There are certain things that a truly great Italian restaurant should, in our opinion, be. Warm, lively, welcoming and at least a little reminiscent of the Old Country.
The wine should flow freely, the pasta should be exceptional and no one should ever leave hungry. So some of the modern, minimalist Italian eateries in LA don't quite cut it for us. High on style for sure, but a little low on atmosphere and authenticity. These amazing eateries are, as far as we are concerned, the best Italian restaurants in LA because they tick all of the boxes we have mentioned:
7313 Beverly Blvd.
This family dining staple tops our list because it embodies what we think an Italian restaurant - even one located in LA rather than Rome - should be all about.
The classics are the menu staples here; homemade raviolis, giant lasagnas, generously cut veal chops and a myriad of antipastis. But although the flavors may be familiar each dish is prepared with such a high level of skill, and served with such friendly warmth, that the old cliche 'just like Mama made' does not seem like a cliche here at all, just a rather obvious truth.
2121 E 7th Pl
Bestia, the trendy old warehouse restaurant from the Sprout LA restaurant group, that quickly fills up night time with handsome people just enjoying the delicious food but also the great ambience. Head Chef Mr Ori Menashe, former Angelini Osteria too littles surprise, makes sure that you can relax with a menu that shows off a number of tweaked and neatly made Italian dishes.
Look for the Cavatelli alla Norcina, the Bone Marrow or the Spaghetti Rustichella as they all comes recommended.
9575 W. Pico
When this eatery first opened in 2011 in the basement of a decidedly nondescript building in West LA most people did not give it much chance of survival, despite the stellar reputation of chef/owner Steve Samson, a former StarChefs Southern California's Rising Star. Fast forward six months however and it had been named one of Esquire Magazine's “Best New Restaurants in America” and Los Angeles Magazines #1 “Best New Restaurant". And it has only gone from strength to strength since.
With a focus on authentic regional cuisine the menu is a delightful mix of hearty meat dishes, inventive pizzas and succulent seafoods that should suit any taste and the staff are a delight to be around and served by.
1757 N. Vermont Ave
Il Capriccio is the kind of neighborhood restaurant we love. Regulars are greeted as old friends, newcomers with extreme kindness, the vibe is warm and authentic and the food is consistently marvelous.
Everything on the menu has a decidedly - and very authentic - bent towards old school Napoli but if we were forced to recommend a single must try dish it would be the Frutti di Mare, one because it is truly loaded and two because many of the ingredients are flown in frest from The Boot, and it does not get much better than that.
6610 Melrose Ave
At Chi SPACCA you will be looking at meat alternatives as this great spot from Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Mr. Bastianich, the successfully trio, are more or solely focusing on meat. This used to be the classroom of Scuola di Pizza nowadays though its this cosy place with a wood burning oven in the exposed kitchen.
Try the Beef & Bone Marrow Pie or the Tomahawk Pork Chop.
8432 West 3rd St
In the last few years there has been something of a mini explosion in Downtown LA as a myriad of new Italian restaurants opening up, most of them definitely geared towards the tourists. Former Culina at the Four Seasons head chef Vic Casanova opened Gusto as the a polar opposite alternative to all of them; it's very small, very intimate and you feel like could almost be sitting in Vic's living room rather than his new restaurant.
The menu changes and rotates on a regular basis, so there is actually always a new twist to try if you are so inclined but Casanova's standout homemade pastas - including the marvelous sweet sausage orecchiette and butternut squash agnolotti - are year round wonders that have to sampled by any pasta lover when in town.