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Really good Italian in the Valley?

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Hey all, have a family dinner coming up and want something good, preferably between Sherman Oaks and Encino on Ventura. Something setting-wise along the lines of Marmalade Cafe, La Frite, etc. (convivial, fun, social!) If that can be found with great food, we'd have our match.

Anyone have tips?

Thanks!

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La Frite
15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

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  1. Slightly east of Sherman Oaks, Mezzomondo Trattoria has been our favorite Valley Italian for many years.

    http://www.mezzomondotrattoria.com/

    1. Not quite like Marmalade Cafe but for good Italian food I like Gio Cucina on Ventura Blvd a little west of the 405. Its a small place upstairs in a mini mall next to the Land Rover dealer.
      www.giocucinanapoletana.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: chuck

        You won't go wrong at Gio Cucina. When I went, my favorite dish, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, wasn't on the menu but they were able to make a superb one for me.

      2. Spumoni Sherman Oaks on the Blvd. Intimate, friendly and used to have great food. Haven't been in awhile tho. Great house wine too.

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        Spumoni Restaurant
        14533 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

        1. i typically have a good time at oliva. they have pretty decent lobster specials.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cdub

            I like Oliva too, but it can be a little loud. If you go, try sitting in the first room.

          2. It's no Osteria Mozza, Il Grano or Valentino, but Il Tiramisu in Sherman Oaks is nice, friendly and reasonably priced. They will work with you if you want to do a prix-fixe menu for a larger group btw.

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

            Osteria Mozza
            6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

            1. You should give Emilio's Presto Trattoria a try and see what you think.

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              Emilio's Presto Trattoria
              16234 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436

              1. I really like La Cava, a relatively new Italian on Ventura, about a block east of Woodman. Delicious homemade pasta, fairly creative cooking and very warm, friendly ambiance.

                1. Panzanella. Large menu, comfortable and reasonably good service.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bigredd

                    Another vote for Panzanella - 14928 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.

                  2. Ca' del Sole has been consistently good for me (mostly for work-related dinners).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: vinosnob

                      Agree w/ Ca' Del Sol as well (altho it's in North Hollywood, a little east of OP's request for Sherman Oaks). If the weather's good, highly recommend their patio.

                    2. Il Teramisu on Ventura at Woodman is very good. Has a full bar. Much better food than Marmalade or La Frite.

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                      La Frite
                      15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

                      1. Of all the recs received so far, only Panzanella and Ca del Sole.
                        Last meals at tiredmisu, oliva both missed the mark in a big way.
                        La Cava - ok,
                        Spumoni - ok
                        Mezzomondo - better than ok.
                        None of them are particularly fun, however.
                        Of course it your idea of fun is Marmalade, well you might like some of them.