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Best Italian (money no object) in L.A. area for a VERY picky eater

h
handlertaper Aug 23, 2009 08:46 AM

Want to take my friend out for Italian. Very "specific" tastes. We always go to the same restaurants that she loves (like Giorgios, Locanda Veneta, Il Moro, Il Pasteo, Toscana, Valentino) -We need to try something new. Help!! She loves to start with a "pasta simplece" (ie. marinara) and then goes on to her next course of veal scalopine piccata or veal milanese. Pretty basic faire.

Does All'Angelo and/or Angelini Osteria have a menu where she could find something? Any suggestions of restaurants between Santa Monica and West Hollywood? She also enjoys "people watching" as she is a visitor from out of state!!!

  1. Baron Aug 23, 2009 09:00 AM

    Mateo's on Westwood is an old school Italian restaurant. Large menu and celebs seem to go there a lot - Sunday night tradition. They will also cook to order for your friend.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Baron
      b
      BSW6490 Aug 25, 2009 11:01 AM

      Mateo's is years past it prime.

      1. re: BSW6490
        estnyboer Aug 26, 2009 10:46 PM

        oh my god do NOT take them to Matteo's! things get weird in there...

    2. a_and_w Aug 23, 2009 10:15 AM

      La Locanda Portofino on Montana might fit the bill. I think it's ridiculously overpriced, but I did have an excellent veal milanese there recently, and you often can see someone famous dining.

      1. j
        Jwsel Aug 23, 2009 10:35 AM

        For "basic" Italian, one ridiculously overlooked restaurant is Marino in West Hollywood. The food is always outstanding and they do simple pastas and usually have several types of veal scallopine on the menu. (And they will almost certainly do something off the menu if you so request.) I have not been to Marino since the elder Mario passed away, so I do not know if the food has changed at all. I believe son Mario took over the day-to-day operation (the other son, Sal, owns Il Grano).

        The Marino menu can be found here through menupages: http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta... -- but the actual daily menu is usually far more sophisticated and has a lot of incredible dishes. They do some of the best Italian fish dishes around and, if they have branzino, do yourself a favor and try it. (Marino also has a wonderful antipasti display.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jwsel
          j
          jrupertt Sep 11, 2009 02:03 PM

          I'll second that about Marino's. Great Neopolitan food. A bit heavy but AWESOME experience eating there every time I go...

          1. re: jrupertt
            rednyellow Sep 11, 2009 03:55 PM

            I haven't been to Marino's in a while, but it has always been great. An overlooked gem. They have one of the best stuffed veal chops in town.

        2. Das Ubergeek Aug 23, 2009 01:35 PM

          Sapori in Marina del Rey... Il Grano in WLA...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            estnyboer Nov 2, 2010 09:21 AM

            Been twice in the past year and it was not worth the money. It used to be.

            1. re: estnyboer
              c
              carter Nov 3, 2010 10:41 AM

              Sapori or Il Grano?

              -----
              Il Grano Restaurant
              11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              1. re: carter
                estnyboer Nov 4, 2010 05:52 PM

                Il Grano
                (wow, that automatic hyperlink is impressive!)

                -----
                Il Grano Restaurant
                11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                1. re: estnyboer
                  westsidegal Aug 8, 2011 10:28 AM

                  ate at il grano once,
                  both my dining partner and i ordered the expensive tasting menu.
                  EVERY cooked dish that was served to us was far overcooked.
                  for that kind of money, i expect better execution.
                  plan to never return.

          2. Ciao Bob Aug 23, 2009 01:37 PM

            Personally, I'd stick with Giorgio's.
            However, if you must find something "new" go to his son's place - E. Baldi in Beverly Hills. The menus are about 70% the same but his son a quite a few innovative and tradiational dishes that aren't on the old man's menu, making up that 30%.

            She would probably enjoy Madeo as well.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob
              c
              Cucinamore Aug 23, 2009 01:42 PM

              Madeo without a doubt. Both for the food and the people-watching.

              1. re: Cucinamore
                m
                maudies5 Dec 17, 2011 08:06 PM

                Madeo is great. I like the warm service and comfortable seating and also the fact that they will make anything you want (within reason). Having once had their Vittello Tonnato and loved it, I was disappointed when they didn't have it the next time. No problem. They whipped some up for me. I love when that happens.

                1. re: maudies5
                  k
                  kevin Dec 18, 2011 08:49 AM

                  their white chocolate tiramisu is off the hook. and i like their neapolitan style thin crust pizzas, which they were making way before the artisanal pizza craze of the past few years.

            2. c
              condiment Aug 23, 2009 01:51 PM

              Vincenti doesn't seem to be on your list. Possibly the best, and certainly the most professional Italian in L.A. And very used to cravings for old-fashioned dishes, although it's not what they do best.

              She would certainly enjoy Bottega Louie downtown. Not the most polished Italian food, although not bad at all; great people-watching, and a menu that seems directly in line with your description of her tastes.

              3 Replies
              1. re: condiment
                westsidegal Aug 23, 2009 08:16 PM

                fwiw, i did not have such a terrific experience there last thursday.
                here's the review:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/646320

                1. re: condiment
                  perk Nov 4, 2010 06:26 PM

                  i know it's past the date of your visit now, but although bottega louie is definitely a scene...and has pretty good food...i'm not sure i'd go there with a friend from out of town. at least not one you want to have a conversation with. it's incredibly loud.

                  1. re: perk
                    estnyboer Dec 16, 2011 03:35 PM

                    I like to sit at the bar there - food not worth the trouble of getting a seat in what might be the world's loudest restaurant.

                2. r
                  Robert Thornton Aug 23, 2009 02:24 PM

                  I'd do Angelini. They have stuff like that on the menu, to me it's the greatest "simple" Italian in L.A. The menu is online so you can have her check it to see. Also very good for people watching and the occasional celeb; one time when I was there, John Mayer was waiting for a table.

                  Someone above recommended Il Grano; while it's a great restaurant and Sal really knows his fish, I'm not sure I'd go there for the sort of old school Italian your friend wants.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Thornton
                    p
                    PaliBruin Aug 29, 2009 04:30 PM

                    Angelini, for this Italian living here, is the finest Italian food I've had in the city and I love the vibe of the place.

                    1. re: PaliBruin
                      Baron Aug 29, 2009 04:51 PM

                      Thanks for suggesting Angelini. I checked out the menu and it looks like my kind of place. I plan to give it a try the first chance I get.

                  2. ipsedixit Aug 23, 2009 02:59 PM

                    Drago Centro as well as All' Angelo would both be good choices given your parameters and prior eating history.

                    1. t
                      tnilsson Aug 23, 2009 03:10 PM

                      I don't see how you can top Valentino, but Vincenti can be very good (I have also had less than stellar meals there though). For old school Italian, I generally prefer Dan Tana's in West Hollywood. Amazing marinara, interesting atmosphere, and good food in general.

                      25 Replies
                      1. re: tnilsson
                        Baron Aug 23, 2009 03:54 PM

                        I'm glad you said it tnilsson. About Vincenti, I mean. I was totally not impressed. The food was ok but heavy on the hype and a bit of attitude. My dover sole was overcooked and dry and tiny. Vincenti cant hold a candle to Valentino. I also like Drago in Santa Monica.

                        1. re: Baron
                          estnyboer Aug 26, 2009 10:53 PM

                          Seriously about Drago? I finally got around to going there (it's walking distance) and it was seriously mediocre. Our review, essentially, was that it was a fine place for a snack and drink at the bar.

                          1. re: estnyboer
                            Baron Aug 27, 2009 01:39 PM

                            Sorry to hear Drago in SM might be going downhill. I have not been there for a couple of years. Too bad. I've also enjoyed Locanda Veneta on 3rd in West Hollywood.

                        2. re: tnilsson
                          h
                          handlertaper Aug 23, 2009 03:58 PM

                          Thanks for the suggestions. My friend does like going to Dan Tana's but even with reservations, we have had to wait over an hour at times for a table and they kind of know us by know!! Vincenti is excellent as well and we have been there. I love their duck special. Madeo is a great suggestion and I haven't been there in years and she has never been. I willg about also look into Marino's which I know nothing about!!

                          I like Il Grano but I don't think it is up her alley. Too innovative!!

                          1. re: handlertaper
                            Servorg Aug 23, 2009 05:16 PM

                            Your friend and Peppone sound like a match made in expensive, old style, white linen service, Italian food Heaven.

                            http://www.peppone.com/restaurant.htm

                            1. re: Servorg
                              J.L. Aug 23, 2009 05:21 PM

                              Second Peppone.

                              1. re: J.L.
                                h
                                handlertaper Aug 23, 2009 08:08 PM

                                Another good suggestion! I haven't been there since I was a teenager in the late 70's!

                              2. re: Servorg
                                s
                                silk Nov 2, 2010 11:29 AM

                                Near Peppone is Divino--excellent!

                                -----
                                Peppone Restaurant
                                11628 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                1. re: silk
                                  m
                                  maudies5 Nov 4, 2010 07:30 PM

                                  Divino! This has got to be a joke. Putting Divino in the category of 'Best Italian" is absurd.

                                  -----
                                  Divino
                                  11714 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                              3. re: handlertaper
                                Ciao Bob Aug 24, 2009 11:44 AM

                                One hour at Tana's with ressies?????
                                I find it hard to beleive.
                                For years I go with a friend, prime time, no ressies. My friend slips the guy a 20. Never had to wait more than 20. Am feeling guilty about dispacing those with ressies. But not that guilty.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                  J.L. Aug 24, 2009 05:18 PM

                                  Greasing the 'D helps at many place. We should start a list of places in L.A. where the baksheesh works (and where it doesn't).

                                  1. re: J.L.
                                    ipsedixit Aug 24, 2009 10:48 PM

                                    It works at just about every self-respecting Chinese restaurant.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      J.L. Aug 24, 2009 11:03 PM

                                      Claro que si...

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        westsidegal Sep 12, 2009 11:32 PM

                                        does not work at fraiche

                                    2. re: Ciao Bob
                                      Phurstluv Aug 27, 2009 02:13 PM

                                      We thought we had rezzies, but they didn't have them. But we only had to wait a half hour on a Friday night for a table for 3. And didn't have to tip the maitre d', think his name was Marco. But, being three relatively young (39-ish) attractive women does help!!!

                                      1. re: Phurstluv
                                        k
                                        kevin Sep 12, 2009 02:19 PM

                                        if you mean dan tana;s, the steaks are awesome but i would not go there for red sauce italian.

                                      2. re: Ciao Bob
                                        f
                                        foodiemahoodie Sep 11, 2009 04:57 PM

                                        Dan Tana's is really mediocre Italian food. At best (very good steak and lamb chops though). People watching? Well, one of the best. I could tell you stories (like how Phil Spector licked a woman's face after she replied to his "Do you think I did it?" question with an "I don't know." Yeah, licked her face. Or another time when my friend picked up on this girl at the bar, and she joined us at the booth and her boyfriend came in and attacked him. Oh, and many more stories. Dan Tana's - fun, but It ain't about the food.

                                        Madeo's is a safe bet and it's very good. As someone said, good people watching too.

                                        Vicenti, Angelini, Drago, IlGrano. La Botte (gotta a Michelin star).

                                        Matteo's isn't bad, but Peppone? Seriously? I haven't been there for years but wouldn't consider it anywhere near the top ten in the city.

                                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                          Servorg Sep 11, 2009 05:27 PM

                                          The OP, having already set the level of the bar with the mention of il Moro as one of the places that his/her friend loved, opened the door completely for the Peppone recommendation... ;-D>

                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                            Phurstluv Sep 11, 2009 06:33 PM

                                            I have to say, being from a Southern Italian 'hood and grew up on NY italian all my life, Dan Tana's was just fine, and a great Caesar to boot.

                                            Seems you go for the scene, anyway, which is a trip, but I don't know what you're comparing the food too. Most Italian in this city is not true Southern Italian, it's Cal-Italian, or a hybrid of a region of Northern Italian.

                                            1. re: Phurstluv
                                              Baron Sep 11, 2009 08:36 PM

                                              Hi 1st. I grew up in Jersey surrounded by Italians and their food. I am constantly looking for the flavors that remind me of back home. What are your favorates locally? I had a great meal at Locanda Veneta on 3rd not too long ago.

                                              1. re: Baron
                                                Phurstluv Sep 12, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                Never been there, my DH always steered us away from the Promenade since he used to work in the 'hood. Good to know tho. As I said above, I was duly impressed with Dan Tana's. Had never been there before, but heard all the (negative) hype. And we went with girlfriends on a busy Friday night, were treated royally by the head waiter, Vladmir, himself. It was a blast!

                                                I was impressed by the food, and that's sayin' something, it was fresh, hot and delicious. And it wasn't the martini's talkin'!! You should really try it, the scene is a trip. It's tiny, so make ressies. But the bar made me feel like I was back in Brooklyn or New Haven and never left home, it was awesome!

                                                I will have to think for a spell to get back to you on other Italian recs, but I gotta say, when I moved here 15+ years ago, I'm still sorely disappointed by the lack of Italian restaurants like I (and you) grew up with. Just thought there would be more here (since there's so many transplants) but have basically let down my expectations since I seem to strike out. looking for that authentic experience that I was spoiled with all over New Haven, New York & Boston.

                                                One place I'm still meaning to try is the Mateo's (Hoboken)? I think that's the name, it's got the Hoboken in the title. Forgive me for not googling it for you right now, I'm about to sit down to my birthday dinner w/family, Tex Mex takeout (cuz I ain't cookin'!!) and some champagne. Like I said, I will get back to you, this is one of my passions, to find decent East coast Italian out here!!!

                                                1. re: Phurstluv
                                                  Baron Sep 13, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                  Locanca Veneta is on 3rd in West Hollywood, not S.M. Last time I was there it was quite good. I've been to Taste of Hoboken on Westwood Blvd several times. Casual place decent food and fair prices. It's attached to the upscale Mateo's which I haven't been to for a while. I'd like to hear recent reviews of the places I've mentioned. I miss the family run places back in Jersey. You know, where the family takes a house and converts the front part to a restaurant. I can almost smell the garlic.

                                                  1. re: Baron
                                                    h
                                                    handlertaper Sep 13, 2009 12:43 PM

                                                    In my opinion, Locanda remains an excellent restaurant but definitely not home-like in style-Don't know of family run places around here like they have in New Jersey...mmm!

                                                    1. re: Baron
                                                      Phurstluv Sep 15, 2009 02:31 PM

                                                      Got it, I was thinking of another place on the promenade. Will have to try Locanda one day. Like I said, you might want to try Dan Tana's it's really a trip. But you're right, finding a family run place like back home is difficult.

                                                      1. re: Phurstluv
                                                        Servorg Sep 15, 2009 02:38 PM

                                                        Probably mixing it up with: http://www.lagosantamonica.com/

                                      3. m
                                        MelanieB Aug 24, 2009 11:40 AM

                                        Sadly you can cross All'Angelo off the list -- they fell victim to the recession and are closed. Hoping that darling Stefano takes another crack at a place again soon. :-(

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: MelanieB
                                          h
                                          handlertaper Aug 24, 2009 12:09 PM

                                          So sad about All"Angelo...

                                          And yes, with a 9:00PM reservation, we have waited until 10 and even 10:30...We have not been back since the last 1 hour and 30 minutes waiting time...but then again, we have never slipped the very nice gentleman a 20...

                                          1. re: MelanieB
                                            t
                                            TomSwift Aug 27, 2009 09:08 AM

                                            When I read a post on the board about All'Angelo's closing I called and spoke to Stefano - it was quite sad. He is so passionate about his food and his love of the restaurant. We talked for about 20 minutes and he went on and on about how he put his heart into the restaurant but got screwed by the recession, despite his change in the restaurant's format. The rumor that he'll go to Blue on Blue at the Avalon Hotel is not true, but he does plan on opening another place as soon as he can find the right chef and location. I forgot to ask him whether the meat slicer was for sale. Peppone probably could do what she has in mind, but so could Sal at Il Grano, if asked (you might bruise his ego, though). My choice would be Valentino, as the guests I've taken there who have asked for tablecloth fare have been thrilled, while the rest of us feast on other stuff (both on and off the menu).

                                            1. re: TomSwift
                                              Ciao Bob Aug 27, 2009 11:42 AM

                                              I liked my meals (about three) at All'Angelo and I liked Stefano (the times I spoke to him) quite a bit as well.

                                              However, I have to say (as fashionable as it is these days) pinning his failure on the recession is, IMHO, a BIG cop out. And, a cop out that will prevent him from truly examining what went wrong and how to do things better next time. All'Angelo was often very, very empty -- long before the recession (or wwriter's strike for that matter) hit. The food was mostly good but not as good as nearby Angelini. Portions were way too small and prices too high for the neighborhood and for the cuisine.
                                              He can -- and should -- pick himself up, dust himself off and not look for forces beyond his control for his failure. Then we all will benefit and we may get another chance at enjoying his hospitality and his myriad skills.

                                              1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                t
                                                TomSwift Aug 27, 2009 12:48 PM

                                                The place was packed each time we went there, but I think you have a point.

                                          2. b
                                            BSW6490 Aug 25, 2009 11:03 AM

                                            Dan Tana's on Santa Monica just west of Doheny. Great old school Italian and always great for people watching. Request a table in the bar room.

                                            1. n
                                              nikky Aug 27, 2009 11:44 AM

                                              Madeo...or maybe Via Veneto

                                              1. Phurstluv Aug 27, 2009 02:17 PM

                                                All'Angelo is closed now. Has anyone tried Minestraio? Or Dominick's in WeHo?

                                                Il Cielo is very nice, has standard Italian fare in Beverly Hills, but may feel more like a date place....

                                                1. caitybirdie Aug 28, 2009 01:19 AM

                                                  No one has said anything about Osteria La Buca???????? This is one of my favorite Italian places since living in Italy!!!!!!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: caitybirdie
                                                    h
                                                    handlertaper Aug 29, 2009 04:24 PM

                                                    Went to Maddeo. First of all, real waiters who were appropriately attentive and very professional. Food was traditional...We shared a margarita pizza to start and then meat balls and tricolore salad. Had Veal Scalopini Picatta for dinner-classic and good. The place was bustling. My picky friend was pleased. Not Giorgio's but very good and nice for a change.

                                                    1. re: handlertaper
                                                      Ciao Bob Aug 29, 2009 05:03 PM

                                                      Thanks for reporting back, handlertaper!
                                                      I love Madeo and your comments about the service and professionalism are spot-on. People on CH love to knock G. Baldi but -- for me -- it is the most excititng combination of excellent Northern Italian food -- made and served by Italian people -- as well as LA watching to be had.

                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                        h
                                                        handlertaper Aug 29, 2009 07:44 PM

                                                        I still do want to check out Angelini!!

                                                  2. j
                                                    Jerome Sep 11, 2009 06:04 PM

                                                    angelini osteria - agree with board

                                                    also - la botte in santa monica.

                                                    don't know why the board isn't crazy about it. they don't allow corkage/wine brought in... i don't think and so that might be a problem for some here.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Jerome
                                                      Phurstluv Sep 11, 2009 06:34 PM

                                                      Loved La Botte, but they are pricey for what you get.

                                                      1. re: Phurstluv
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Sep 12, 2009 02:21 PM

                                                        does anyone know if the la botte deli closed already?

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          Phurstluv Sep 12, 2009 07:46 PM

                                                          I think it is.

                                                    2. p
                                                      pinpei Sep 12, 2009 02:56 PM

                                                      Madeo

                                                      -----
                                                      Madeo Restaurant
                                                      8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: pinpei
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Sep 12, 2009 03:17 PM

                                                        anyone have a link to a menu of Madeo?

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          Das Ubergeek Sep 12, 2009 04:34 PM

                                                          http://tinyurl.com/p6kmpl

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                            p
                                                            pinpei Sep 13, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                            While the menus at these sites give some idea of what Madeo serves, they are not very accurate. I eat at Madeo frequently, and dishes that have been on the menu for decades aren't on these posted menus. I'm not talking about the specials, but regular everyday menu items.

                                                            1. re: pinpei
                                                              h
                                                              handlertaper Dec 17, 2011 07:52 AM

                                                              Pinpei, I am curious about the off the menu specials at Madeo??? Went there last night with my picky eater friend and did have a good dinner. Started with their special meatballs and had their Veal Milanese for the main course. Attentive service and good food:)

                                                              1. re: pinpei
                                                                k
                                                                kevin Dec 17, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                yeah, i'd like to know about those regular everyday, off menu items too.

                                                                thanks.

                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                  Servorg Dec 17, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                  Located a couple of other online menu's for Madeo's that may be different/more complete than the Menu Pages one. See below...

                                                                  http://www.toprestaurants.com/la/Madeo.htm

                                                                  http://www.menuism.com/restaurants/ma...

                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin Dec 17, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                    weird, these menus don't seem to be accurate in the dishes on the menu.

                                                                    but for sure the prices are way out of whack. the menus note veal chops for roughly 25 bucks, but at the restuarnat it's actually more like either 45 or 46 bucks (no fucking joke), it's almost like Madeo is like The Ivy, except it's Italian food and except also the food is pretty darn good at Madeo that if not justifying the price, at least gets at teh factor of food being actually good and tasty at that price point.

                                                        2. v
                                                          veggieyummy Sep 12, 2009 03:19 PM

                                                          I took my Italian friend to Girasole on Larchmont and she swears its as good as her grandmother's!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: veggieyummy
                                                            Phurstluv Sep 12, 2009 07:47 PM

                                                            Oooo, gotta add that one to the list. Once one's swears it was like a grandmother's, I'm intrigued. Read that rec, Baron??

                                                            1. re: veggieyummy
                                                              n
                                                              namstermonster Nov 2, 2010 03:29 PM

                                                              girasole is a charming lil spot, but the food is nothing special. wish we could bring babbo over here...*drool*

                                                            2. h
                                                              herculesmulligan Sep 16, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                              One of the best kept secrets of Italian food in Los Angeles is Colori Kitchen, on 8th Street near Grand. Look to the specials, but, better yet, call ahead of time, give them a reasonable budget and see what they cook for you as a chef's menu! Divine. Liuigi, the chef/owner, is brilliant with fish, but just as good with pasta and everything else. Reasonable, and, best of all, BYOB, so you can go get that good bottle of Italian at Wine Expo and literally transport yourself to Italy. Most Westsiders will not try it because they hate traipsing downtown, especially downtown at the margin. That's good for the rest of us who love food!

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: herculesmulligan
                                                                Servorg Sep 16, 2009 08:54 AM

                                                                Colori not an unknown quantity on the LA board by any stretch of the imagination, but probably not what the OP and friend are looking for as best I can understand.

                                                                http://search.chow.com/search?query=c...

                                                                1. re: herculesmulligan
                                                                  n
                                                                  namstermonster Nov 2, 2010 03:28 PM

                                                                  colori is barely mediocre, at best.

                                                                  1. re: namstermonster
                                                                    J.L. Nov 2, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                                    Disagree with Colori and mediocrity. While I will say that the "bread and butter" Italian dishes on their menu are nothing out-of the-world special, they are certainly solidly executed.

                                                                    BUT for goodness' sake, if you eat Colori, get their House Specials! The tagliatelle alla Bolognese is ridiculously good. Their ricotta cheesecake is superb. This Westside Hound is a huge fan of Luigi's. I make the trek regularly.

                                                                    1. re: namstermonster
                                                                      s
                                                                      sushigirlie Aug 2, 2011 09:24 PM

                                                                      I don't share in this board's high praise Colori. I think Colori is pretty average (though "barely mediocre" seems like an exaggeration to me). Their fresh mozzarella isn't all that fresh. Their pesto has a pureed/processed texture and isn't redolent of good parmigiano reggiano. Their menu is limited and uninteresting. It's easy to make superior dishes at home if you buy good ingredients. I would say that Drago Centro is much better than Colori, as far as downtown Italian restaurants go.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Drago Centro
                                                                      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                      1. re: sushigirlie
                                                                        k
                                                                        kevin Aug 5, 2011 11:27 PM

                                                                        although keep in my mind that those two are in very different price points

                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                          Servorg Aug 6, 2011 05:19 AM

                                                                          Whatever the price point, if I was going to eat Cioppino, I'd hie myself to Colori Kitchen...

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

                                                                        2. re: sushigirlie
                                                                          e
                                                                          Ernie Aug 9, 2011 02:09 PM

                                                                          I disagree. I think Colori's carbonara is one of the better ones in town. Given their price points and free corkage, I think they are a good value too

                                                                      2. re: herculesmulligan
                                                                        k
                                                                        kevin Nov 2, 2010 11:30 PM

                                                                        Is Colori thecsame place that someone mentioned has amazing tiramisu and thin crust Neapolitan pizzas margeritas?

                                                                        Also what specials are good here? And do they serve up eggplant Parmesan here?

                                                                        Thanks.

                                                                      3. g
                                                                        goldpackage Nov 6, 2010 05:20 PM

                                                                        il grano is worth a trip as are valentino, locando portofino, giorgio's, osteria mozza, angelini, and vicenti. but it seems you know many of these already.

                                                                        dan tana's, peppone - seriously?

                                                                        ado, piccolo, via veneto and la botte are all excellant and seem to fit your criteria. in my opinion if you order right at these 4 you'll have a better meal than at any of the others...

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: goldpackage
                                                                          j
                                                                          Jerome Nov 6, 2010 11:32 PM

                                                                          agree in re La Botte. service is great, selection limited but fantastic.

                                                                          1. re: goldpackage
                                                                            f
                                                                            foodiemahoodie Nov 29, 2010 10:06 AM

                                                                            I think I agree with everything here except Piccolo. Now keep in mind I've been going there for yeas, and have enjoyed it for yeas. Enjoyed all their offshoots, but...

                                                                            ....last time I was there? It kinda sucked. Not just one thing, but a few things. The food sounded interesting on the menu, but in practice was a big disappointment And the wine list - not much of a selection of reds under 100 bucks. Won't go back unless someone insists. And if they insist - I hope I'll enjoy it like I used to.

                                                                          2. h
                                                                            Hackenbush Nov 7, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                            Madeo is great. Matteo's used to be but is not.

                                                                            Last week, some friends of mine and I had an outstanding (and not too expensive) meal at Frankie's on Melrose. Granted, we ordered simple dishes but we couldn't have been happier with the food or the service.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Frankie's On Melrose
                                                                            7228 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                                            Madeo Restaurant
                                                                            8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                            1. b
                                                                              budlit Aug 6, 2011 07:02 AM

                                                                              Villetta

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                                                                              Villetta
                                                                              246 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                                                                              1. lacookie Aug 6, 2011 02:52 PM

                                                                                Well, there are so many in LA, and haven't yet been to so many of them, since I am closer to the Pasadena area. But one that I tried recently, not too far from LA area, in Burbank, Trattoria Amici at the Americana on Brand. Very straightforward, and regardless of price, which was mediocre, not pricey, the food and the ambiance took me back to Italy. Again, so many choices in LA and beyond.

                                                                                1. h
                                                                                  Harlow1313 Aug 7, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                                                  Il Sole is beyond amazing food is magnificent and the crowed a Hollywood A list favorite

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                                                                                  Il Sole
                                                                                  8741 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Harlow1313
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    Harlow1313 Aug 7, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                    also bottega louie is delightful

                                                                                    1. re: Harlow1313
                                                                                      J.L. Aug 7, 2011 11:38 AM

                                                                                      Politely disagree about Bottega Louie being delightful. It's OK food, at an extremely loud decibel level.

                                                                                      1. re: J.L.
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        maudies5 Aug 7, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                                                        Top 3:
                                                                                        Madeo
                                                                                        Valentino
                                                                                        Osteria Mozza

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Madeo Restaurant
                                                                                        8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                                        Osteria Mozza
                                                                                        6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                                                          mrshankly Aug 8, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                                                          Madeo has a delicious menu done perfectly and their service is quite possibly the best in town but they are horribly overpriced. I'd love to go back and try more of their menu but there are too many great offerings in town for the same price (or much less). Regardless, if price is not an obtacle, their pasta dishes and sauces are truly noteworthy.

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                                                                                          Madeo Restaurant
                                                                                          8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                                          1. re: maudies5
                                                                                            a
                                                                                            adk Jan 19, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                            I realize this thread is years old, but people are still updating...

                                                                                            If money is no object, Osteria Mozza is a pretty fantastic place. On two occasions I felt like the servers were trying to upsell me, which I abhor, but the food (and people-watching!) is very, very good.

                                                                                            I also second the recommendations in this thread for Osteria Momma and Angelini Osteria (probably my favorite restaurant in L.A.), though they might be a bit noisy for a one-of-a-kind celebration, as requested in the original post. I'm a fan of Drago Centro as well.

                                                                                            I've only been to Valentino three times, and the last visit was a number of years ago, but I left very disappointed on the last two of those occasions. The service was a complete disaster (took over an hour for us to get our appetizer, etc.) and I recall thinking my food was overpriced. But perhaps things have changed, or I just came on two very bad nights.

                                                                                          2. re: J.L.
                                                                                            j
                                                                                            Jerome Aug 8, 2011 06:20 PM

                                                                                            crazy loud, but nice for an off-hours coffee and pastry (which are gorgeous).

                                                                                          3. re: Harlow1313
                                                                                            westsidegal Aug 8, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                                            respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Bottega Louis.

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                              Baron Aug 8, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                                                              So, where do you go when in the mood for Italian?

                                                                                        2. d
                                                                                          DPGood Aug 8, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                                          Why not take her to a good movie instead.

                                                                                          1. tenxtone76 Aug 9, 2011 02:53 PM

                                                                                            I want to try Angelini... heard great things from a picky Italian eater. I like Osteria Mamma, and have had subpar service at Osteria la Buca. But my current favorite joint is Colori Kitchen.

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

                                                                                            Osteria Mamma
                                                                                            5730 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                                                                            1. b
                                                                                              BSW6490 Dec 17, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                                                              Dan Tana's is very good. Try the Chicken Beckerman with dark meat. Great steak and peppers and awesome white fish. For pure Italian cant beat Il Picallino though.

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