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Any good Italian or French Restaurants in LA area?

foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 11:56 AM

Hey All,
Can anyone reccomed a good, authentic Italian restaurant in the LA/Silverlake Area? Or possibly a good French Restaurant in the same area? Nothing like Il fornaio, something a little more intimate and more authentic... And any suggestions on the menu choices/fav's would be mucho appreciated??


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  1. Will Owen RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 12:58 PM

    My mother-in-law is French, and Papa adores old-style French cooking, which very much includes serving escargot in their shells no matter WHAT the Health Department says. He asked us to take them to Taix on Sunset; we did, and they were delighted by the food, though we all found the menu's efforts to translate English to French to be incredibly bad. I don't know how well the place would stand up to a deeper exploration of the menu, but everything we had was at least quite good, some excellent, and the tab was within reach of normal humans. We went on a weeknight, fairly early, and had the very '50s-looking dining room practically to ourselves, though the bar was going great guns.

    1. l
      laliz RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 02:10 PM

      I heart Taix

      1 Reply
      1. re: laliz
        foodiemahoodie RE: laliz Jul 17, 2009 04:14 PM

        Taix? I would say that might be near the bottom of my list. Small but reasonably priced wine list, interesting setting - good place for a large wrap party or a buy out. But the food? Unimpressive. Note that you don't hear about a lot of great chefs who got their start at Taix.

        If you want some great (not good, but great) French Bistro, I'd go straight to Church & State which is in downtow LA. Followed by Comme Ca and Anisette (not in any particular order).

        There are some great cal-French restaurants, but that's another subject.

        Grat Italiian you will find at Angelini Osteria (informal), Madeo (more formal, but lively), Vicente and Mozza Osteria. Next I'd put in La Botte and Il Piccolo. I'm sure there's others I can't think of right now.

      2. j
        josephnl RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 03:26 PM

        For the Italian, you will not miss with Angelini Osteria on Beverly. It would be right at home in any small village in Italy. Its charming, with great service and great food.

        For the French, although not at the same high level as Angelini, we enjoy Cafe des Artistes in Hollywood. It serves typical bistro food, has good drinks and affordable wine, good service and pleasant environment. Sure, it's not Melisse...but for what it is, we find it quite enjoyable for an occasional dinner.

        Angelini Osteria
        7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

        Cafe Des Artiste
        1534 N McCadden Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90028

        1 Reply
        1. re: josephnl
          wilafur RE: josephnl Jul 10, 2009 04:00 PM

          i second angelini osteria. very good!

        2. c
          carter RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 03:32 PM

          Well, you have not received any options that are truly French that are also neighborhood proximate. Taix may have started out French, but it is a shadow of its former self these days - good restaurant, yes, yet not terribly French.
          If Culver City can be driving-worthy, try the new Saint Amour, on Culver Blvd. across the street from the city hall. Quite quite good, definitely French, and brought to you by the former owners of the Angelique Cafe in downtown LA. Just opened about 3 weeks ago. The other one will be Bistro LQ, which is doing a soft opening this weekend in the former Mimosa space on Beverly, just east of Crescent Hts. - again, not neighborhood proximate, but it will be as good or better than any in the greater LA area.
          There are waaaaaay too many Italian options for me to want to discuss, although you have Barbrix on Hyperion at Tracy in Silver Lake as a close-by option. Also quite new.

          1. justanotherpenguin RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 03:41 PM

            agree with taix. would also consider cafe beaujolais in eagle rock, not far from silverlake. somewhat more intimate than taix.

            Cafe Beaujolais
            1712 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

            7 Replies
            1. re: justanotherpenguin
              Will Owen RE: justanotherpenguin Jul 10, 2009 05:51 PM

              The French in the family emphatically disagree. Found Taix to be perfectly French, Cafe Beaujolais not what it had been at all. The waiters are still French, but their customer skills are a few notches down from what you get at Ralphs. Unless you're female and pretty.

              The family's favorite is actually La Vie on San Gabriel, but that's well beyond the OP's requested area.

              1. re: Will Owen
                monku RE: Will Owen Aug 6, 2009 10:43 AM

                Just out of curiosity.....didn't La Vie close down?
                Could have sworn I'd driven by and looked like it was empty, then the other day I was driving down San Gabriel and looked over and saw that La Vie re-opened? Looked like a new sign and moved the location of it?

              2. re: justanotherpenguin
                josephnl RE: justanotherpenguin Jul 10, 2009 06:43 PM

                IMHO, Cafe Beaujolais is one of the worst restaurants in southern CA. It is noisy, the service is worse than poor, and the food abysmal. I absolutely cannot see how this place stays in business. The only thing that attracts people is, I think, the low prices. Avoid at all cost!!!

                1. re: josephnl
                  Will Owen RE: josephnl Jul 11, 2009 04:54 PM

                  Damn shame, too, because it used to be pretty good. Actually, the food we had last time was acceptable, but our mistake was in coming at nine o'clock when all the Smart Young Things, the ones whose parents never taught them about Indoor Voices, start showing up to crowd all the tables and scream at each other, and flirt with the hot waiters. Between the din and the waiters' willingness to be flirted with instead of waiting on elderly customers, when we finally were allowed to pay our bill we got the hell out and shook the dust of it off our shoes, permanently.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    avivale RE: josephnl Jul 13, 2009 03:06 PM

                    I'm sorry to hear negative things said about Cafe Beaujolais. We live in Eagle Rock and every time we eat at Cafe Beaujolais, we wonder why we don't go more often. The food is always well executed and delicious, the servers are friendly and attentive. The only change I've noticed is that the restaurant seems to be more crowded than in the past.

                    1. re: josephnl
                      justanotherpenguin RE: josephnl Jul 13, 2009 06:34 PM

                      obviously, MHO doesn't agree with yours. my wife and i have only been to cb a couple of times and we generally go to dinner early - 7PM or so. we have enjoyed cafe beaujolais and taix - but they are different. from our very limited experience in france, beaujolais is much more typical french than taix.

                      all that being said, having been a native southern californian for more than a half century and having eaten out at a lot of places as varied as Providence and Tommy's: if you really think that "cafe beaujolais is one of the worse restaurants in southern CA", you need to get out more.

                      1. re: justanotherpenguin
                        josephnl RE: justanotherpenguin Jul 13, 2009 09:31 PM

                        We get out plenty...but when the noise level is so high that conversation is impossible, and the servers are spending all of their time chatting with the cute young gals to the exclusion of other guests, and when the food is vastly inferior to what I can prepare at home...yes, I must say, why bother!! This is indeed IMHO one of the worst restaurants in southern CA!!

                  2. j
                    Jack Flash RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 10, 2009 03:48 PM

                    Church & State (for French), near downtown. As good as it gets. Hard to believe we actually have this place here in our humble town.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jack Flash
                      JPomer RE: Jack Flash Jul 10, 2009 03:54 PM

                      second Church and State. Get the Duck confit.. Might also consider Comme Ca in West Hollywood

                      1. re: JPomer
                        perk RE: JPomer Jul 12, 2009 11:13 PM

                        I third Church & State...just know that it can get very loud. Have one of their "French Maid" cocktails...and the noise won't bother you so much. (hey, it worked for me!)
                        Also, Cafe Stella in Silverlake might be fun.....

                    2. f
                      foodloversanonymous RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 11, 2009 04:53 PM

                      Great! Thanks...I'll try Taix ..I've never heard of it, and am looking forward to it.
                      Angelini is definitely my fav Italian restaurant in LA...he's wonderful.. Keep the ideas coming!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodloversanonymous
                        josephnl RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 11, 2009 05:17 PM

                        Don't...Taix is ok, but there are so many better places. If you love Angelini as we do, you will be very disappointed by Taix. If you want casual French bistro food in that area, give Cafe des Artistes a try. It's not the greatest, but it's way better than Taix...in my opinion.

                        1. re: josephnl
                          mrsantora RE: josephnl Jul 13, 2009 11:37 AM

                          I heartily agree with Cafe des Artistes as a recommendation. Really great food. And it's popular, but not so much that you can't enjoy it.

                          And if you're willing to go over the hill from Hollywood, Bistro Provence in Burbank is really phenomenal. Besides excellent food, the prices are more than reasonable and they even have a very low corkage fee (I think it's $9.95 per bottle). So bring something excellent to drink!


                          Bistro Provence
                          345 N Pass Ave, Burbank, CA 91505

                      2. Grog RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 12, 2009 01:07 PM

                        I'm a fan of Speranza on Hyperion. Solid trattoria, outside patio dinning with no corkage charge make it a no brainer. In downtown on 4th and Olive is Colori Kitchen. Once again solid cooking and no corkage charge.

                        Colori Kitchen
                        429 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                        2547 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Grog
                          josephnl RE: Grog Jul 12, 2009 01:27 PM

                          Have you been to Angelini? Wonder how you would compare Speranza and Colori to it?

                          1. re: josephnl
                            Grog RE: josephnl Jul 12, 2009 02:23 PM

                            They are different leagues. Angelini is perhaps the best trattoria/osetria in LA and a destination. Angelini's menu is bit more inventive with exciting ingredients and a revolving menu. Speranza & Colori are neighborhood joints that would not drive to if were not in my hood. The menus do not change as often.

                            1. re: Grog
                              carter RE: Grog Jul 12, 2009 08:54 PM

                              Can't wait for Bistro LQ to open, though!!!

                              1. re: carter
                                josephnl RE: carter Jul 12, 2009 09:22 PM

                                Who is LQ (I can't spell his name). I know he's French, but what are his credentials, where has he been? Seems like many people are anxious for his bistro to open, and I unfortunately know nothing about him. Please educate me!

                                1. re: josephnl
                                  New Trial RE: josephnl Jul 13, 2009 12:43 AM

                                  Laurent Quenioux, formerly of (among others) Bistro K and vermont.

                                  1. re: New Trial
                                    josephnl RE: New Trial Jul 13, 2009 08:07 AM

                                    Never heard of either of these two restaurants. With all the hoopla surrounding LQ, I assume that these previous spots were pretty special...were they?

                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      New Trial RE: josephnl Jul 13, 2009 11:29 PM

                                      vermont (which still exists) has its ups and downs and the best of the ups were with Quenioux's visits. Bistro K was pretty special (except for the service). Here are a couple of prior posts on Quenioux and Bistro K:

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/414229 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/62297

                                      Vermont Restaurant
                                      1714 N. Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                        2. c
                          caldad02 RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 12, 2009 11:23 PM

                          Campagnola on Westwood Blvd, south of Wilshire is a wonderful, non-pretentious neighborhood restauant.

                          The home made lasagna is the best in town at an affordable price.

                          Owner Carlo and his friendly stff will make certain you have an enjoyable and affordable Italian meal.

                          1. g
                            globalgourmet RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 13, 2009 11:42 PM

                            As a connoisseur of French food (22 trips to France, my own little guide to the exceptional restaurants of Paris) I have to disagree with Taix. It is a very nice place, but it is an American version of French food.

                            Alsatian Jean Paul, who is the chef behind Cafe des Aristes and the slightly more upscale bistro Mimosa on Beverly, is the real deal--and his Ile Flotant (floating Island) is the best I have ever tasted--even in France.

                            But the closest thing to an authentic French bistro is LA is, I believe, Le Petit Bistro at 631 N La Cienega. (I believe they have one or two other outlets, but I haven't been to them so I can't comment.) The prices are quite reasonable and French can frequently be heard wafting from nearby tables.

                            Comme Ca? No, pour moi.

                            But check out Cafe des Aristes, Mimosa and Le Petit Bistro.

                            For Italian, Angelini is good, but overcrowded and overpriced for my tastes. At his new place, Minestraio Trattoria at 8384 West Third St., the pasta is superb and the prices very reasonable, if you can put up with the noise. I also like Allora Cucina Italiana at 8432 W. Third, a new, small Italian (with free corkage) and the small, quaint Girasole on Larchmont (i.e., make reservations).

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: globalgourmet
                              New Trial RE: globalgourmet Jul 13, 2009 11:52 PM

                              Mimosa? C'est fini. As is its cater-corner cuisine cousine, Pastis. The former is soon to reopen as Bistro LQ (discussed above) while the latter is being taken over by someplace called House (probably not a reincarnation of Scooter Kanfer's former Melrose maison).

                              1. re: New Trial
                                globalgourmet RE: New Trial Jul 14, 2009 01:25 AM

                                Sacre bleu!

                                (Thanks for the update.)

                              2. re: globalgourmet
                                josephnl RE: globalgourmet Jul 14, 2009 10:13 AM

                                Absolutely agree with you that the floating island at Cafe des Artistes is the best anywhere. Having just returned from two weeks in Provence, I tried it in several places...essentially whenever it was offered, and none was as good as that at CdA. Admittedly, it has been years since I was last at Taix...so perhaps it is time to give it another try.

                                1. re: globalgourmet
                                  Will Owen RE: globalgourmet Jul 14, 2009 12:36 PM

                                  "As a connoisseur of French food (22 trips to France, my own little guide to the exceptional restaurants of Paris) I have to disagree with Taix. It is a very nice place, but it is an American version of French food." Au contraire; I would say that it is a very good rendition of pre-war French food. Maman and Papa both remember what it used to be like, and are not at all impressed with the new (i.e. post-1950) trendy stuff. In Paris, we ate at no place that hadn't been there since at least 1900; in Vonnas, we ate at Georges Blanc's Auberge (the cheaper one) just because Papa had gone there when it was La Mere Blanc, and though he was polite about his lunch he clearly thought that Georges lacked his Grandma's chops.

                                  Another Alsatian suggestion, by the way, is Le Petit Cafe, 2842 Colorado in Santa Monica. Had a very jolly dinner there en famille, and three or four excellent lunches since. I also like Cafe Massilia in Monrovia, run by two guys from Marseilles, though Papa hated the escargot because they came naked in their little indentations, clad only in their buttery sauce. If he'd just said something at the time I'd have gladly eaten his...

                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                    Jack Flash RE: Will Owen Jul 14, 2009 01:44 PM

                                    I'd love to compare notes on pre-1900 Parisian eateries!

                                    1. re: Jack Flash
                                      Will Owen RE: Jack Flash Jul 15, 2009 11:38 AM

                                      This is of course not the place for that, as they are all well beyond the boundaries of LA County (dammit!). I think the point to be made is that there is a style of food, that enshrined (for instance) in the older editions of Larousse Gastronomique, to which those whose best meals are now long-dead memories are emotionally drawn. Modern French people would probably find Taix to be stuffy and boring, and might feel at home at Cafe Beaujolais, screaming twits and all. As a poster below points out, it's all in what you like. I think we can disagree without being disagreeable, and so far we are generally doing that. I certainly do not feel that I've been subjected to any personal attacks.

                                2. c
                                  choucreme RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 14, 2009 03:13 PM

                                  For french, it's a bit of a trek, but Anisette Brasserie in Santa Monica is very good. As for Silverlake/Los Feliz, Cafe Stella and Cafe Beaujolais are both OK. Taix serves american food! As for good affordable Italian food on the east side, my search continues.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: choucreme
                                    josephnl RE: choucreme Jul 14, 2009 03:35 PM

                                    Well, I must say that I disagree on two of your recommendations. The food at Anisette may well be decent traditional bistro food, however I find the restaurant so uncomfortable (I have never seen such small tables in France, except perhaps in a cafe where one would only have a drink or coffee) and the service so lacking, that I cannot possibly recommend this restaurant. Also, Cafe Beaujolais may have acceptable food (I don't think so), but here too, the restaurant is so noisy, and the service so poor, that I can't possibly recommend it. I have not been to Cafe Stella, but not too far away, the Cafe des Artistes is always pleasant.

                                  2. Baron RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 15, 2009 02:35 PM

                                    Will is right. Different strokes for different folks. I'll cast my vote for Taix. Its an institution that has its own place here. It's old school and very reasonable for what you get. I've had some of the best clam chowder (huge bowl) and trout almondine if that is what you are in the mood for. And its close to Silverlake.

                                    Last week I went to Vincenti in Brentwood. From the Marina it took me almost 50 minutes! That ruined my appetite right there. It cost 3 time what Taix costs. I had the Dover Sole at $44 which was, ok, not great. I still prefer Drago or Il Grano on the westside.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Baron
                                      JPomer RE: Baron Jul 16, 2009 07:35 AM

                                      Except that the big bowl of clam chowder in a French restaurant is somehow way wrong...

                                    2. c
                                      carolanne10 RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 15, 2009 07:15 PM

                                      For Italian, visit Zucca dowtown at 8th and Figueroa. Try the Pumpkin Tortelloni or the Lasagna.

                                      1. f
                                        Food Good RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 17, 2009 04:53 PM

                                        Girasole in Larchmont is fantastic (owners are from Bologna).

                                        Girasole Restaurant & Takeout
                                        225 1/2 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Food Good
                                          Akitist RE: Food Good Jul 18, 2009 10:34 AM

                                          Had some enjoyable meals at Girasole, though it might have been the company as much as the food. One thing Larchmont is great for is people-watching. Try for a front-window table (forget if they have sidewalk seating).

                                        2. p
                                          Pinkfoodie10 RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 17, 2009 10:59 PM

                                          I don't have a suggestion, but I do have a place that you should avoid: Il Caprricio on Vermont. You can read more at http://pinkfoodie.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                                          1. m
                                            MarlaPR RE: foodloversanonymous Jul 18, 2009 10:59 AM

                                            For French, how about Figaro Bistrot on Vermont!

                                            1. jayspun RE: foodloversanonymous Aug 6, 2009 10:45 AM

                                              La Botte, pricey but phenomenal!

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