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Jun 13, 2009 12:20 PM

Fritto misto - Why?

having just posted this within some thread i would like to take the liberty of asking the board in toto- why would anyone (who cares about food enough to be on this board) go to fritto misto.

(posted under italian for bday w/baby)

PLEASE- someone explain to me what is good about / at Frito Miston other than the bread (no offense intended.)

it is the closest restaurant to our office. we eat lunch out everyday. we often plan our day around where to eat lunch (we are serious about food) AND

we would NEVER go in the place (again- and have tried it more than once) we would go without rather than eat there. other than the bread WHY does anyone go there? i guess because the portions are large, and there is the illusion of being cheap- but with no value can it be cheap?

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  1. It's a place I can take a group of people with unusual and conflicting dietary restrictions. Vegetarians, vegans, people with celiac disease, low-carb people, bland food people.

    The food isn't bad. If you think it's that bad frankly you have not plumbed the awfulness that is Italian food in Los Angeles. (There are bright spots but any Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to open a restaurant in this town seems to think they can plunge a pound of cheap dried pasta in some water and charge $14 for it.)

    And I like the eponymous dish. It's absolutely hellaciously bad for you but I like it.

    That said, the stupidly long wait for a table (WHY WON'T YOU TAKE RESERVATIONS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE) and the cramped and insanely loud inside mean that I am essentially unable to participate in a conversation... which is the main reason I don't go more often than I might.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      It's probably a bit over-rated. However, there are bright spots on the menu that can make it worth it (for some).

      - Pumpkin ravioli
      - HUGE salad portions
      - Dietary restriction accomodations
      - Good location, especially given the reasonable price

      1. re: agarose2000

        thanks to both of you for your replies

        i agree w/u "geek" about the parcity of reasonable italian alternatives in LA. if asked where would i go for a decent reasonably priced italian meal i would have had to reply: new york, or san francisco ? actually i could probably fly to italy for less than the check at the more "distinguished" italian eateries here in santa monica.

        except for Bay Cities (where i do go regularly) but the ambience is not an alternative

        for me reasonable italian = bay cities
        decent meal at Colorado & 6th in santa monica means Ninjin (which i think is a respectable neighborhood japanese restaurant where i have had some awfully good pieces of sushi- better than at some of the "bigger names"

        1. re: gore_mutt

          Decent meal at (or very near) Colorado & 6th: Norms. If, that is, (1) the meal is breakfast, and (2) you avoid any of the steak breakfasts. My recommendation: the "four deuces," all bacon, eggs over easy, biscuit and gravy subbed for the hotcakes -- though Norms's hotcakes are quite good. For around $4, can't beat it.

          1. re: gore_mutt

            I have to be honest here, and please just take this at face value (you made me think of it but it's a long-held thought, so please don't think I'm shouting at you) but the sort of post where people immediately talk about how there's no reasonable Italian in LA and they would have to go to SF or NY...

            ...there's no helping there, because that tells me the door is closed to possibilities. I have tried many times to suggest places that I think are quite decent (I grew up in central NJ, I know my Italian-American food and also my Italian food) but if someone goes in expecting to be disappointed, they will invariably be disappointed.

            So if that hits home, I'm sorry -- but there's so much great food out there that I don't usually feel the lack of Ital-Am "like home" too badly. Delve into what LA does really well and then if life takes you to another place, you can talk about Korean like in LA, or regional Mexican, or sushi...

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              As usual, Das Ubergeek is the voice of sanity and good taste on this site.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                you couldn't be more wrong about "open door," longing for Ny etc, but of course you had no way to know, and i can see how my crack would lead you to think such.. ( food adventuring is one of our primary pastimes)

                however i have never really had the experience of walking into a "reasonable" italian rest. in L.A. and being pleasantly surprised. otherwise, having lived here quite a while i couldn't be more thrilled about what a food
                mecca L.A. has become

                I WILL DEFINITELY seek out your prior posts on italian (and not burden you to repeat them) definitely look forward to them, and thank you

                now Thai, south asian, mexican, japanese that is another story in L.A.

                1. re: gore_mutt

                  And I'll concede that my generalisation isn't true for everyone, and that I find Italian in this city to be kind of, eh, well, not quite like what I grew up with.

                  But I've managed to redefine "Italian" to include Cal-Italian. I really love Angelini Osteria and though I haven't been since they reopened after the fire, I always liked going to Mazzarino's. I enjoy Spumoni in Sherman Oaks, and Il Moro and, though it's been years, La Bottega Marino (casual) and Il Grano (more formal, great service) in West LA.

                  I haven't been to the Mozza twins. I just don't care enough to fight my way into that part of LA just to wait for a table I had to struggle to reserve.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. arugula with gorgonzola and some kind of candied nut.

              1. Get the lemon-pepper fettucine with garlic cream sauce and filet mignon tips. Or the pasta puttanesca, or the pumpkin ravioli. And their creme brulee is great.
                I agree that it can get very loud and cramped, but while I wouldn't call it "Italian', we've always enjoyed the meals there (and they'll provide your kid with kid-size portions of just about anything).