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Angeli Cafe on Melrose - Very disappointing

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I was excited after reading several reviews on Chowhound. Ended up very disappointed.

I called two weeks ago and left a message for a reservation. They never called me back. Then I couldn't get someone to answer the phone for a week. Finally on Friday night at 7:30 I was able to speak to someone. The woman grudgingly took the reservation, but it wasn't written down when we arrived.

Sat at table 10-15 minutes without bread or water. Waitress brought cold pizza bread, holding it to the plate with her thumb (saw her do it for several other diners).

Waiter was nice, but overworked. Didn't see much of him.

Suppli - Decent, but nothing like we had in Rome.
Bean Soup - Very few beans, more of a minestrone.
Heirloom tomato salad - Tasty.
Penne Bolognese - Generous portion, but not overly flavorful
Lasagna - Just okay and only had spinach as the seasonal vegetable.

Never bothered to ask if we wanted desserts.

It's a mid-range Melrose Ave. Italian restaurant, closer to Louise's than Angelini Osteria. If you go in expecting fine dining, you too will leave disappointed.

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  1. It can be better...but no, it's not in Angelini's league. Love Evan Kleiman, but Angeli is just average.

    5 Replies
    1. re: LT from LF

      I've never understood why this place gets any positive notice. I've eaten there many times and it's always average chow at best. Given the attention showered on the owner from the LA Times, Weekly etc, you would think there would be more concern for how the food tastes at the restaurant.

      1. re: cam

        Evan has a lovely personality, and is a good radio show host (you can hear her on KCRW Saturday mornings at 11 AM). She is also involved in the Slow Food movement, and participates in many charitable events. BUT...maybe it's because she doesn't want to raise the prices, but the food at Angeli just isn't that great. Especially once you've been to Angelini Osteria....

        1. re: LT from LF

          True, she is great on the radio and I do admire her advocacy of farmer's markets, the use of fresh ingredients, Slow Food etc. But I also think she should practice what she preaches.

          1. re: cam

            >>>Slow Food etc

            According to one of the above posters, she has that part down. :-)

          2. re: LT from LF

            Angeli is a fine, reasonably-priced family kind of place, not a temple of cuisine. It's the kind of tasty, everyday fare I love. I think it is great.

            And if someone puts their thumb on my bread, well, I ain't gonna wail about it. Someone probably put their whole hand on it while they were making and slicing it.

      2. I thought that the place was going to be fantastic just because its Evan's place but, my experience is pretty much a carbon copy of yours.

        1. Sadly enough, my last experience there was not so hot, either..and I am a die hard fan. This was the ONLY bad experience I have ever had there, but it was not a good sign.

          My reservations were fine, and we were seated promptly. I ordered pizza bread right away (you get it faster), and the heirloom salad, as well as an aparatif. We had brought a bottle of belgian beer, and asked for a few glasses.

          I had to remind the waiter about the bread, but it eventually came, nice and hot. Then the salad came. It was faboo. We ordered our entree's..finacee had the osso buco risotto, I ordered the crab risotto and a side of spinach-and more bread (I love it). The waiter did not write our order down. then we waited, and waited, and waited.

          I caught the waiter, and asked him aout the bread, the glasses, and the aparatif. He had forgotten what my aparatif was, so I reminded him. He ran off to get it. When I say ran, I am totally ying. He sort of wove back to the bar slowly, and screwed around back there. It was truly amazing to see how slowly he wandered across such a tiny room.

          the bread guy FINALLY brought our bread, and we asked HIM for three glasses (we wanted to send some beer to Evan, she's a beer fan, and my fiancee is the grand hydrometer in a local brewclub) The bread guy brough two glasses ten minutes later. We sent him back for a third. The glasses still beat my aparatif, which eventually arrived. The waiter then opened the beer. Odd to drink an aparatif so late in the meal.

          We waited, and waited, and waited. I went to the restroom. When I came back, our meals had arrived. My fiancee loved his osso buco, but I noticed my crab was amazingly shrimp shaped, and these shrimp shaped things numbered about four in a pile of risotto. There was no mint, although it was on the menu. My finacee told me the waiter said they had run out of crab (probably in the 45 minutes or more we were waiting) and they made the dish with shrimp. The spinach was missing, and it never did come. I think he forgot about it.

          Now, I don't know about you, but in my mind, if a kitchen runs out of what I order, I'd sort of like them to ask me if I want the substitution before they make it..not after the dish is on the table. I called over the waiter (took about 10 minutes) and told him i didn't want shrimp. He asked me if I wanted to order something else. Meanwhile, financee fis working on his dish.

          I asked him what he could make so I could eat WITH my fiancee. I finally ordered Spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini and stuff. When it FINALLY came out, the waiter took away my finacee's half finished osso buco, and brought him an entirely new plate. he also brought over the shrimp risotto in a box. The spaghetti had about one slice of eggplant on it, sort of chopped in little pieces. I never located any zucchini. It tasted bland, I could have made it. I ate about a third, and gave up. I should have just ordered a ceasar salad.

          To be fair, the waiter didn't charge us for the shrimp, spinach (never arrived) or the spaghetti, and my boyfriend got a whomping serving of oso buc for the price of one. We took three boxes home that night, and I felt lousy.

          I'll give it another chance, as I have a KCRW certificate for a free dinner, and every place can have an off night, and I HAVE had some fabulous meals there.

          Still, I worry about a possible downhill alert for Angeli.

          1. I have to agree that Angeli is truly overrated. And while we're on the subject, it is completely beyond me how Vivoli Cafe on Sunset gets a 27 from Zagat. It's strip mall Italian - no better, no worse.

            1. Just went there last night. No disappointments here. Fast, friendly service, good food. Waiter sat us immediately and brought the hot, fresh pizza break within a few minutes. Excellent! I love that bread. We ordered quickly, got our food quickly and were very satisfied with it. I had the penne with sausage and swiss chard, and it was very good. So was my friend's linguine with clams/mussels. Only one of us had a very slight complaint--a bit too much nutmeg in their ravioli. That's it. An excellent experience overall.

              1. We've had some disappointments, too, but I sure wouldn't compare it to Louise's!

                And I'm still a big fan of:
                Pizza con Salsicce...13.
                caramelized onion, Italian sausage, fontina, sage

                It's a fav right now--that could change when we finally try Mozza.

                Can anyone report on the Thanksgiving dinner there?