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Italian Downtown

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Hi all--

The girlfriend's favorite food is Italian, and I'd like to take her out for finishing another round of grad school finals. She lives near downtown, so I was hoping for something in that area. However:

1. We are both poor, so alas, no Drago Centro. (Ideally I'd take her to Mozza every night. I have dreams of the whole hog dinner!)
2. I grew up in New England, so I'm haunted by memories of mediocre Red Sauce Italian. I feel like in the Tri-State area of 10-30 years ago, the only dining-out options people knew of were Chinese food (yep, I've seen the discussions on here about the search for East Coast Egg Rolls) or a never-ending choice of uninteresting spaghetti and meatball dinners. As a result, I'd love to find somewhere with more variety, or at least more authenticity; i.e., a bolognese sauce with ground beef, pork, veal, carrots, wine, cream, etc. as opposed to a restaurant version of spaghetti and meat sauce from the cafeteria at school growing up.

Once again, I am much obliged!

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

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  1. There is Colori Kitchen. I haven't been back in awhile, but I really liked the pasta dishes. The rest looked boring, and the great looking cioppino turned out to be kind of sad-- cheap tilapia, cheap overcooked shrimp and calamari, so so tomato broth.

    Bottega Louie. Extremely loud in there, tho.
    Not much good italian to choose from in dt.

    Oh heck, there's always the all-the-time happy hour at Drago Centro, the best value hh for food quality in dt. The portions are pretty substantial, esp for the price. And both indoors and outdoors are classy spaces.

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

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

    Bottega Louie
    700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

    4 Replies
    1. re: pley

      is bottega Louie okay for a 15 month old toddler? looking for a casual spot to eat this sat..

      1. re: samtron608

        you won't have to worry about the child crying in that place. it's noisy.

        1. re: mc michael

          Yes, it's a question of whether it might be too loud for the little one.

        2. re: samtron608

          bottega louie is not o.k. for anyone.

      2. For a value Italian, i think you want Angeli Caffe. It's not DT, but it's good.

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        Angeli Caffe
        7274 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        1. I think pley has a great idea....happy hour at Drago Centro. Then you could go somewhere for a gelato afterwards!

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: perk

            this was my first thought Drago HH.
            Not downtown but Poss. Little Doms in Los Feliz

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            Little Dom's
            2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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

          2. Colori Kitchen wins this one in a landslide, with Drago Centro coming in second.

            Bottega Louie doesn't even come close.

            Colori is a great hole-in-the-wall, authentic, and very affordable. Get the tagliatelle alla bolognese and the ricotta cheesecake.

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

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

            Bottega Louie
            700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017