Northern Italian vs. Southern Italian
My old man is coming to town, and he mentioned that he wants to goto a great Northern Italian restaurant. Since I don't know what Italian restaurants are of what region, does anyone have any suggestions for great Northern Italian in the LA area? Location and cost independent. Thanks!
that whole northern/southern thing doesn't really apply so much out here. it used to be used as a way to differentiate "red sauce" italian from "authentic" italian. since we really don't have much red sauce italian here, you can pretty much take your pick. depending on the budget and neighborhood, maybe osteria angelini, angeli caffe, valentino, ... you can pretty much name it.
What does he mean by Northern? There's a big difference between Piedmont, Lombardy and Friuli, yet they're all in the North...
Simplistically, the difference between Northern and Southern Italian food is that in the North butter and cream are common, while in the South it is olive oil and tomatoes. Northern food also can feature more high end cuts of meat. This completely glosses over the regional differences between Bologna,Tuscany, Campania, Puglia, etc.
In common usage, Northern vs. Southern Italian is also used to differentiate the simple tomato sauce heavy spaghetti and meatball dishes common to Americanized Italian restaurants vs. the perceived more refined cuisine of fine dining Italian restaurants.
My favorite Italian restaurant is Drago, it is upscale and refined but the owner is Sicilian and the food more Southern in style. Valentino's is a more Northern Italian. The food can be excellent, but I have found the service to be hit and miss depending on whether or not you are perceived to be a "somebody."
A small notch below these places is Buona Sera in Redondo Beach. The owners are from Puglia in the South, so the food has a bias towards that cuisine. Likewise, La Sosta in Hermosa Beach has a Northern bent.
La Sosta Enoteca
2700 Manhattan Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Valentino (Santa Monica)
3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Buona Sera Ristorante
247 Avenida del norte, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403
I haven't been there in at least 6 months, so I'm not sure I can recommend anything specific. In general, I love their Antipasti and Pasta. Like at most Italian restaurants, I find the Primi the least interesting items on the menu, and I don't usually order one. I vaguely recall being underwhelmed by meat dishes that my wife has ordered.