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Aug 23, 2009 08:46 AM

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

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!!!

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  1. 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

      Mateo's is years past it prime.

      1. re: BSW6490

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

    2. 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. 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: -- 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

          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

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

          4 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

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

            1. re: estnyboer

              Sapori or Il Grano?

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

              1. re: carter

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

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

                1. re: estnyboer

                  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. 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

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

              1. re: Cucinamore

                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

                  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.