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Inexpensive NO-frills great Italian in Northeast or Eastside L.A. (Like Alejo's)

I was a huge fan of Alejo's (now Eddie's Italian.) It's in a small donut shop-type space in a parking mall squeezed in near a Seven-eleven. You sit at two-tops squeezed in against other two-tops, with other parties sitting at them. You bring your own wine. And the food is glorious. It has the best Eggplant Parmesan I've ever tasted -- nothing breaded or frozen or frozen there -- which believe it or not, is rare.

Where are the *unfancy* good Italian places on the East side or in Northeast Los Angeles?

Gale's in Pasadena sounded like that place from the reviews -- but the entrees are $17-$40, the wine bottles start at $45 and the bills are about $70 per person! And frankly...meh.

In the same breath as Gale's in Pasadena, I've heard Far Niente's in Glendale and Columbo's in Eagle Rock. Who can evaluate?

I remember Colori Kitchen downtown was pretty good when it first opened. Is it still the case? And is it still BYOB?

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  1. Colori Kitchen is very good, affordable and still BYOB

    1. I too, am a huge fan of Alejo's. Been going there for 20+ years. Lasagne is quite wonderful too. I will be curious if anyone helps out with other locations. I live in Sherman Oaks, and there isn't anything like Alejo's really.

      1 Reply
      1. Talk about meh! That's Columbo's. It's supposed to be an "Italian" steakhouse, but the Italian is more fiction than fact.

        1. You might check out Maximiliano in Highland Park.
          York Blvd. around 59th.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              How is DiPillas ?

              What do you get there ?

              In te hood, wouldn't one want to go to Sea Harvour instead. I know I would.

              1. re: kevin

                Better than Petrillos.

                Anything with red sauce.

                1. re: ipsedixit


                  If better, then it's crappy, but not that crappy.

                  1. re: kevin


                    Third tallest midget at the circus.

            2. It's more like Koreatown but All'Angolo is pretty solid if you can put up with very inconsistent and often slow service.

              Solid pizzas and pastas. More of an authentic (and take that modifier with a grain of salt) trattoria than an Americanized red sauce joint.

              There's also Maccheroni Republic in DTLA. Solid pastas. No pizza. Roughly the same quality and selection as All'Angolo but better service.

              1. Bollini pizzeria. Solid thin crust pies though maybe to a fault.

                And maybe


                3 Replies
                1. re: kevin

                  Haven't been to Bollini's in years.

                  But man. Love it!

                  Need to get back there!

                  1. re: happybaker

                    Honestly, I have not been in quite some time myself.

                2. How about that Italian place in Silverlake?
                  I'm sure some ot the hounds here know the name,
                  I think it be Michelangelo's Ristorante ;-)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: VenusCafe

                    Speranza on Hyperion is another good option for Italian in that general area.

                  2. in the same vein as All'Angolo, which is a great unfancy non-red sauce Italian joint, there's Anima, from one of the partners of All'Angolo. Both are really affordable.

                    That's not really close to "NE LA", though Mother Dough is. Unfortunately, Mother Dough is nowhere near inexpensive, though it is absolutely without a frill.

                    1. For Neopolitan pizza, try Desano in east Hollywood. They also have salads, calzones and specials like meatballs. It's not as good as Mother Dough, but still pretty good and it's cheaper, parking is a heck of a lot easier, and definitely not fancy. It's a huge, cavernous warehouse-like space with giant cans of tomatoes & sacks of flour stacked up, reminiscent of Eatalian in Gardena. I don't think they have booze license and don't know of their BYOB policy.