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Oct 9, 2013 10:45 AM

Italian seafood in LA?

Hey, chowers! I'm just back from a quick trip to Venice, and I am in serious Italian seafood withdrawal. I'm haunted by the freshest, most perfect fritto misto of tiny whole shrimp, assorted fish, the most tender langoustine you can imagine. A single perfect raw red shrimp on a bed of burrata. Spaghetti with bottarga and tiny mussels.

Is there anywhere in LA that can approximate this? I know we have Italian, and I know we have seafood, but is there anything in this particular style? I know in Vegas, there's Bartolotta which takes great pride in their Italian seafood. Anything like that here?

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    1. re: Servorg

      Was going to suggest the same places. Great minds!

      1. I frequently travel to Venice and I can state that you will never find the type of seafood here that you find there. Those tiny gamberetti or schie do not exist here. I doubt that anyone has seen soft polenta with schie, such as the dish served at many good Venetian restaurants (I love the preparation at Fiaschetteria Toscana). So, just resign yourself to the fact that if you want Venetian seafood you are going to have to return to Venice. There is good seafood to be found here. Just not the same.

        16 Replies
        1. re: maudies5

          Agree that it is often a sourcing issue as it pertains to raw ingredients. Many of those Mediterranean critters are simply not easily found in SoCal's fishmonger offerings.

          My new find for Italian seafood has been Clusi Batusi - Just had an incredible grilled sardine entree last week there.

          1. re: J.L.

            <<My new find for Italian seafood has been Clusi Batusi - Just had an incredible grilled sardine entree last week there.>>

            Really??? I've only had their pizza, which I thought was fine. Might just have to stop by to see what else is on their menu....

          2. re: maudies5

            Agree. No gamberi rosso or langoustines here so there won't be a restaurant serving what you want. The only place I found langoustines was Marche Moderne in OC and I haven't seen any there for a while now.

            Osteria Mozza has a lobster spaghetti, Bestia and Bucato have uni pastas and even pasta with bottarga. All very good but probably won't satisfy your itch.

            Darn those addictive gamberi rosso!

            1. re: Porthos

              I know you guys are right... there are just some things you can only get in certain places, which is what makes discovering and enjoying them all the more special, and what makes travel that much more worth it. I guess I had that American moment where I just wanted to have something conveniently when I wanted it. That said, what I should be really happy about is that we do now have so many wonderful Italian options in LA. Not so 15 years ago!

              But I am totally hitting up Bartolotta in Vegas next month for gamberi rossi flown in from Venice! :)

            2. re: maudies5

              This place in Redondo Beach (Hostaria Piave) has featured soft polenta with schie on their menu in the past (have never tried it).

              1. re: maudies5

                I agree.

                I'm a huge fan of all the places mentioned on this thread, particularly for seafood which I'm very selective about, and some are really good.

                Having said's like going to Hawaii, coming back to the mainland, and trying to find the freshest Mahi Mahi prepared exactly the way they do in some of the great restaurants there. Or going to Seattle and coming back to LA looking for gooey duck the way they prepare them in some of the great restaurants there.
                It's just not the same and I've made peace with that.
                I go back to the source when the urge arises.

                1. re: latindancer

                  Damn! I was in Seattle this weekend. No one told me about "gooey duck." However, did have that crazy, good coconut cream pie at Dahlia Lounge.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Just so we're clear, I assume the poster means geoduck clams, not an actual duck that is gooey.

                    1. re: Jack Flash


                      Omg...what am I? Five again?
                      Thanks for the clarification.

                        1. re: maudies5


                          No worries...they're out of season right now so the ones on any menu(if you could find them) would be frozen and that's just not acceptable. If anyone could make anything comparable to what I know they're capable of tasting like it would be Tom Douglas. The master seafood preparer extraordinaire.

                          We'd dig them as kids, on low tide with our heads in the hole, and my dad would prepare them on the beach in front of us. Astonishingly, stunningly outrageously delicious.
                          The OP, if he/she wants what they tasted in Venice, is just going to have to get themselves back to Venice.

                          Glad you had the experience of that iconic coconut cream pie at Dahlia Lounge.

                          1. re: latindancer

                            "No worries...they're out of season right now so the ones on any menu(if you could find them) would be frozen and that's just not acceptable."

                            Is there a season for Geoduck clams? I always thought they could be taken anytime (at least on most beaches in Washington)? Yeah, it's tougher to go clamming for them when the weather gets colder, but not impossible.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              From what I know and remember...

                              They're dug on very low tides, obviously. The season varies between beaches but typically the low tides occur from spring to late summer. My dad would check the tide charts and off we'd go. Maybe things are different now, I don't's been many, many years since I went digging for them and perhaps a commercial fisherman would have more rights than the public. I have no idea. I just know low-tides are the rule.
                              Digging for them was ALWAYS cold in my opinion. Puget Sound waters don't deviate in temperature...the air does but not the water.

                              1. re: latindancer

                                The minus tide you need is at least -2 feet, and that only occurs about 40 times a year, with half of those low enough tides in the middle of winter. So spring and summer are the optimum time of the year, no doubt.

                        2. re: latindancer

                          I love that gooey duck - how do they do it in seattle -- i had it in rosemead and some of it was like sashimi on ice and some fried, i had it like fried fish and chips in new zealand (fried in lamb fat)...moderators aside, i appreciate our local take on foods from other cities too, like yours above.

                        1. not exactly what you are looking for, but for some amazing split and grilled langoustinos, try piccolo paradiso on s. beverly. they have bottarga off menu most days and the quality is high. I like to get spaghetti bottarga and have them throw a few grilled langoustinos on the side. the grilled head and innard part goes quite nice with that.