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Is there better Italian in LA than Madeo?

josephnl Dec 9, 2012 11:16 AM

I don't think so! After several close to flawless dinners at Madeo, I have concluded that imho Madeo is the best. I've tried many Italian restaurants in LA including Valentino, Angelini, Drago, Celestino, Toscana, Piccolo Paradiso, Osteria Mozza...and on and on. For my money, Madeo remains the most dependably excellent Italian restaurant in LA...the food is terrific, the service is as good as it gets, and the ambiance very pleasant. Do others think differently?

  1. ipsedixit Dec 9, 2012 11:29 AM

    I like Madeo, quite a bit in fact, but my favorite place for Italian is Valentino followed by Scarpetta.

    13 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      josephnl Dec 9, 2012 11:45 AM

      I agree that both Valentino and Scarpetta have very good food. Nevertheless, the last few times at Valentino we've had very cool,detached service and indeed some food was not great. We've also had variable service at Scarpetta, and the noise level can be very loud. We've just been very impressed with everything at Madeo the last few times there, and we also like that it's family-owned and not an expanding chain with a rarely present celebrity chef at the helm.

      1. re: josephnl
        goodhealthgourmet Dec 9, 2012 12:01 PM

        we also like that it's family-owned and not an expanding chain with a rarely present celebrity chef at the helm
        why does it matter that Scarpetta is owned by a celeb chef who's rarely on-site as long as the kitchen is producing consistently delicious food? i absolutely appreciate the desire to patronize Mom & Pop establishments, but i don't see why a restaurant should lose support just because it isn't one of them.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          josephnl Dec 9, 2012 12:08 PM

          I agree with your point, but with other things being equal (or better imho at Madeo), I always prefer to support the family owned, rather than a corporate/chain restaurant. We've had consistently delicious food at Madeo, with great warm & personal service, as well as a very pleasant ambiance.

          1. re: josephnl
            goodhealthgourmet Dec 9, 2012 12:33 PM

            okay, "all things being equal" is a different story - you didn't specify that before ;) on that we agree - if it's an even toss-up i do like to support the family-owned places. in this case i've never been to Madeo so i can't compare the two. i do agree that the noise level at Scarpetta can be an issue sometimes, but i love the food there, and aside from a bumpy experience on my first visit shortly after they opened, service has been good.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              josephnl Dec 9, 2012 01:37 PM

              Do try Madeo. Not to belabor it, but what I said was that "I like that it's family owned". Of course we do go to "chains", and some do a consistently good job (for example the Hillstone restaurants...Houston's, Bandera, etc.), and yes, we do like Scarpetta.

              1. re: josephnl
                goodhealthgourmet Dec 9, 2012 01:40 PM

                i haven't been eating out at all lately, but Madeo is on my list of places to try eventually!

        2. re: josephnl
          linus Dec 9, 2012 05:43 PM

          what does "cool, detached service" mean?

          1. re: linus
            josephnl Dec 9, 2012 07:24 PM

            cool = not warm
            detached = not engaging or friendly

            We celebrated a very special birthday for a very special lady at Valentino recently. Although we were treated "properly" there, the service was neither warm, nor especially friendly. It was, as I said "cool and detached". We have always been treated more graciously and made to feel more welcome at Madeo.

            1. re: josephnl
              maudies5 Dec 9, 2012 08:47 PM

              Josephini, I suggest you try Doma. It has been open less than one month and is in the old Prego space on Camden Drive in B.H. Lovely ambiance, full bar, pasta is delicious and made in-house. Service is very very warm. Doma and Dan Tana are owned by the same people. Expect quality ingredients. I have been to Doma twice in the last 2 weeks and have loved my food and service. Our friends raved about their steak (I have no idea if it is the same steak as Dan Tana's,but my friends were thrilled).

              1. re: maudies5
                josephnl Dec 9, 2012 09:23 PM

                Sounds great! Will definitely put it on the list of places to try to go to soon. Thanks!

              2. re: josephnl
                linus Dec 10, 2012 09:22 AM

                could you give an example of behaviour during your service that was "cool and detached."
                i really have no idea what that looks or sounds like. thanks.

                1. re: linus
                  josephnl Dec 10, 2012 12:46 PM

                  Simply neither warm nor friendly. We've only been to Madeo 4 or 5 times, yet we're welcomed there like old friends. We've never experienced this at Valentino.

          2. re: ipsedixit
            Margaret Santa Monica Dec 16, 2012 09:56 AM

            Scarpetta, because you can get Patriglione - top of the line Puglian wine there - along with amazing food. Pizza Mozza better than Osteria Mozza...!

          3. JeMange Dec 9, 2012 01:22 PM

            Best veal chop I've ever had and their spaghetti with bottarga... damn, is that amazing!

            5 Replies
            1. re: JeMange
              josephnl Dec 9, 2012 01:30 PM


              1. re: josephnl
                Dirtywextraolives Dec 9, 2012 02:30 PM

                What do you recommend there, at Madeo?

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                  josephnl Dec 9, 2012 03:38 PM

                  Wonderful veal chop, veal Milanese and osso buco. Pastas are great, and I've been told that the sauce bolognese is the best. They are very accommodating and will prepare off-menu dishes within reason (they will happily prepare chicken piccata or chicken Milanese, although neither are on the menu). They are really nice people and try very hard to please.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    Dirtywextraolives Dec 9, 2012 07:17 PM

                    Mmmm, love anything veal. I will have to try this place very soon, thank you!

              2. re: JeMange
                JeMange Dec 9, 2012 03:08 PM


              3. w
                whiner Dec 9, 2012 04:22 PM

                People always seem to forget about it or not go, maybe because it is a bit off "the beaten path" but the best Italian meals I've had in SoCal have been at Il Grano http://www.ilgrano.com/ . I've not visited Madeo yet, though, so I will put it on my short list.

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner
                  JBroida Dec 9, 2012 04:31 PM

                  i think il grano and sotto are better than madeo... i also enjoy ado. But madeo has better service in my experience.

                2. r
                  RicRios Dec 9, 2012 05:22 PM

                  Nobody in this thread mentions, or even seems to remember, Vincenti.
                  Haven't been there in quite a while, but some of my most memorable Italian meals this side of the pond happened there. Has anybody been as of late?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: RicRios
                    JBroida Dec 9, 2012 05:26 PM

                    very true... they are always solid

                    1. re: JBroida
                      maudies5 Dec 9, 2012 06:07 PM

                      Madeo has the best Pasta Bolognese in the world!! The Vitello Tonatto is also delicious. Although,not always on the menu, the chef is pleased to prepare that Vitello Tonatto.

                      1. re: maudies5
                        foodiemahoodie Dec 10, 2012 12:38 AM

                        My fav for Bolognese is Cafe Delfini on West Channel in Santa Monica Canyon.

                        But Madeo's is very good too.

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                          Dirtywextraolives Dec 10, 2012 10:14 AM

                          Oh that's good to know, too. Thanks.

                        2. re: maudies5
                          cls Dec 11, 2012 05:26 AM


                          Maybe a bit hyperbolic there. Best in the world?
                          Not making a lot of trips to Bologna are you?

                          1. re: maudies5
                            Bruin2 Dec 11, 2012 07:17 PM

                            The world is a very big place. For one, the pasta with a duck bolognese at Crispo in New York is way better. Not saying Madeo is bad, but.....

                      2. f
                        foodiemahoodie Dec 10, 2012 12:37 AM

                        I like Madeo - have no problem going there. Service is great (so perfectly Italian!).

                        But if it's all about the food - I prefer Angelini and Hostaria Mozza. It's more creative, more diverse, and more interesting. If it sounds great on the menu, it is likely that it will be great on the plate.

                        Madeo's is more traditional and conservative.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                          Servorg Dec 10, 2012 06:53 AM

                          "Hostaria Mozza" Are you referring to two different places here or mashing them up inadvertently?

                          1. re: Servorg
                            foodiemahoodie Dec 10, 2012 10:46 AM

                            Osteria Mozza. I get Hostaria and Osteria mixed up. They kinda mean the same thing.

                            No, not a mash-up. Mozza. The one on the corner! Not the pizza side!

                        2. c
                          condiment Dec 10, 2012 09:11 AM

                          Madeo is one of the three Los Angeles places expats can bring themselves to praise, the other two generally being Vincenti and Terroni. For what it's worth.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: condiment
                            maudies5 Dec 10, 2012 08:20 PM

                            Does anyone know what happened to Villetta? Are they still open? I looked at the website and they are still posting the June menu with photos from their opening. I never hear one word about it. Every time I drive by, the place is dead, dead, dead.
                            Just curious. I know that there were some big fans of Villetta when it opened.

                            1. re: maudies5
                              foodiemahoodie Dec 10, 2012 10:55 PM

                              Still open.

                              Different chef than when they opened.

                              1. re: maudies5
                                budlit Dec 11, 2012 04:01 PM

                                Villetta has been through a few different chefs since opening. IMO, not as good as it was when they opened.

                                1. re: maudies5
                                  Margaret Santa Monica Dec 16, 2012 09:52 AM

                                  Only the pizza is truly great at Villetta. The rest is okay. But yes, open. I eat lunch there often.

                              2. soniabegonia Dec 10, 2012 01:22 PM

                                Had a fantastic meal at Bestia this past weekend, a new Italian by the former exec chef of Angelini. I'd sort of given up on Italian in LA for various reasons i won't bore anyone with, but this is really exactly what i've been looking for - excellent food made with high quality ingredients with obvious care, reasonable prices, low hipster quotient (so far), professional & friendly service, easy parking, spacious digs. Oh, and really interesting cocktails and wines. Word is apparently out because although only 2 weeks new, the place was packed.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: soniabegonia
                                  JBroida Dec 10, 2012 01:46 PM

                                  Ori's charcuterie program at bestia is amazing too.

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