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Vito Italian Restaurant in Santa Monica

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I kind of stumbled upon this place while researching Italian restaurants in the LA area. It looks promising, not too expensive, nice menu and dining room. Has anyone here eaten at this place? How is the food and service? Worth a drive from Century City?

We're looking at Toscana in Brentwood or Il Pastaio in BH, but Santa Monica isn't that far and we'd be willing to drive over if the food is worthwhile. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Love Vito! Old style, red leather Italian. Great caesar salad. Took friends there last week and they loved it.

    1. Toscana and Il Pastaio have better food, albeit Il Pastaio has a more limited menu and is more casual. The food and decor at Vito is old school Italian and decent, and the folk there try very hard to make sure you enjoy your evening. If you sign up on their mailing list you will get a 30% discount card for any future meals. Despite all that, I do not use my card very often as there is so much better Italian around.

      1. Its been a while since I have been to Vito, but Toscana and Il Pastaio are both outstanding and better than Vito. Note that Il Pataio does not take reservations after 6:30 so there may be a wait as it gets crowded. Not so much I would imagine with Vito. Vito may be good, but I dont think the same class.

        1. Thanks for all your responses. I'll add Vito to my LA list for the time being, I still think it looks interesting, maybe for another trip.

          How would the wait be at Il Pastaio on a Sunday night around 7:30? If it would be a really long wait then we'd probably go with Toscana since we could make dinner reservations. Thanks again!

          1. I'll dissent: Il Pastaio is not 1/2 the restaurant Vito is. It has a long line solely because it is inexpensive in an expensive part of town - not because the food is particularly good.

            However, Vito, while good and "old school" as rnp0123 says, is not 1/2 the restaurant Toscana is (though it might be 1/2 the price). Toscana is fabulous for authentic NORTHERN Italian food made by Italians from Italy. Vito is decent for semi-authentic SOUTHERN Italian food made by Italians by way of the East Coast.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ciao Bob

              I think you perfectly summed it up.

            2. I eat at Vito about once a week - I absolutely love it. I also eat at Toscana, Villetta and the like, but Vito is comfort Italian food on a completely different level. I call it my second kitchen.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yogachik

                Comfort Italian food, I'm all for that.!

              2. "Worth a drive from Century City?"

                No. There must be a dozen better places in the Santa Monica/Brentwood/Venice area. Like La Botte, Toscana, Pecorino. Piccolo. Vicenti. Valentino. Viletta. Amici, La Bruschetta. Pizzicatto. Il Grano. Capo. Ado. Many worth a drive, but not Vito. Okay if you have a meeting in the neighborhood and someone insists on it. It's not horrible, but nothing remotely special. (You know, like worth a drive).

                5 Replies
                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                  I would disagree. While all the places on your list are great, they are different. Besides, Vito has the best bolognese I've had on the westside, for HALF the price. At happy hour, even less - it's only $5.50. Yes, that's worth the drive (and martini's are $6.50), a perfect after-work meal.

                  1. re: yogachik

                    My last visit to Toscana left me thinking of the Emperor's New Clothes...overpriced and underwhelming...

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Really, Servorg, that's too bad.
                      When? What did you have? I have always had great food there. I agree that is is expensive.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        I had the bolognese and it just wasn't anything special. The service was good, as it normally is. Even my wife's special was just okay. I don't even recall what it was, something with chicken. This was in February this year.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        I'm with you on that Servorg - I can think of 5 or 10 (Italian) places I'd rather go first. I've yet to have a meal that was anything less than highly competent there - but I've never had anything that leaves me craving to go back.

                  2. Thank you everyone for your input. Interesting views, somewhat similar to the Dan Tana thread here, some love it, others just ok with it with alternate suggestions. But all your comments are greatly appreciated.

                    Still leaning towards Toscana, but I'll also offer up Vito as an option and see what the family decides. Old school and comfort food have their place on my list too!

                    1. Another old style Italian restaurant that has been around for years and in my opinion is better than Vito's (including their table side made Caesar salad which is excellent) is Guido's on Santa Monica Blvd. slightly east of Bundy.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: brwencino

                        Love Guido's!! Especially love their chopped salad (Guido Salad)

                        1. re: yogachik

                          Just saw this thread. We could certainly use a few good "red sauce" Italian restaurants on the Westside--NY Italian comfort food level, not more authentic Italians like Valentino, Vicenti, and plenty of others. Guido's is about the best I've found in this area for spaghetti with meatballs, chicken piccata and the like. (I haven't had really good restaurant lasagna around here since Bruno's turned into a church.) We have gone to both Guido's and Vito's a couple of times in the last year. Vito's was better than OK, but given the choice we'd go to Guido's. We had one very bad meal at Il Pastaio several years ago, compounded by atrocious service. Maybe a bad night, but we haven't been back. Pastaio's food did not justify its prices, either.

                        2. re: brwencino

                          Guido's just lost us as a customer when the waiter continued to address us "Now girls what would you like" and continued in that vein. While convenient to Westwood - Vitos is well worth the extra drive - better food. service (and manners)

                          1. re: ZoeZ

                            My wife and her 3 life long high school and beyond friends tip extra when the wait person addresses them as "girls" on their "girls" nights out.

                        3. In regard to "old-school, red sauce, red leather, dark rooms..." in West L.A., I like Peppone too. Now, before lava starts seeping out of your nose, let me calibrate you. It is expensive. If you walk in with no reservation and see half the dining room empty and get told there are no tables, it is beacuse--like many of "these types" of Italian restaurants--there are tables that are almost always reserved for regulars regardless. If this bothers you, you will not enjoy it. However, if you are a wine lover, the list is incredible and I never get past the first page of specials that are wines, for the most part, not available in Los Angeles at any price let alone the discount prices they offer. I always get the ravioli. And did you know, owner Gianni Paoletti started in L.A. as a chef with Piero Selvaggio. And no, they didn't part ways because Gianni was any good. They just had different visions.

                          Now this being said, I also like Vito and Guido's and go to both of those more often becuase they are just so much less expensive. I also like most of the other places metioned above and probably consider Hosteria del Piccoo my favorite right now, but somtimes I'm in the mood for a taste of the past.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ellaystingray

                            Hosteria del Piccolo is GREAT!!!!

                            1. re: ellaystingray

                              peppone's i have never tried, curious about it though, seems to be like it would be very old school and clubby.