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Best Italian in LA?

I usually just go to Dan Tana's or Original Micelli's (mostly for the ambiance!) but I'm looking for some nicer/fancier places to take my family while in town with more contemporary menus.

I was thinking of the following and would greatly appreciate your feedback and rankings of these, or alternate suggestions:

- Il Piccolino
- Madeo
- Angelini Osteria
- La Botte

I should also note that my sister has celiac disease (not just gluten intolerance) and therefore we need a restaurant that will be able to accommodate her. I imagine that any of the top kitchens in LA should be okay, right?

Anyhow, I'd greatly appreciate your feedback from the list above and please let me know if I should consider any other choices as well.

Thanks!!

PS - I hope we won't have problems getting last minute dinner reservations for this coming Thursday and next Tuesday evening at the above places.

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  1. If downtown I'd definitely add Drago Centro www.dragocentro.com to your list and on the west side check out Capo http://www.yelp.com/biz/capo-santa-mo... and Valentino http://valentinosantamonica.com/

    You should go ahead and make reservations as soon as possible, but don't forget to cancel any duplicates well ahead as your plans firm up. And I would call each of the places you are interested in to ask about gluten free choices that they offer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks Servorg!

      I'm making phone calls this morning to see what we can get.

    2. Good choices. I have not eaten at La Botte. The rest are very good and I would also include Sotto. Personally, I would go in the following order, but none would be wrong:

      Sotto (most contemporary menu great vibe and pizza. Fantastic pork chop)
      Madeo (classic, more formal, great food and service)
      Angelini (fantastic food, a bit cramped. No full bar)
      Il Piccolino (very good food and service, full bar, pretty, slightly older crowd)

      8 Replies
      1. re: Thor123

        Thanks so much, Sotto looks great and I'm going to call and see if we can squeeze in a reservations for 7 this Thursday... I think we might be cutting it close though! This is what happens when you leave the dinner plans to family, ha.

        1. re: OliverB

          Thursdays in LA are like Saturday night anywhere else.

          All the main corridors are clogged beginning in the later part of the morning.
          Still haven't figured out why, it's a mystery.

            1. re: latindancer

              My theory on this phenomenon: Lots of people telecommute/work from home on Fridays, and Thursday is the last office day for them.

              Also, social scene-wise, Thursday appears to be the unofficial "date night" for many couples (and for college students here, too). Since L.A. is inundated with OC'ers on the weekends (translating to harder rezzies, more crowded eateries, etc.), many Angelenos (incl. celebs) get their local socializing done on Thurs. night.

              1. re: J.L.

                and Thursday nite has always be frat nite night. with formals usually on fridays.

            2. re: OliverB

              You should be ok. Be sure to try the pork chop. Everything is great though. Please report back.

            3. re: Thor123

              II Piccolino is my choice but that's because I'm old :-).

            4. I'm surprised that Mozza is not on anybody's list. Are they in the chowhound doghouse?

              1 Reply
              1. re: MarkC

                I really like Mozza and I love their mozzarella bar.

              2. Madeo is at the top of my list.

                1. My mom had originally made reservations at Matteo's which I've been to before as part of my quest to visit every old (pre-70's) dining and drinking establishment in Hollywood. I'm normally pretty forgiving when it comes to these timewarp places, but for the exorbitant price and scene crowd that I experienced the night we visitied, I found it a very poor value, and I was not impressed with the interior, which was not entirely original, enough to want to return. Not in the same way that I feel towards a place like Micelli's. I'm not sure how my mom decided on this restaurant initially, as my family typically prefer more modern fare, but I vetoed the decision nonetheless because I didn't think it would be as enjoyable for them as other restaurants in a similar price range. In reviewing my list of "Old Hollywood" establishments, I notice that La Scala is noted - a place I have not yet been. Again, I'm leaning towards the restaurants named above as my family would prefer more contemporary high-end dining, though I'm curious if La Scala would register at all? Any thoughts on that one, if not for this trip, then perhaps a future visit without the folks? Has it retained much of it's original mid-century decor?

                  Thanks again for all of the advice and tips!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: OliverB

                    La Scala Presto in Brentwood is fine for what it is, a neighborhood Italian place. Not worth driving for and the other places listed here would be much better for food. But I'm sure you would be fine there given what you said your mom likes.

                    1. re: OliverB

                      Since Matty died, Matteos hasn't been the same (his brother in law took over, and then sold it to someone outside the family). Same with La Scala - since Jean Leon died, it's not like it was, not at all (even though Petit Jean and Katie took over, the kids). However, the chopped salad is still fantastic.