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Italian seafood in LA?

heinous Oct 9, 2013 10:45 AM

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. Servorg RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 11:26 AM

    You should probably try il Piccolino http://www.ilpiccolinorestaurant.com/ and Madeo too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      Thor123 RE: Servorg Oct 9, 2013 11:38 AM

      Was going to suggest the same places. Great minds!

    2. r
      Robert Thornton RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 12:26 PM

      Il Grano has incredible seafood

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Thornton
        Searching4Dunny RE: Robert Thornton Oct 9, 2013 12:41 PM

        Second Il Grano.

      2. m
        maudies5 RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 12:41 PM

        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
          J.L. RE: maudies5 Oct 9, 2013 01:03 PM

          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.
            ilysla RE: J.L. Oct 9, 2013 05:37 PM

            <<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
            Porthos RE: maudies5 Oct 9, 2013 01:06 PM

            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
              heinous RE: Porthos Oct 11, 2013 01:52 PM

              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
              Servorg RE: maudies5 Oct 9, 2013 01:53 PM

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

              1. re: maudies5
                latindancer RE: maudies5 Oct 9, 2013 05:14 PM

                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 that....it'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
                  maudies5 RE: latindancer Oct 9, 2013 09:17 PM

                  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
                    Jack Flash RE: maudies5 Oct 10, 2013 08:01 AM

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

                    1. re: Jack Flash
                      latindancer RE: Jack Flash Oct 10, 2013 08:18 AM


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

                      1. re: Jack Flash
                        Dirtywextraolives RE: Jack Flash Oct 10, 2013 01:30 PM

                        Thank you, that was bugging me.....

                        1. re: Jack Flash
                          J.L. RE: Jack Flash Oct 10, 2013 04:52 PM


                        2. re: maudies5
                          latindancer RE: maudies5 Oct 10, 2013 08:04 AM


                          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
                            Servorg RE: latindancer Oct 10, 2013 08:14 AM

                            "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
                              latindancer RE: Servorg Oct 10, 2013 09:00 AM

                              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 know...it'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
                                Servorg RE: latindancer Oct 10, 2013 09:12 AM

                                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.

                        3. re: latindancer
                          jessejames RE: latindancer Oct 10, 2013 08:35 AM

                          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.

                      2. m
                        maudies5 RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 01:19 PM


                        1. j
                          jessejames RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 02:03 PM

                          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.

                          1. f
                            foodiemahoodie RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 03:05 PM

                            I know the food-jones of which you speak. There's a place in Rome (Assunte Madre) which I'm crazy about - of there is no reasonable facsimile anywhere in Los Angeles.

                            Odd since Italian is loved here. Seafood is loved here. We're on the coast with access to an incredible assortment of fish. And yet...

                            Closest thing is Il Grano - which is Italian and focuses on seafood - very good. But it's not the same.

                            1. CharlesKochel RE: heinous Oct 9, 2013 07:20 PM

                              I can appreciate the bashing Frito Misto hast historically taken on CH, but I like it better and better every time I feast there. The flavors are for real and the seafood seems fresh...I like the fried platter Frito MIsto and the garlic shrimp pasta with the garlic cream sauce is goooooooood!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: CharlesKochel
                                foodiemahoodie RE: CharlesKochel Oct 9, 2013 09:29 PM

                                But that's really just a pasta joint.

                                I think the O.P. wants something like this..

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                  Dirtywextraolives RE: foodiemahoodie Oct 10, 2013 01:31 PM

                                  We used to have I Cugini in Santa Monica..... That was their specialty.....

                              2. h
                                heinous RE: heinous Oct 11, 2013 01:55 PM

                                Thank you to everyone for all your great suggestions! I now have a new list of places to try. And thank you for your sympathy too - man, the food withdrawal is way worse than jetlag...

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