HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Where in the hell does a New Yorker find some REAL ITALIAN FOOD?

I don't even know how this can still be a valid question but I mean really... where the f**k in LA is there real authentic EAST coast style Italian. I'm sorry, no disrespect but any californian that has ever referred me to an Italian restaurant here clearly has no idea what Italian Food is. The poor excuses for "Italian Food" are laughable and it's crazy to me that people here actually think it's GOOD I guess because they've never tried BETTER. I'm looking for real new york family style authentic Italian food with some killer Marinara not brown/orange bitter crap! I want sweet San Marzano Sunday Gravy that's bright and luscious! It amazes me that I've literally spent thousands of dollars on these swanky wanna be Italian joints out here, I mean from Cecconi's, to Rivabella, to Toscana! All these places that claim to be so Italian. Geez! You know the closest I've come? BUCCA FRIGGIN DI BEPPO! How sad is that? A generic chain has presented me more italian food than any Zagat restaurant out here. Please help me if you by any miraculous chance happen to know a Place that can DELIVER?!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. While I think that your post is off base, I'd try Sabatino's in Newport Beach to see if it scratches your itch.

    7 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      I searched it up, food looks pretty legit... I will try it next time I make it down there. And speaking of Newport Beach, I actually did have one good italian meal at a place that stumbled across in the South Coast Plaza mall called Nello Cucina. Let me re-phrase things... I've yet to find an authentic Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. Better?

      1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

        How about I've yet to find a NY style Italian American restaurant because LA does authentic Italian (from Italy) very very well.

        1. re: JAB

          And where is that? My parents & grand parents are Italian from Sicily, I've never had authentic Italian food here.

          1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

            I think what some posters are confused/irritated by is your use of "authentic Italian food." Because what you seem to be looking for (as Dirty or others have pointed out several times) is authentic red-sauce Italian-American food as just about everywhere in the NE US. And, as they said, it's not easy to find out here.

            But the stuff for which you're searching bares little resemblance to the stuff you find in Northern Italy (i.e., Rome and further north; I've never been to southern part of Italy).

            In addition to the recs mentioned, would Miceli's work? Their food is not great, by any stretch, but I think it comes pretty close to east-coast style Italian....

            Or perhaps Maggiano's?

            As for bread, my partner and I now actually bake our own every few wks. Google Jacques Pepin's gros pain receipe. It's not difficult, but you have to plan ahead b/c of all the proofing time needed.

            1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

              Do authentic Sicilian recipes call for San Marzano tomatoes from Campania or do they use Sicilian tomatoes?

            2. re: JAB

              JAB for once I agree with you.

              And Mr. NY as a point of reference you have not mentioned what places you have enjoyed for Italian in NY ????

              1. re: kevin

                He stated he liked Rao's.

                He is looking do home style, Italian American cuisine. Not easy to find out here, and he's absolutely rot, Buca Di Beppo comes in VERY close..... May not be your cup of tea, but it's definitely very similar to home cooked food in households of southern Italian descent.

        2. And I think, while it was amusing, your post is not going to gain any friends and much respect from LA hounds.....

          I say it amused me, because it sounds so genuinely like a New Yorker....and I miss that.

          As a transplant from the tri state area myself, trust me when I tell you, you are NOT going to find an acceptable east coast Italian joint here. The Italian restaurants here are either California-Italian, like a fusion hybrid, or they are authentically Italian, as in, the owners are from Italy.

          Rao's just opened up a huge branch in Hollywood. I say huge because it has something like 95 seats. And it comes complete with all the hype you'd expect from a Hollywood premiere. But if you're able to get a table there, best of luck with that, and I wouldn't get your hopes up too much. It probably will not be the same as the Harlem original.

          Cali does it's own thing. It's perfectly fine with not being an east coast imitator.

          42 Replies
          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            Hahaha! I appreciate your honesty, I'm not saying Cali doesn't have good food because I've had superb Mexican, Japanese, French, American, California style meals just never an A+ Italian meal in LA. I did hear about RAO and am a huge fan of the NY location I just fear that it could be a tourist trap with commercial copies. I will try it out eventually, won't hold you to it tho if it sucks.

            1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

              I understand.... I have been on a similar search for the past 20 years here myself. It is basically fruitless.

              Yes we have great food here. It's just not the same as the Italian in NY-NJ-CT. Hell, it's taken us that long to get a seafood shack that has RI chowder & clam cakes, and CT lobster rolls. About a year ago, no one out here who wasn't from New England knew what the hell that stuff was.

              And don't even get me started on the bread. So save yourself the aggravation now. Seriously.

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                Lol I was just thinking about the bread situation the other day! I grew up in the tri-state area including Philly and I always thought subs/cheesesteaks just naturally had that warm soft slight shell crunch indescribable homemade italian roll until I tried one in LA........ I won't even get into that one but my oh my is LA missing out on some major eats.

                I also once ordered 4 "Philly Cheesesteaks" at the Bazaar once and almost threw up. $40 dollars for 4 bite sized stale hollow bread rolls filled with a inch piece of cheese and topped with cold quarter slice of steak. WTF the name fits the bill! I was stunned to say the least.

                1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                  gotta agree about the bread.
                  the worst part is that in LA it is a moving target AND it's moving in the wrong direction!

                  Fig, one of my favorite restaurants, used to serve freshly baked individual-sized HOT bread with crispy crusts that just came out of the oven.
                  now, they serve cold, sliced, french bread, that is dry, and worst of all doesn't do justice to their great cheese selection.
                  i don't want cheese with cold, dry, bread.

                  the change in bread is one of the reasons i rarely make the trek to Fig any more even though i still really like the rest of their menu.
                  the old bread COMPLIMENTED the rest of the menu. the new bread is just there.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    For bread, I get the frozen partially baked sweet baguettes from Surfas and then finish them off in the oven when I want it. Crunchy exterior with a soft chewy interior that's not too airy or dense. As good as any ACME baguette, Balthazar baguette, or baguette from Paul Boulangerie.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      OMG, Porthos. That's totally a dare! Was just at Acme in Berkeley. Game on!

                      1. re: revets2

                        Feel free to brush it with some melted eschire butter (also at Surfa's) prior to baking if you want :-)

                        I used to do the same with the ACME rolls when I lived up there.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Echire...prior to baking! Jesus.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            just read this and thought of your post... felt it was worth sharing... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/din...

                            1. re: goldpackage

                              Great article and video. Thanks! It's inspiring.

                      2. re: westsidegal

                        Sorrento on Sepulveda in Culver City has good warm bread in several varieties delivered daily (except Tuesday). Some so-called Italian restaurants don't even serve bread. Bucato doesn't serve bread. As for our friend from NY, it may be more about nostalgia than anything else. We hear the same thing about NY Chinese food. Stuff that isn't here anymore.

                        1. re: Baron

                          Bucato has 2 types of bread on their menu. It is not served automatically or gratis.

                          1. re: budlit

                            When I was there there was no bread. They probably responded to requests.

                      3. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                        Yea, sorry you got burned there.....

                        I've only found one place in the entire metro area that has authentic Italian bread, Bay Cities Italian deli in Santa Monica. You might want to try their hot food to go, they make some pretty good meatballs & sauce, but it ain't nonna's...... But they do bake their own loaves, all day, and I always buy as much as I can fit in my freezer, after eating a whole one with my own gravy. That's pretty much the best I have found.

                        1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                          So tri State area meaning New Jersey and not Manhattan? People from Manhattan usually say Manhattan or New York. Definitely not "tri-state area".

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Tri state means the suburbs of Manhattan: NJ, Long Island and Connecticut. It's just what they call it around here.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Yes, tri STATE area does not mean Manhattan, that's one of the five boroughs in NYC..... By the word state, they are referring to New York, which include Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                YMMV, but when i hear the phrase tri-state area i assume euphemism for jersey. i understand; i'm originally from the cleveland area and after 25 years, i still say northeast ohio.

                                1. re: barryc

                                  Nope, tri = NY, CT, NJ. There is also a "Metro NY" description, which would include the 5 boroughs. Probably only important if you live here though.

                            2. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                              I just came back from a trip back east (I'm from Ocean County, NJ) and had the special sub from White House in Atlantic City. The Italian deli counter guy asked me how I wanted it, and I told him to make it like it's supposed to taste. (the standard Jersey short standard of oil & vinegar, oregano, lettuce, onions, tomato, etc.) And you know what? All About The Bread on Melrose makes a far superior Italian sub. The quality of the bread and toppings at AATB are far superior.

                              The only possible advantage that White House had over AATB was the sheer massiveness of the thing. You could club someone over the head with it. South Jersey does have that "quantity over quality" thing going, which may be why locals love it.

                              I had a similar experience with locals on the New Jersey board raving about Joe Italiano's Maplewood Inn in Hammonton. The stuff was wretched. Sugary sweet red sauce with no acidity, veal cutley pounded so thin it was all crunch and no meat. Watery iceberg salad with bottled dressing. But, the place was packed with locals enjoying themselves with the huge quantities of food.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                I will go to All About The Bread because of this post; I have been searching for an NJ style sub for eons, and the closest I've been able to find has been Jersey Mike's

                                1. re: ns1

                                  ns1, please don't misunderstand me.

                                  If you're thinking Jersey shore subs, Jersey Mike's is going to be a better fit. AATB does NOT make a Jersey shore style sub. But the Godfather is a damned good Italian sub (and the meatball is even better, in my opinion). But their version of an Italian sub is better in many ways than what I had.

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    ah got it. yes, I'm looking for a jersey shore style sub.

                                    ...but I'm always looking for an italian sub too, so thx for the rec.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      What's a Jersey Shore-style sub?

                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                        "sold half or whole, on a long "sub roll" (Italian bread, but not too hard), with lettuce, tomato, onion, oil & vinegar, salt, pepper & other seasonings."


                                        the LTO + oil/vinegar/salt/pepper/seasonings (no mayo) is what makes it IMO

                                        1. re: ns1

                                          Don't know if you have a Philly's Best by you and I can't vouch for the other locations, but the one in Santa Ana does a nice Italian sub exactly as you describe. It's with the amoroso rolls though so I don't know if that makes it Jersey Style or just plain delicious Italian sub.

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Where's the one in Santa Ana ?

                                            It's not the one on 1st and tustin, that's Tustin right ????

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                Yeah, that's a different one.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              I'll check it out. Historically, Philly cheesesteak type places do a close approximation, but somehow Jersey Mike's felt more "authentic".

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                try the italian or capicolla salami and cheese at papa jakes in bh -- i enjoy these and they have the right spicy and sweet pepper relishes also

                                          2. re: ns1

                                            The only place you can get the best sub ever with a real Jersey sub roll is White House in Atlantic City. I will never get a sub as long as I live anywhere else. No point. There's something in the water that reacts with the yeast in there homemade bread. Untouchable. No one can come close.

                                            1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                              Did you read my post about White House?


                                              I grew up near the Jersey shore, in Ocean County and have had countless Italian subs in my life.

                                              The bread at White House is not as good as the bread at All About The Bread. White House serves bread that is typical for that type of Italian sub from that part of the country, but it's not a superior loaf. It doesn't have a crunchy crust like a great fresh roll would have, but then again you don't often (if ever) get hoagie bread so fresh that the crust is crunchy. All About The Bread is superior specifically because the bread is so much fresher, and the crust so much crunchier and more flavorful. And I'm telling you this having just had the White House Special sub about a month ago. AATB doesn't make a Jersey shore style Italian sub... that's not what it is. But it is an Italian sub made with decent quality meat and outstanding bread, and the bread really puts it over the top.

                                              For an Italian sub that fires on all cylinders (again, NOT jersey style, not any style other than the style that it is) get a freshly made sandwich at Roma deli on Lake in Pasadena. The rolls are crusty, and the quality of the imported meat and olive oil he uses (the mortadella for example) far exceeds anything you'd get in Jersey, and for $5.50 it's a steal. ITS NOT JERSEY but it is Italian, and it is great.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                I like Rosario's joint and he is quite the idiosyncratic character.

                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                        Taster, what you have just stated may be construed as blasphemy.

                                        Well, at least they didn't slick your sandwich with mayo.

                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  Always a bit skeptical about inflammatory first posts.

                                  Lived in NYC for 5 years. New Yorkers are actually very nice and willing to lend a helping hand. My first time in NYC I was obviously lost and trying to navigate Penn Station. Guy stopped in the middle of rush hour and offered to help us without us even asking. That's what I think of when I think of New Yorkers. Not this.

                                  If the OP is a legit request then obviously Osteria Mozza and Scarpetta make sense. Sotto makes great authentic southern Italian pasta.

                                  Like Kevin said, maybe the OP can list some of the places he likes in NYC so we can figure out if he means "real" Italian as in Italy Italian or red sauce American Italian.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    I have to agree.

                                    I was a lost tourist, like a deer in headlights, and on two distinct occasions NYers helped steer me in the right direction.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      when i first moved back to NY after living away for over 20 years, i was greeted with unbelievable hospitality from a host of strangers.
                                      complete strangers took time out of their day to direct me to every neighborhood restaurant that was good.
                                      because of their kindness, i was settled in with a regular restaurant rotation within 3 weeks.
                                      it made ALL the difference.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        What regular restaurant did you go to WG ????


                                        1. re: kevin

                                          it was a 'regular restaurant ROTATION"

                                          no longer remember the names of the restaurants.
                                          they were all within an 8 block radius of my apartment.
                                          two of them delivered to my apartment.
                                          one was open until midnight
                                          my job, those days, was being a road warrior.
                                          when i rolled into town after those trips, all i wanted was to get something reliably good in my neighborhood, and then collapse.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            Yes, the New York delivery scene where anything and everything can be delivered.

                                3. Um - huh?

                                  Methinks you protest too much.

                                  We gots plenty of real. All over.

                                  Just don't go for the shiny stuff, first.

                                  1. Now what are the fucking places you like in NY so that some of the hounds that have been to those joints can have some place to compare to it in LA ????

                                    That may help you more. And if I'm not mistaken we got some bicoastal hounds on this very board.

                                    No fucking joke.

                                    1. It sounds like the OP wants a red sauce Italian place. Consider Matteo's or its sister restaurant Hoboken, which are pretty much based on New York Italian. They are in Westwood.

                                      Al Gelato has a great marinara sauce if you like your sauce on the sweet side. Get any pasta, though I'm partial to the gnocchi, with red sauce and a side meatball. The menu is limited though, so you won't get a lot of choices.

                                      Another classic Italian place, with decidedly Sicilian roots, is Marino on Melrose in Hollywood. They do old-school classics wonderfully well, including veal parmesan with marinara. (There is a photo of a chicken parmesan on Yelp and the marinara is definitely red.)

                                      I will also thrown in a recommendation for Spumoni in Sherman Oaks (not to be confused with other Spumoni's around the city). it is a small neighborhood Italian with excellent pastas and sauces, including the best classic bolognese I've ever had.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Jwsel

                                        Too bad Anna Maria's, on La Brea is gone.

                                        Now that I understand more of what the OP was looking for, that would have fit the bill perfectly. Miss that place.

                                        1. re: happybaker

                                          Yes - Anna Maria's was where my Father, who transplanted from NYC about 15 years before I did, would take us when we came to visit him.

                                      2. Folks, we've had to remove a number of posts from this thread that weren't about food, rather were about another poster's style.

                                        If you think you have useful suggestions we'd love to have you share them. Otherwise it might be best for you to just pass this thread by.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                          Sorry to open a can of worms! I just revisited my post and noticed it kind of branched off to totally unrelated topics. Again, I apologize for posting at an emotionally vulnerable time while craving some Italian goodness.

                                          1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                            Yes, please ease up on the pent up vitriol spewed on LA.

                                        2. This post was I think looking for the same (or similar) as what you're looking for: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908708

                                          1. Not fancy, but a good solid neighborhood joint is Frankies, on Melrose. I've always liked it there. Seems pretty authentic NY to me! And I think they deliver.


                                            1. Carmine's http://www.carminesla.com/ (and do try Frankie's on Melrose which was recommended by Schrutefarms above).

                                              14 Replies
                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Carmine's.

                                                one of the guys i used to date was a regular there.
                                                they couldn't even serve passable food to a regular.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  I haven't been there in years, but my experience was that Carmines is pretty bad. Still, I'd have to call it New York style!

                                                  Besides the other places mentioned, try Guido's in Santa Monica. And Peppone in Brentwood.

                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                    I still really really really really have to get to Peppone's.

                                                    someone mentioned it a few weeks ago and it sounds interesting.

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      Peppone's is very good. Kind of like a more tame Tana's. One of the few places that does really good Sandabs.

                                                      1. re: Thor123

                                                        Tamer than Tana's ????

                                                        Fuckingfuggedaboutit !!!!!!

                                                        But if the food is better then I am more than game.

                                                        Slabs of veal parmigiano doused in grandma's tomato sauce, eggplant parmigiano in the same sauce, cannolis freshed piped in, jiggers of espresso, vitello milanese, lobster frav diabolo, i am more than game.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          I dont know if I would say the food is better, but I am a Tana's fan. The food is very good. It has a more formal feel than Tana's but some of the same old school vibe and old school waiters.

                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                          Do not get those ridiculous filet mignon meatballs. They are overpriced and under seasoned. A complete waste of money.

                                                          1. re: maudies5

                                                            Maudie's, what should I get there instead ????


                                                            1. re: maudies5

                                                              I stand by my recommendation! They've been great every time I've had them!!

                                                        2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                          Ew Carmine's is terrible. I had the dishonor of trying their "chicken parmigiana" haha more like flat white rubber covered in red shit & soy cheese. That's what it tasted like lol

                                                          1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                                            Yes, I had their "parm" - it tasted like Lipton soup. The kind you'd make dip with as a child.

                                                            Fucking awful.

                                                            But the scene - if you can call it that - can be interesting. Low level New York mafia types.

                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                              That's all that counts.

                                                              Carmine's is the joint right next door almost to McD's on Santa Monica Blvd, near Beverly Glen, right ?

                                                              Is it worth grabbing a couple drinks at the bar ??????

                                                      2. I hear Captain Jeter is opening up his time to retire joint soon.

                                                        1. Welcome to Chowhound, NewYorkMeetsCali.

                                                          By the way, you can say fuck. We're all grownups here. And most people who have lived here for any length of time don't say "Cali"... it kind of makes you sound like a tourist. (The same way that only tourists call it "Frisco", or "New Or-LEENS".)

                                                          Your post is no different from the hundreds or thousands of others who first arrive in LA wanting food like it was back home. In some cases, that's very possible.... I'm thinking Korean, regional Mexican cooking, regional Chinese cooking, regional Thai cooking.

                                                          But for the regional Italian American cooking of the northeast, there's not a lot to pick from.

                                                          Be careful when you say "authentic" because everything is authentic to itself. You can have "authentic" New Jersey Italian, just like you can have "authentic" Tuscan cuisine. The word you're really looking for is "traditional". You're looking for the traditional cooking of Italian American immigrants of the NY tristate area. It's a very specific thing, and for those of you well-meaning Chowhounds who haven't spent a lot of time living in the area and eating the food your whole life, making suggestions to someone who is looking for this very specific type of American cooking is kind of like throwing darts blindfolded.

                                                          I've tried several that sort of fit the bill in terms of ambiance (thinking of the infamous Vitello's in Studio City, The Capri in Eagle Rock, Pinnochio in Burbank, and Tony's Bella Vista across the street), but the quality of the food at these places is just not at the level you're expecting.

                                                          On rare occasions I've ordered non-pizza dishes from Mulberry Street in Beverly Hills and I seem to recall that they were pretty good. They're definitely going for a NY slice joint vibe in there.

                                                          You're lucky that you've arrived at a time when there's several serviceable NY pizza places, like Vito's and Joe's. If you had gotten here when I did in 1997, the scene was much different (although I think the best we had a the time was Lamonica's, Mulberry Street, Larchmont Village Pizza, and Abbot's in Venice, which fit the bill in different ways. Before Joe's, I remember Lamonica's tasting the most like I remembered from back home. Now my preference is Joe's 1st (their Sicilian slice is particularly good) and Vito's a close 2nd.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            "Be careful when you say "authentic" because everything is authentic to itself."

                                                            Lovely point.

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              Supposedly there was a great pizza joint called LaBarbera's in the 70s to early 80s.

                                                              Taster, you are spot on with this point.

                                                              But also a great question for the original poster is what kind of Italian food are they looking for: red sauce old school, Tuscan, the stuff Batali serves, the stuff by way of Michael White, etc or even new age Italian a la the guys from Torriis Italian Specialities and Parm (their sub shoppe).

                                                              "nuff said.

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                This is a great reply, which I may copy-and-paste every time I see a transplanted New Yorker b!tch and moan about some type of food that they grew up with in New York (that their family served them, with heavy helpings of love and Old World guilt-- hey, I'm a recovering Catholic too!) and cannot find when they get to the horrific uncivilized sh!tholes of the good ol' USA.

                                                                And the "Cali" thing is nails-on-the-chalkboard irritating. But the OP will eventually learn.... :-)

                                                                Now-- so the OP wants Buca di Beppo red-sauce Italian, as served in Sicilian and/or Calabrese homes. Well, without the burned red sauce that I've suffered at the Buca di Beppos I've been to (not my choice!).

                                                                I grew up in Pittsburgh, next door to a family where the mother was Sicilian, and had a childhood's worth of Christmas Eve Italian-American feasts (baked ziti, lasagne, meatballs, spinach salad, garlic bread, roast turkey for some reason, pizzelli, etc., etc,. etc.). The red sauce we went through over the years could have filled our pool. Twice. So I think I have an idea of what you want.

                                                                C&O in Marina del Rey is an option. There is another place I used to recommend in my hometown of Long Beach called Ferraro's (Los Coyotes and Wardlow). The guy who opened it was Calabrese (originally from Reggio di Calabria) by way of Brooklyn, and his recipes were traditional and great, with the superb fresh ingredients one can find year-round here in CA. But he sold; the new owner is, well, not Italian, and the ingredients are not as high-end and the recipes have been changed just enough for the place to fall off my Recommended list.

                                                                But as others are saying: Traditional Sicilian/Calabrese cooking is kind of hard to find around here. Meanwhile, you can't swing a prosciutto without hitting a Tuscan or Cal-Italian specialist. And some of them are damn fine restaurants. They're not the style you're looking for, but they're authentic to what they're striving for. Look at someone like Lidia Bastianich; it may not be the style you consider "authentic", but I think her Italian cooking is pretty damn wonderful. Don't you?

                                                                1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                                                  You had meat on Christmas Eve? Sacrilege!

                                                                  1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                                                    Seriously everyone needs to stop highlighting the bucca reference. That's not what I want! I was simply pointing out the fact that it's sad that after dining there with friends (not my selection) I had better decent red sauce than anywhere else in Los Angeles. That's the truth! I'm not saying I want bucca food. I'm looking for a great hearty Italian meal, as well as some authentic top notch high end Italian joints as I have been to Italy and obviously nothing compares to actually being there, but the fact that I haven't come close is sad. Since people are getting so personally affected & offended I guess I will continue my sad search for a great Italian meal leaving me satisfied, until then I will cook my own meals in my free time when I get the craving.

                                                                    1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                                                      I believe you have reached the correct conclusion: Make your own. Clearly, none of the thoughtful posts in response to your query satisfied you. What is "sad" is you chose not to listen.

                                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                                        Haha I'm listening loud & clear, I've just tried every suggestion.

                                                                        1. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                                                          Give me the name of of New York restaurant that serves this red sauce. Just trying to index your tastes.

                                                                          You might be talking bolognese? My fav bolognese - and I haven't tried all them because when I crave it - I just get it there - Caffe Delifni's. These are Italians up front and in back. Would love to tell them you ate there and that their food isn't "real" Italian. I would thoroughly enjoy their reaction.

                                                                          Amici might float your boat. There's one in W. Hollywood at the Beverly Terrace Hotel, and another, more upscale (but food is in the same ballpark) at 26th and San Vicente in Brentwood. Again, Italians making Italian food and serving it. They make a very nice veal Milanese use a big veal chop pounded, still on the bone.

                                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                            All of a sudden, I'm very curious to try Caffe Delfini.

                                                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                              they make a great one at baldi too.

                                                                            2. re: NewYorkMeetsCali

                                                                              Please name a few of the places in NY that you like so much.

                                                                      2. "where the f**k in LA is there real authentic EAST coast style Italian"

                                                                        in NY/NJ.

                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                          I've heard that flights back home are quite reasonable this time of year. :)

                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                            it'd be interesting to hear what criteria distinguish a good 'red sauce' joint from a bad 'red sauce' joint, if, indeed, that's what the OP is referring to.
                                                                            other than, "it tastes good."

                                                                            otherwise, this whole thread is too subjective to deal with.

                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                              "it tastes good."

                                                                              that's the criteria I'm using. shitloads of cheese does not make good red sauce italian.

                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                i agree with that.

                                                                                The chef has to have a certain way with the cheese and tomato sauce. Or else, it's merely slop.

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  what DOES make good red sauce italian?

                                                                                  and for zoroaster's sake, please don't say, "it tastes good."

                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                    Why does it need to be anything other than taste?

                                                                                    I will say that giant tasteless mushy meatballs + overcooked spaghetti + boatloads of generic red sauce + cheese does NOT equal good red sauce italian.

                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                      Good red sauce Italian:

                                                                                      see Madeo's.

                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                        because just saying "it tastes good" doesn't really tell me anything.

                                                                                        surely you wouldn't answer the question, "why do you like bruce springsteen?" with "because he sounds good." would you?

                                                                                        of course everyone here wants food that tastes good.

                                                                                        what makes one l.a. red sauce joint taste better than the other? what are we looking for here, geez.

                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                          what's good to me might not necessarily be good to you (y'know, like Portos sandwiches or Hayat's grape leaves ;)), but hopefully we can both agree on some things that are NOT good, ie giant tasteless mushy meatballs + overcooked spaghetti + boatloads of generic red sauce/cheese

                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                            I think we need Mr. Taster here to expound on the mater in detail.

                                                                                          2. re: linus

                                                                                            because just saying "it tastes good" doesn't really tell me anything.
                                                                                            Exactly my friend. Exactly.

                                                                                      2. re: ns1

                                                                                        <<shitloads of cheese does not make good red sauce italian.>>

                                                                                        agree with you there ns1 AND

                                                                                        a) putting butter in red sauce doesn't make it good
                                                                                        b) dumping raw minced garlic that has been soaked in cheap oil on it doesn't make it good (alejo's)
                                                                                        c) putting in so much onion that the whole thing tastes like stewed onions more than anything else (italy's little kitchen) doesn't make it good
                                                                                        d)adding tons of sugar doesn't make it good (so many restaurants and jarred sauces)

                                                                                        and on and on and on

                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                          I think Scott Conant and the denizens who have eaten his overpriced spaghetti would beg to differ with you on point a.

                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                            i'm sure he and his followers would disagree with me (as would marcella hazen) much the same as the folks who put pastrami on white bread with cheese and mayo would disagree with me about how to make a "proper" pastrami sandwich.
                                                                                            it's all subjective.

                                                                                            putting butter in everything (or lard) was what i used to do when i was working as a personal chef BEFORE i learned how to cook;
                                                                                            ya got a disaster on your hands?
                                                                                            just melt a few cubes of butter or lard in it and everyone will like it!

                                                                                            after i really learned to cook, i didn't need to resort to this technique/cheat. (i learned how to make sauce that tasted intensely of TOMATOS, instead).

                                                                                            still, dumping butter in everything saved my rump through the early days. . . .
                                                                                            i wonder how many of the men to whom i served those heart-attacks-on-plates are still alive today.

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                              A friend of mine says that when someone makes a pastrami on white bread with cheeze and mayo, somewhere a Jewish person dies. FWIW

                                                                                          2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                            WG. It sounds like you are referencing fucking Eddies (cough, I mean alejos) here ????

                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              i did reference alejo's.
                                                                                              my friday night group goes to the westchester one on occasion, and i go with them and drink water.

                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                WG, what happens when you are starving ?

                                                                                                Or better yet can't you take one for the team ????

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  i won't "spend" any significant number of calories on crappy food if i can at all avoid it.

                                                                                                  i'll eat lousy low-cal food, though.
                                                                                                  if i'm starving, and there is no good food available, i'll try to steer toward the low-cal crappy food just to tide me over until i can get something good.

                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                    I see.

                                                                                                    And you would be pretty close to the gelato joint in tr marina so you can hit that stuff up quite nicely if you catch them on a night that they are open early.

                                                                                                    Btw, jobs aside, is your daughter a hound too ????

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      breaks my heart, but no.

                                                                                                      re: the gelato joint:
                                                                                                      found myself there for breakfast yesterday.
                                                                                                      it's geographical proximity to my house is killing me. . .

                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                        I guess having the gelato joint near your pad is bittersweet.

                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                          i am still in the process of trying to get control of myself regarding the gelato.

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                            ive packed on some lbs since carmella moved into weho area...i can't resist

                                                                                                        2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                          westsidegal, I missed the name of the gelato joint near your house. I can't seem to find the referring post.

                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                        2. There are no east-coast style Italian restaurants that I'm aware of in Los Angeles. Why should there be? It's Southern California, after all.

                                                                                          Enjoy the bounty that is LA and hit up your favorite east coast places when you're back there. That's what I do.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                                            I like Rome, spend a lot of time there. Burrata, with a few scratches of nutmeg at Roscioli in the Campo de' Fiori, always puts a smile on my face.

                                                                                            Gioia, a cheese producer in LA, makes the best burrata in the States. They serve high-end clients but will ship to your home. I spent the month of August on a houseboat in Sausalito watching the Louis Vuitton Cup races. My guests were impressed with the Gioia burrata.

                                                                                            No real Italian food in LA? Bullshit.

                                                                                          2. One of my best friends born and raised in Italy used to take me to Peppone in Brentwood. But that was years ago.

                                                                                            I asked them to make me something I had when I was in a dive in Rome and they duplicated it to a tee.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: gr8pimpin


                                                                                              What was the dish that you had them duplicate perfectly ????

                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                It was so long ago (yes, I am getting old) so I can't remember the pasta, it was like an orzo and it was in a bright green pepe verde sauce.

                                                                                                I had it in two different places in Rome, tiny little trattorias that only the locals ate at.

                                                                                                When I returned, I was at Peppone and my Italian friend told me to ask them to make it. It was identical.

                                                                                            2. R.I.P. Marcelle Hazan who died yesterday. Great cookbook author and taught us about the unique vision each part of Italy brings. I believe Marcella Hazan would be appalled at this thread.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                I think so too.

                                                                                                Btw, I missed the alex's lemonade stand charity event if it already occurred.

                                                                                                How was it ?

                                                                                                Btw, is Bar Toscana still pretty good ? I haven't tried it just yet.

                                                                                              2. What neighborhood are you in? And to be clear, you want that New Jersey/New York, red sauce and meatballs kind of Italian-American, not actual (from Italy) Italian, right? I know you're grandparents are from Sicily, but stills seems like you're looking for NY-style, red sauce Italian (as opposed to more northern Italian). If so, yes, you'd hate the swanky joints. My fave, and I'm not from Jersey, is Palermo in Los Feliz. But sounds like you're missing out on the vibe more than anything, and you're probably not going to get that here, best to get it on trips back home.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Thornton

                                                                                                    Agree that Palermo fits the OPs bill.

                                                                                                    The Drago brothers are from Sicily, but think that won't satisfy the checkered tablecloth fare the OP is seeking.

                                                                                                    The chef at Palmeri in Brentwood is from Gela, Sicily.

                                                                                                  2. I haven't had much luck either ... the real question is where can i get a decent NY bagel around here?!

                                                                                                    39 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: chowsome

                                                                                                      I found the bagels @ Western Bagel in Burbank far superior to the H&H bagel I got in Manhattan, so not sure what "NY bagel" means to you.

                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                        fwiw, the softness of the western bagel crust didn't appeal to me.
                                                                                                        i think western makes them with a soft crust so that they are more "sandwich-ready," that is, if you make a sandwich using their bagels the filling won't shift when you take your first bite.

                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                          it was less of a compliment to Western and more of a slam on NY bagels.

                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                            Slamming NY bagels after trying just 1 again?

                                                                                                            Try Ess-a-Bagel on 1st Ave with whitefish salad. You'll get it.

                                                                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                              NY'ers should make the same distinction when proclaming the excellence of their bagels.

                                                                                                              I tried 2 btw ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                C'mon buddy. You don't want to end up sounding like this guy do you? ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                  NY broke my culinary heart man. pizza, bagels, katz, all a letdown. based on NY'ers comments (ZOMG IT'S SOMETHING IN THE WATER), I expected gold anywhere I went.

                                                                                                                  hopefully i'll have better luck next time.

                                                                                                                  Note: My fault for having such high expectations.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                    This news does not bode well for the El Segundo Grimaldi's (now supposedly opening the first quarter of 2014).

                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                      n/m, clearly I'm alone in my opinion (regarding the deleted comment in this post)

                                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                        I've had H&H bagels several times over the years. If that's supposed to prove the superiority on NY bageldom I'm beginning to think maybe I've been sold a bill of goods all these years with the extravagant claims of NYC food (pizza, et al.) reigning supreme.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                          "I'm beginning to think maybe I've been sold a bill of goods all these years with the extravagant claims of NYC food (pizza, et al) reigning supreme."

                                                                                                                          that's what I'm saying! Chowsome didn't ask "Where can I get a bagel as good as Ess-A-Bagel", he said "where can I get a half decent NY bagel", as if NY bagels were supreme.

                                                                                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                YES!! essa is hands down the best. You don't even know what a bagel is until you've had one hahaa

                                                                                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                              Depends are you talking about the Western Bagels that are packaged and sold in stores, or the ones bought fresh directly from them. I haven't had one in years as I left California a long time ago but I don't remember the ones bought directly from WB to be particularly soft

                                                                                                            3. re: ns1

                                                                                                              I think Western's aren't bad; but, at least on the west side, I prefer Bueller's on Olympic, corner of Westwood. I can't speak to the whole gamut of their bagels, since I almost always get egg bagels (my favorite kind). Theirs compare very favorably to what I ate growing up in the tri-state area.

                                                                                                              1. re: Wayno

                                                                                                                Currently, I think the best kettle boiled bagels are at the Nosh. No doubt the La Barbara's of bagels was the original I &Joy in the Valley in the 60s and 70s briefly replicated by Malibu Bread & Bagel in the 90s ( which had the I & Joy recipe).

                                                                                                                1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                                  I tried those at nosh good pumpernickel. Try Brooklyn bagels on first near downtown. Just our side of bridge. No restaurant.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                    Love Brooklyn Bagels. If you can't get downtown, go to Nate'nAl's. Those are the bagels they sell and they (IMHO) are better than any other bagels in my town or New York town.

                                                                                                                    1. re: maudies5

                                                                                                                      is this the same operation? in westchester?

                                                                                                                      Brooklyn Water Bagel company
                                                                                                                      8736 S. Sepulveda, Los Angeles, CA 90045
                                                                                                                      (310) 645-2243
                                                                                                                      Store Hours: Seven days a Week: 6:00am - 4:00pm

                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                        no, that spot is different, i think part of larry king's chain...but i was off by a block it's on beverly near the bridge....just bagels in brown bags, they also sell cream cheeses but no individual sandwiches or other menu....the bagels are a lot better than the brooklyn water bagel spots.

                                                                                                                        Address: 2217 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
                                                                                                                        Phone:(213) 413-4114

                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                            another vote for Brooklyn (not water) Bagel. The real deal.

                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              Absolutely disagree. I've been horribly disappointed on several occasions by the bagels at Brooklyn Bagel since (at least) 2004:


                                                                                                                              Dense, hard, far too small and tough, flavorless rings (and these are the ones that Jonathan Gold referred to as "properly cooked" (the hearth baked ones)... I always liked that comment in his Weekly review about how "properly cooked" is simply one of several options available at BBB. That said, he liked them a helluva lot more than I did.

                                                                                                                              There are much better alternatives in the city. Sam's on Larchmont is my regular bagel place.

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                Ten year old pedigree noted. No resemblance to what I receive.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, Sam's is pretty tough to beat.

                                                                                                                              2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                i know where this is.

                                                                                                                                right next door to one of my favorite sushi bars.

                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                  what's the sushi spot near there kevin?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                      thanks - i'll hit that up ... but gotta check out this shunji first

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I think you will like Shunji's better for now.

                                                                                                                                        Shunji's for dinner or lunch ????

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                          Kevin - I'm back in LA middle of next week, let's do lunch.

                                                                                                                                2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                  Love that place!

                                                                                                                                  We always get at least a dozen frozen, then store them, so we can have a nice bagel anytime we want, without making the drive. You'll know you're a very important guest to me if I go out and get them fresh that morning, for brunch ; )

                                                                                                                                3. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                  I personally prefer Brooklyn Water Bagel (I like the one in Beverly Hills) over Brooklyn Bagels near downtown.

                                                                                                                                  Brooklyn bagels, at least when I was there, looked like mini-bagels.

                                                                                                                                  Brooklyn Water Bagel has that slightly crispy outside and nice chewy inside. Gotta eat them fresh though!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gr8pimpin

                                                                                                                                    based on your opinion that they looked like mini-bagels, maybe you have the wrong spot...in any event...glad you like the bagels you like.... i don't think water bagel that bad, and certainly closer to me, but i stopped going when i would consistently get less than 12 in my "dozen"

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                      I will take a trip back there to Brooklyn and see. Never know. Maybe I had a real off day :-)

                                                                                                                                      Brooklyn Water Bagel does have a counting problem. I watch them pick out my dozen and count along. One time they gave me 18 bagels. I told them they miscounted but they gave them to me for free.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: gr8pimpin

                                                                                                                                        that's the right kind of counting problem!

                                                                                                                                        lemme know what you think of the other BB...

                                                                                                                                        as far as mini-bagels, i know sams on fairfax/sunset does em...not bad, but only minis i know about apart from western bagels which i guess are just smaller...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                          I see that a NY Bagel & Deli has moved into the little mini mall across the street from Whole Foods here in Mar Vista. Anyone have any experience with them?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                            If it's the same as the joint on Wilshire and 23rd (or so), then I have been there.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                I didn't munch on the bagels per se.

                                                                                                                                                I did have the Boar's Head turkey sandwiches a couple years back when I would frequently visit. They are ok, no different then any other sandwich of the type that you can get around town.

                                                                                                                                                But here's the kicker, they also offer Sabrett's hot dogs which I did order a few times, and it's quite good, if you happen to need that fix.

                                                                                                                    2. Sounds like you're looking for good old school, checkered table cloth Eye-talian. A few suggestions:

                                                                                                                      Dan Tana's


                                                                                                                      Miceli's, probably the oldest such restaurant in LA:




                                                                                                                      And...why not make some of your own Sunday gravy by going to some good meat markets and getting fresh Italian sausage, beef and pork, such as a Huntington Meats:


                                                                                                                      1. having grown up in ny and lived in la for 15 years your post disappoints me a bit. i also from time to time crave the down and dirty baked ziti guilty pleasures of youth but i've also found when going back to nyc and giving into these "baked ziti" cravings i've been disappointed. our tastes evolve sometimes more than our memories. nostalgia is a powerful thing. that's my first point... second point is los angeles has excellent italian... a simple search on chowhound will lead you to all of these (i've been to all but bestia and rao's) and if you haven't been to at least half of them than you maybe you need to do so before climbing further into the trap of thinking la doesn't have great italian. you might not find exactly what you're looking for, but if you check your preconceived notions at the door you will likely be a ton happier than you think...

                                                                                                                        giorgio baldi
                                                                                                                        angelini osteria
                                                                                                                        via veneto
                                                                                                                        la botte
                                                                                                                        il grano
                                                                                                                        bestia - haven't been yet
                                                                                                                        rao's - haven't been yet

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: goldpackage

                                                                                                                          Someone mentioned Ado recently but I have never been yet.

                                                                                                                          Can you describe it further ???


                                                                                                                          Giorgio, valentino, and madeo, and angelini are the best on that list.

                                                                                                                          though for some reason drago hasn't been great since Reagan was in office.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                            overall, i love this place but will give the good with the bad. dark, romantic, clothes need to be dry cleaned afterwards from the pungency and the lack of proper ventilation - it's in an old house after all. some feel it's over priced. one gripe - i feel the wine list could feature a few more affordable california wines and they never seem to have the wine we order. another wine not on the menu gets recommended (which i have to admit started to feel a bit shady after the 5 or 6th time it happened). i believe corkage is $25.

                                                                                                                            i've been 15ish times and have tried everything on the menu - any many of the nightly specials as they follow the tradition of having more specials to tell you about than what is actually in the menu. their pasta is exceptional (to my taste) with the red beet tagliolini with quail ragu being the absolute must try. the only dish i've ever really disliked is the wild boar with port and raspberry sauce - might simply be because i've never liked sweet with my meat.

                                                                                                                            in regards to dessert - they serve an exceptional firm creamy pistachio pudding.

                                                                                                                          2. re: goldpackage

                                                                                                                            Great post and list. Thank you, goldpackage. Il Fico on Robertson is a great little place too

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ernie

                                                                                                                              Thx for the recommendation. Il fico has been on my list of places to try but I'll bump it towards the top and give it a try.

                                                                                                                          3. I am reminded of The Sorpano's episode where Tony takes his guys to Italy (can't remember exactly where, likely somewhere south of Rome). They are having dinner with their Italian colleagues and Paulie Walnuts asks for "red gravy." The native Italians comment the Paulie is obviously some kind of crude American.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. Vivoli in West Hollywood? Il Capriccio in Los Feliz? Jones in Hollywood? Haven't been to the latter in about 10 yrs. so i have no idea what's going on there but those come to mind.

                                                                                                                                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                                                                                  Personally, I don't care for La Scala and think the chop salad is a huge rip off. You can get virtually the same salad at Mulbury Street for half the price.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Thor123

                                                                                                                                    Thor123: are you talking about the salad made with iceberg lettuce, CANNED garbanzos, and julienned commercial salami?
                                                                                                                                    the one for which they charge a ton of money?
                                                                                                                                    alejos (one of my least favorite restaurants) serves that salad too. of course, alejo's charges less.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                      WG, I believe that's exactly the salad that he was referencing.

                                                                                                                                2. This post really amuses me, because you are not in fact looking for ITALIAN food, but rather for American-Southern Italian.

                                                                                                                                  You will not find any of the things you are seeking in Italy, as far as I'm aware. Ergo, you don't actually want Italian.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jack Flash

                                                                                                                                    I suspect OP knew very well what they were looking for and was successful in his search.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jack Flash

                                                                                                                                      Wrong on so many levels. I indulge in Nonna made authentic Sicilian food as my family is straight of the friggin boat 100% Italian and I've dined at the finest Restaurants from Salerno to Tuscany so don't jump ahead of yourself. I've never had anything come close to that in LA but I have had that magic East. Sorry but it's the truth! Have you ever had an Italian meal in NY/NJ/Philly?

                                                                                                                                    2. i feel your pain...i'm 100% italian, east coaster, in LA for 15 years. i have a couple of recommendations; pecorino in brentwood--it's run by 2 brothers from abruzzo, & it's a little fancy, but impeccable, authentic, delicious & as close to what i grew up up eating as i've ever found in a restaurant out here, but not a typical sicilian red-sauce joint at all, if that's what you're looking for. another great find is girasole cucina on larchmont--it's small, family-run, & absolutely one of the best places i've enjoyed--they do old-school traditional, & they do a little refined. another place is terroni on bev blvd...pizza & pasta ranks. trust me; i've been everywhere, hi & low, including valentino, which was a joke. osteria mozza is pretty great, but it's not traditional, at least to me. osteria angelini is great too, but inconsistent. so many of the "best" places are so full of it & disappoint, & some of the places that are more low-key just can't cut it, for real.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jerseychick

                                                                                                                                        Jersey, no one has really mentioned Girasole in ages on this board.

                                                                                                                                        Btw, on the cheap, I quite enjoy Cafe Angelino.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                          Cafe Angelino is continental Italian, not Italian-American. Also, Cafe Angelino is not the same restaurant as Osteria Angelini.

                                                                                                                                          (Just some clarification, in case there was confusion...)

                                                                                                                                          Having gotten that off my chest, I too enjoy Cafe Angelino quite immensely.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: jerseychick

                                                                                                                                          Girl!! You get me haha but thanks so much for the great suggestions I will definitely try them out! I don't understand why so many people are getting offended over the truth. Obviously they haven't tried a top notch family style Italian meal before because this is what they're used to. I guess it's not their fault so I won't take it personally :) lol

                                                                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                            All the tables have been reserved for the next millennium...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                              i just don't understand Rao's. Tried to go there when I back east and couldn't get in on the day we wanted. Is it that good? I get their sauces from time to time. I admit it's probably one of the best jarred sauces but is it THAT good?

                                                                                                                                          2. Having grown up in NYC and having eaten many amazing Italian meals prepared by my Jewish aunt who married a Sicilian, I am very familiar with traditional NY style Italian food. My aunt was an wonderful cook who basically dedicated her whole life to preparing meal after meal for my Italian uncle, and for most of our family who were beneficiaries of her great cooking. Whenever I visit NYC (which is now 1-2x/year), I get my fix of NY style Italian food on either Arthur Ave. in the Bronx or at some great places in Queens (Astoria, and elsewhere). I know and love good traditional red-sauce NY style Italian food.

                                                                                                                                            To deny that "real Italian food" is not available in LA really makes no sense to me. The Italian food served at some of LA's excellent Italian restaurants is certainly as "real" as that served anywhere. Please NYMC, at least visit 5 or 6 of LA's best (not talking Buca di Beppo here)...such as Madeo, Valentino, Sotto, Il Grano, Scarpetta, Mozza, etc...and then let us know what you think. Perhaps the NY red-sauce style that you love (and I grew up on), is less available here, but certainly LA has some excellent restaurants serving wonderful and "real" Italian food.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                I appreciate you're reply, but you clearly didn't read my post fully. I only ate a bucca with a friend who wanted to go and what I said was a sarcastic slur and the truth I had a better italian meal there than anywhere else... It's not like that's where I hunted out "real" Italian food. Don't undermine me like that. I've eaten at every restaurant you named and they all did nothing for me. Sorry, it just wasn't there. That spark was not there! I guess there must be something in the water on the east coast.

                                                                                                                                              2. Los Angeles was never a major destination for emigrants from Italy. San Francisco was, but for Northern Italians, and so it's a different cuisine from New York's Southern-Sicilian.