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Italian on the Westside

I'm taking my husband out for Italian on his birthday. We are considering Il Moro in West LA or Drago in Santa Monica. We definately want to stay on the westside and I would like to have homemade pasta. Any thoughts?

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Il Moro Restaurant
11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

Drago Restaurant
2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

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  1. Osteria Mozza is still considered Westside (Highland & Melrose). Great pastas - skip the secondi.

    Il Moro is a good choice.

    Have you thought about Il Grano on Santa Monica Blvd.? - It's good!

    9 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      We've been to Mozza and I love it, but my husband doesn't like going past the 405 and it is his birthday, after all. :)
      We have been to Il Grano twice and love it also.

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

      1. re: J.L.

        huh what? Highland and Melrose is not the Westside. Far from it actually.

        1. re: TailbackU

          This brings up the age old question of what constitutes the border of the Westside. I recall the LA Times asking that exact question several years back, and I've used that information as a guideline since. Their answer (summarized): Anything west of La Brea. I know, Mozza is a tad shy of that, but hey, another 2 minutes in the car and you're there.

          Now... not wanting to go east of the 405? That's a rather extreme Westsider attitude.

          1. re: J.L.

            "Now... not wanting to go east of the 405? That's a rather extreme Westsider attitude."

            Or could it possibly be someone that has reached their "traffic saturation point" and begin to boil over like a poorly maintained cooling system as they creep towards their destination (and they don't relish the idea of arriving somewhere for their birthday dinner feeling like their head is about to explode)? ;-D>

            1. re: J.L.

              It's not unreasonable for my husband to not want to drive from West LA to Highland and Melrose on a Tuesday evening. That could be a 45 minute drive with traffic. Not exactly the beginnng of a relaxing birthday dinner.

              1. re: danielle7171

                once, on a friday evening, it took me 45 minutes to get from santa monica to monte alban restaurant.

                i completely concur with your husband's desire to avoid such a miserable crawl.

          2. re: J.L.

            sorry,
            i WISH osteria mozza was on the west side, but it is very far from it.
            highland is not west enough to be considered westside

            1. re: J.L.

              From Wiki:

              The Westside comprises the Los Angeles city communities of Bel Air, Beverly Crest, Beverlywood, Century City, Brentwood, Cheviot Hills, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, West Los Angeles, Westwood (Los Angeles Almanac), Venice, Mar Vista, Playa del Rey, South Robertson, Playa Vista, and Westchester, as well as the incorporated cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and the unincorporated county territory of Marina del Rey.

              Hancock Park or the Fairfax district is not, and never was, considered the westside...not that there is anything wrong with it :)

            2. what about Bruno's in Santa Monica?

              1. Via Veneto on Main Street? Haven't been personally but my friend swears by that place.

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                Via Veneto
                3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                1 Reply
                1. re: TailbackU

                  Via Veneto has great pasta. It's cozy, lively and romantic, too.

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                  Via Veneto
                  3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                2. I recently had lunch at Il Moro and it was very good. Have not been back to Drago since a lackluster dinner several New Year's Eves ago. I would also consider La Botte in Santa Monica.

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                  Il Moro Restaurant
                  11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

                  Drago Restaurant
                  2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

                  1. Drago is a fine place, but in food and service it's always several notches below Valentino ( http://www.valentinorestaurant.com/va... ), which I recommend highly, especially for a celebration. The pasta is excellent -- don't pass up anything with a duck filling -- and the veal chop, lobster, and other seafood are outstanding, as is the incredible wine cellar with a couple-thousand different wines. Piero Selvaggio has been one of our best restaurateurs for decades (although it took me a long time to forgive him for shutting down Primi almost ten years ago). I've been going to his places since the early Eighties and think Valentino is the best Italian Los Angeles has to offer.

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                    Valentino (Santa Monica
                    )3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Harry Nile

                      I've gone to Valentino more times than I care to remember, and while I do think Piero is a class act and that the service is among the tops in LA, I've never had a great meal there and wouldn't put it in my top 5, or even top 10 Italian restaurants in the city. I've never had a bad meal there either, and there is something to be said for that (which is why I've gone so often - it's a great choice for client dinners).

                      1. re: krick

                        Sorry to hear that, krick. Can you give a few details on some of the 10 Italian restaurants in Los Angeles that you think offer a better cuisine than Valentino? I'm always looking for good Italian places.

                        And what dishes disappointed you at Valentino? I might make a statement like yours about the branch in Las Vegas, but for the atmosphere, not the food. At our own Valentino (as well as at Selvaggio's old places Primi and Posto and even, to a lesser extent, Masque, the restaurant near Sacramento opened some years ago by his long-time chef Angelo Auriana), I can't remember a bad evening or even a single bad dish over a period of more than 25 years. On many occasions, I've had splendid meals -- for example, soulful duck crespelle followed by a juicy veal chop wrapped in a Swiss chard leaf. That was probably the best Italian dinner I've had outside of Italy, because it was delicious, sensitively cooked just to the right moment, and, in the case of the veal, characteristically simple with fresh, direct flavors.

                        I love the place and am sorry to hear that someone else doesn't, but it's not the only Italian restaurant I go to, so I'd welcome information on the ones you like.

                    2. You might want to look at Vincenti if you want alta cucina Italian.

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                      Vincenti Restaurant
                      11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: New Trial

                        I second Vincenti.

                        I also second the above mentioned Via Veneto.

                        I am also a big fan of Palmeri on San Vicente...

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                        Via Veneto
                        3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                        Vincenti Restaurant
                        11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      2. Piccolo used to be a standard with excellent pasta that all other Italian places were compared to. Since Antonio Muro has left, I don't know if it is still considered one of the best.

                        La Botte in SM has excellent pasta, had a foie gras ravioli w/truffle shavings, and it was to die for....

                        And speaking of Chef Muro, his new place Ado is supposed to be another great pasta destination. In Venice / SM on Main street.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          I second La Botte and Piccolo is supposed to be just as good if not better since Antonio left.

                          I had a very good meal and a great time at Ado, but I've heard mixed comments from others on the place.

                          1. re: krick

                            SIV really slammed ado in her review.

                        2. Osteria Latini on San Vicente in Brentwood. Paolo recently got a new pasta maker, and is doing a lot of homemade noodles out of brass dies. Really, really good. He also usually has fabulous seafood on order.

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                          Osteria Latini
                          11712 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                          1. I think Il Grano is the best Italian restaurant on the west side. The chef's specialty is fish. Must get the crudo as a starter. If you are not into fish and want more northern Italian, Giogio Baldi is good, but VERY expensive. I would not consider Mozza to be on the westside, but it is very good.
                            I am not the biggest fan of Il Moro...

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

                            Il Moro Restaurant
                            11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

                            1. Thanks everyone. We do love Il Grano and La Botte, but thought we might try something new. Have heard great things about Via Veneto and mixed things about Vincenti. Definately ones to think about...

                              1. Vicenti is my all time favorite in Brentwood. Service is great and the food superb. I eat at the bar all the time and it is also great. This is great birthday place and have taken my family there for such an occasion more than once. While there are many italian places in Brentwood this is upscale and the real deal.

                                1. i used to love il moro until last night. they switched chefs and the food was less than remarkable. i thought it was bland, uninspired and frankly, nothing on the menu sounded very appetizing. i wish the old chef would come back!!!

                                  1. Thanks for the recommendations everyone. We went to Il Moro and the salads and pastas were pretty good, but the desserts we quite lacking. The service was great, the atmosphere very nice especially the patio, but I probably wouldn't go back.
                                    I went went with a friend to Via Veneto per someone's recommendation and would definately say it's better food in general.