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Sep 12, 2013 12:56 PM

Pace, Madeo, or Drago Centro for Anniversary?

Hey hounds,
Husband and I are celebrating our 1 year anniversary. Our regular special occasion spot, Scarpetta, is closed on the day of, so we're trying to decide on another romantic Italian spot. I haven't been to Pace, Madeo, and Drago Centro -- but other people've recommended them. Which would be better for an anniversary? Preferably w/ a romantic atmosphere, but most important is quality of food, of course. Some of the boards/Yelp reviews are mixed on all 3 of these. Thoughts?

Ps. Any other suggestions, if none of these three fit the bill (preferably within 5 miles of Hollywood)?

To give you an idea of what we like, some of our faves are Mozza, Angelini Osteria, Picca, Sotto, ink. Don't want Hatfield's, Providence, Little Door, or WP.


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  1. Well, I personally do not think Pace fits the situation from the esthetic perspective, while the other two do.
    For an historical perspective, you might take the opposite approach of a new(ish) place, and select Musso & Frank on Hollywood Blvd. Retro in the right way.

    1. I would skip Pace. I believe its heading in the wrong direction. A lot of people, including me, like Drago Centro, but I think its a bit sterile and more of a business venue. I also disagree on Musso, its not a top spot. That said, I would go with Madeo. Ill Piccolino is good too. Love Sotto, bu the other two are a bit more romantic. Angelini is great but a bit crowded and no full bar.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Thor123

        Drago Centro is not sterile, it is modern contemporary design. Bright and uncluttered. Food is good as well.

        1. re: KTLA

          I agree its very good and maybe sterile is the wrong word. It just feels business venue to me.

        2. re: Thor123

          Re Pace, I understand that the chef's latest venture, Sirena (in the old Penne Vino space) is closing. Too bad, it was a great patio and pretty venue.

        3. Thanks for all the responses! I guess Pace is out, then. I'd suspected from some reviews that it was going downhill from where it used to be.

          Thanks for the suggest, @carter. I've been to Musso & Frank and while I love the old school feel, there is a mustiness in there that I can't seem to get over & makes me super unappetized. Like, maybe it's a better place to grab a drink, but nothing on their menu makes me excited...

          So now I'm leaning toward Madeo. Is it more like authentic Italian, or red-sauce Italian? I'm picky about my Italian food, and coming from the East Coast & having lived in Rome, that sort of differentiation makes a big difference. (eg, I like Angelini). Also, any rec's on what to order?

          As for Drago Centro, I like mod/contemporary, but I'll save that for a future meal :) Thanks!

          7 Replies
          1. re: emilia

            Madeo is authentic NORTHERN Italian - the owners hail from Forte di Marmi on the coast of Tuscany. Not "red sauce Italian."

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              For those lusting for "red sauce Italian" just a reminder that Rao's is opening next week. I agree with Ciao Bob re: Madeo.

              1. re: maudies5

                Rao's is gonna be a tough ticket, I assume. Wonder if the same difficulty to get in will exist here. Also, having been raised in a southern Italian household, where the house sauce and other recipes were proprietary info that was not even to be shared with in-laws, my elders would be rolling like cannoli in their graves if they knew how often I buy jars of Rao's sauce because I think it's good enough to allow me to skip taking the from-scratch approach (except on special occasions or for really special people). Though I often will doctor the Rao's product. Looking forward to trying the restaurant here someday.

              2. re: Ciao Bob

                Quite agree! Although quite traditional & classic, Madeo is a wonderful special occasion restaurant. To me, "red sauce Italian" implies casual restaurants with red-checkered tablecloths, candles in old Chianti bottles covered in drippings, and serving spaghetti and meatballs with hot garlic/cheese bread. Nothing wrong with it, but to me, Madeo is far more sophisticated. It's quite expensive, but if you want a wonderful dinner of Italian classics (think veal Milanese, beautiful fish and pastas, etc.), in a lovely dining room, with great service...Madeo is a great pick for an occasion.

              3. re: emilia

                Excellent Italian, not "red sauce" at all.

                1. re: Thor123

                  Awesome. We've made reservations for Madeo and will report back. Any must-try dishes?

                  1. re: Thor123

                    Madeo seems to me to be "red sauce" Italian, but I mean that in the bestest way possible.

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