and both have unreliable service, but Osteria Mozza, at least, has some really good dishes. If you stick with the antipasti, pastas, and anything from the mozzarella bar, you'll leave satisfied and maybe even thrilled. There is also a very interesting wine list. Avoid the entrees - they're disappointing at best and very expensive. The food at Comme Ca, however, is uniformly mediocre. I've eaten there 3 times and never eaten anything terrific. Pass on Comme Ca.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: letthemeatcake

                                          i beg to differ regarding the entrees. i found the guinea fowl and the pork loin entrees to be very good.

                                        2. I just don't understand the vehement reactions to EITHER Mozza or Comme Ca - they're both fantastic. I don't think most of you have eaten enough bad food to realize how good these restaurants are, for Los Angeles - I've been them all MANY times and yes, there are always issues - but honestly - it doesn't get much better in town. And you can hardly compare one of these casual restaurants to something high end. Campanile was my favorite restaurants for many, many years and the last time we ate there, was... well the last time we'll eat there. Nancy Silverton's SHEER MAGIC has moved over and up a bit, to Highland and Melrose. And David Meyers is clever, classy and has a lot of taste and talent - are these restaurants loud? They're BISTROS, they'd be criticized if they WEREN'T loud... Comme Ca is gorgeously cramped and tight, it's bustling, it's exciting - Nancy Silverton's pizza is stuff dreams are made of. Really, people - these are both (or 3, if you count Osteria) superior restaurants for what we have to choose from. If you disagree, zip over to BLD, Campanile or Hatfields - those places really miss. (uh oh, now I've opened a can o' worms, haven't I?)

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Cooper100

                                            Actually, never had less than a wonderful meal at Hatfield's, yet never been sufficiently impressed with either Batali/Silverton operation to warrant another return. Not bad, just nothing overly special, yet all the excessive noise ruins the evening for me.

                                            1. re: Cooper100

                                              Chowhound is a pendulum, and these restaurants have simply swung out of vogue with the mob. The vitriol with which these restaurants that were once largely praise are know written about shows that it's more about the restaurants' larger popularity and groupthink than a genuine assessment of the restaurants' merit.

                                              Pizzeria Mozza has fantastic food, and the nastiness it's receiving here these days is completely unwarranted. My suspicion is that, were Mozza in San Francisco or New York, the crowding, noise, price, and sometimes short service would not be an issue for the people who complain about it in L.A. I think a lot of people are trying to play the game of finding a more esoteric pizzeria or osteria and proclaiming it better than Mozza - e.g., Bollini's, Terroni, All' Angelo. The fact that Mozza IS the yardstick is a sign of its quality.

                                              Comme Ça has good food, not spine-meltingly superlative but really good if uneven. They've gone a bit overboard with stuffing the room, unfortunately. There's a fine line between a chic crowd and an uncomfortable crush, and Comme Ça too often lapses into the latter. Service, even when it's earnest and obliging, could use more polish, such as becoming more familiar with French words and pronunciation at a French restaurant.

                                              You're right: Both have their problems, but neither deserve the venom they have been attracting here lately.

                                              1. re: Woolsey

                                                I think the big issue with Comme Ca (or, well, my issue, to be honest) is that the early buzz was that it was SOOO good as to be transcendent, so you book a reservation--at 5:30 or 9:30, natch--and show up on time, only to be greeted by a surly hostess who tells you to go to the bar, where you order your expensive cocktail from a bartender who's all too proud of the "cocktail program" even though what he serves you doesn't quite work, and then you stand crammed in like a sardine for up to an hour after your reservation time, at which point you're seated at a cramped table that's clearly designed for fewer people than your party, and it's 10:30 now but you're really just there for the transcendent food, right? So you order the food, all of which is quite expensive, and you take a bite and you say, this is good, some of it is very good, but certainly not worth the obnoxious service, the long wait, and the plasma donation I'll have to make to cover the cost of this meal.

                                                The backlash is not so much against popularity, but against the way that Comme Ca has handled its popularity, which has degraded the entire dining experience, not to mention the food.

                                                1. re: chowbella

                                                  That would be sad, then. I will admit that I'm a bit hesitant to return after my early and exceptional experiences there. Even from my first meal on Comme Ça's fourth day of business to my second two weeks later, I could tell that success was in danger of spoiling the place. That's why I'm more sad than excited to see that Myers is planning to open yet ANOTHER restaurant so soon. It looks like really needs to get control of the one he just opened first.

                                              2. re: Cooper100

                                                "I don't think most of you have eaten enough bad food to realize how good these restaurants are"

                                                You have it wrong. I've eaten enough GOOD food to realize how BAD Comme Ca is. Osteria Mozza can be quite good if you stick to food prepared by Silverton at the mozzarella bar. Food from the kitchen, supervised by Matt Molina, is mostly mediocre.

                                              3. Definitely, Mozza. If you can't get a table, don't have a big lunch and show up at 5:15 - 5:20 outside and join the foodies lining up for the no reservation Mozzarella Bar -- the doors open at 5:30, and there are 13 seats, first come, first serve. If you are lucky, you will sit right in front of Nancy, who is always there making all of the cold entrees and just doing her thing. I have been there 3 x and have not even gotten to the main dishes -- order the octopus and the Egg Ravioli pillow for sure. The wine list is superb ... all Italian in a wide price range. Sommeliers will match dish for dish.

                                                1. Skip Comme Ca, just go to Jeanty's or Bouchon up north.

                                                  I was there for dinner this past weekend, undersalted escargots, super salty pork belly Saturday special, undersalted sole, rubbery sugar crust on the creme brulee, frites that appear to completely dehydrated before being fried again. Only consolation for the nite was bread and somewhat decent oysters (pales to what you have in SF)

                                                  Good grief, blew my mind the number of misses food and service wise on such simple food and concept.... Funny thing though was that the table next to us was raving about everything they had.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Sgee

                                                    I was lucky and jumped into a party of 5 reservation at Osteria Mozza on Thu evening (they waited 7 weeks for that reservation!) last night.

                                                    I'm definitely not knowlegable in terms of the various "hip" places to go in town, so I can't really compare this place to other similar restaurants. However, I can comment on my experience there.

                                                    Pizzas were excellent in quality. I don't think it quite lives up to the extreme hype that it's been getting, but the pizzas are indeed unique and well-made. Perhaps most importantly to me, though, was that I felt that they exceeded that value that we paid for them. Each pizza was a personal sized 4-slice size, and ranged from $10-$16 in price each. Not cheap, but for a uber-hip place like Mozza, I felt that I was getting away with a steal here. If it weren't for the hype around the place, I'll admit that I would have given high praise to the unique pizzas for $10 I was getting here. The decor is nice as well - not outstanding, but dim and tastefully decorated. It really is all about the food here, though, which I really like. Definitely one of the better meals I've had, and if you consider the bang for the buck factor, it was a amazingly good value in my opinion - which is actually shocking considering the hip factor of this restaurant.

                                                    Parking fees are a drag (of course) - $8.50 for valet, with few open street spots nearby.

                                                    Mozza gets a thumbs up for me. Even for folks such as myself, who really value bang-for the buck, but are also willing to pay a premium for good food or good decor.

                                                    1. re: agarose2000

                                                      still don't understand why people cannot find a parking spot on the street. everytime i have been (typically prime time on fri/sat evening) there has always been dozens, if not hundreds, of spots available on highland.

                                                  2. Comme Ca is very loud. You won't be able to easily talk among yourselves.

                                                    I'm with you on Mozza. I've done the chef's tasting menu twice at the Osteria next door. The first time blew me away. the second time was like being in a completely different restaurant. Very inconsistent service (they kept forgetting to bring our wine parings with our entrees then the servers completely disappeared altogether...disappointing). Nonetheless, try Lucques...it has consistently great food, a good vibe and is a great place to get together with friends.

                                                    1. Comme ca is truly one of the most mediocre restaurants, not just in LA but anywhere. Mozza and Osteria Mozza are in another league entirely. I am not exaggerating when I say that you get better service and food at Taco Bell than at Comme Ca. We have been there 3 times and each was mediocre (sidenote: we have never chosen to go there, other people have booked it sadly) at best. Tonight was the last time, never again. The service and the food are embarrassing. I would recommend Houston's over Comme Ca and I kid you not.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: sushiloverLA

                                                        Houston's has solid food and among the best service I've seen, at any restaurant - if there is a problem, they bend over backward to fix it. That goes for Bandera and Gulfstream as well. Also, they have a great corkage policy - ZERO!

                                                        I didn't have a problem with Comme Ca's service, but the food was remarkably bland and dull. Not bad or inedible, but just not something I want to eat again.

                                                        1. re: manku

                                                          Loud is an understatement. Went to Comme Ca for a 7:30 reservation. The place was maybe 2/3's full if that but the noise level was totally uncomfortable. We left before we ordered and settled in to the very unhip Lawry's for some terrific prime rib. That place is soo unhip that it's almost hip. Nothing could have made up for that noise level. Maybe that we were all over 40 had something to do with the discomfort.. I'll try lunch, maybe it' will be better.

                                                        2. re: sushiloverLA

                                                          Surely you jest is suggesting that either of the two Mozza's is better than Comme Ca. Neither are anything special, and for my money, I'll take the ribs at Houston's over anything at either. At least Houston's has good service which is absolutely non-existent at the others.