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Super awesome Italian American food?

So my boyfriend isn't a huge fan of Italian food à la Angelini Osteria. He's more of a Palermo (on Vermont) kind of guy. I have to admit, I do like this kind of food once in awhile. Give me Olive Garden-esque bread sticks, soup, and salad anytime! (Heh!)

That said, can anyone give recommendations for mom-and-pop-type restaurants between the Westside and Eastside that serve this type of food? We could, of course, go to the Olive Garden or Buca di Beppo, but we'd rather go somewhere like Palermo (this is the only one I can think of off the top of my head that fits my criteria).

Thank you so much in advance!

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    1. I know the feeling. My roots are in southern Italy, and, as much as I love Valentino's, for example, I occasionally yearn for red and garlicky or otherwise full-flavored Italian food. But you can do much better than OG or BdiB. If you don't mind dipping down to San Pedro, a comfy and friendly little place there called Neil's offers what they advertise as "Neopolitan and Southern Italian Cuisine," with a special emphasis on pasta and seafood. I've eaten at Neil's a couple of times in recent months, and everything was very good, from the lagniappe breadsticks accompanied by a little dish of marinara sauce with a lump of mascarpone, at the beginning of each meal, to the appealing seafood pastas. (I haven't tried their desserts, since it's only 17 miles to Glacier ice-cream in Manhattan Beach. ;-) As with all but the top restaurants, if you like your fish and shellfish cooked lightly, be sure to tell them.

      Neil's is not exactly mom-and-pop, and it's certainly not Valentino's -- just a place to get a very satisfying Southern Italian lunch or dinner.

      1. The missing link ...

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        Neil's Pasta & Seafood Grill
        383 W 5th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

        1. We like Palermo once in a while. I love Villa Italian on Sepulveda at Washington, across the street from Titos, closed Mondays. I love their sauce, just a plain good sauce. If you want something really casual or takeout, try Andre's on third and fairfax where Whole Foods is. It is an instutition, been around fort years or more. Owned by the man that owned Andres, on Wilshire for decades.
          Hubby loves their ground veal parmagina with mushroom sauce. Don't miss their italian dressing, take it home for our salads, Place is real reseasonable, under ten dollars, including salad.