9 Best Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles, California
When we imagine fine dining, we picture candlelight, waiters dressed in black suits, and Italian food. In Los Angeles, California, the land of sunshine, dreams, and luxurious living, there is no limit to fine dining options. Ergo, there is no limit of Italian restaurants. Out of all of the Italian restaurants in the city of Los Angeles, which ones are the best? Check out the following nine best-rated Italian restaurants in L.A.
chi SPACCA – Melrose
“Chi Spacca”, meaning “she who cleaves”, was opened by Nancy Silverton. The name refers to the restaurant’s specialty: high-quality butchered meat. The entire restaurant acts as a shrine to meat. Not only that, but Silverton also cooks up the best farm-fresh produce daily. Due to the options for delicious fish dishes and caramelized vegetables, this place is a dream come true for both vegetarians and meat-eaters. Chi SPACCA is open for dinners only, with the exception of one day a month. On the first Saturday of every month, from noon until 2pm, you can order a coveted SPACCA burger. On the regular dinner menu, you can find chi SPACCCA’s beloved salads and meat and fish dishes. Try the stone fruit & burrata salad, bistecca fiortentina 500oz, or the whole branzino alla piastra. For dessert, try the butterscotch budino. Pair your dinner with a bottle from the massive 120-page wine list. The list is carefully divided based on type of wine and Italian region of origin. After ordering, sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm and intimate atmosphere of chi SPACCA. The time will fly as you watch the chef cook in the open kitchen. There are no walls, doors, or partitions of any sort separating the chef’s illustrious kitchen from the dining room. There are even seats right there at the kitchen island. The small 36-seat dining room will grant you a perfect view of the culinary display no matter where you are seated. Check out Netflix’s documentary Chef’s Table to learn more about the restaurant owner and chef, Nancy Silverton.
Rossoblu – The Fashion District
Chef Steve Samson holds his memories of childhood summers with high regard. He spent the summers with his grandparents in Bologna, Italy, unconsciously developing a love of the culinary arts and Italian cuisine. In his adult years, he opened Rossoblu with his wife, Dina, and his dear friend, Hans Luttmann. This Italian restaurant is vibrant, fun, and lively. The wide open interior design and general atmosphere lends to an inviting and cheerful environment. You cannot miss the mural in the dining room – and I mean you literally cannot miss it; the mural is huge! Even more impressive than the mural is the food. The traditionally small menu offers a variety of Italian dishes. I recommend the 24-month San Daniele prosciutto + melon, Ilario’s grigliata, and the sweet summer corn risotto. Rossoblu proudly offers a selection of wines from family-owned wineries; take a chance on a lesser-known name and ask for a bottle to accompany your dinner. Besides dinner, Rossoblu also offers an a la carte pickup and delivery menu, including a “7-course experience at home”. My personal favorite part of all of the menus is the clearly listed options on the menu for vegetarians, vegans, and those that eat gluten-free.
Bestia – The Arts District
The Bestia (meaning “beast” in Italian) is owned by two loving “parents”. L.A.-born Genevieve Gergis is the “mother” of the beast, while L.A.-born but raised in Israel Ori Menashe is the “father”. Their beast of a restaurant has a cold and industrial atmosphere, yet warm and whimsical all at once – and yes, I am completely aware that my description is oxymoronic, but it’s true. Gergis and Menashe decorated the Bestia’s industrial foundations with a touch of strength an aggression, intermixed with whimsical tulips and modern chevrons. The décor is contradictive and easily piques a diner’s interests. For dinner, you really must order their roasted marrow bone antipasto; it’s the talk of the town! Then, taste their marinated olives and the salumi, and follow it up with either one of their delicious pizze or the saffron gnocchi (The “parents” must adore this fine ingredient because they named their first child Saffron). For dessert, try the vin dolce chiffon cake. If you order a pasta or secondo, consider also asking for a bottle of wine. The wine list changes daily, so if you are really concerned about which wines they have available, just ask, and they will send you the day’s list. The wine list includes classic famous wineries and up-and-coming new wineries. I recommend being adventurous and trying something less known.
Maccheroni Republic – The Historic Core
Maccheroni Republic is obsessed with discovering the best organic grains available. All of their pastas are made in-house using only the finest grains – sourced from a variety of different grain types grown across California. Taste the goodness and decide for yourself which organic grain is your favorite by ordering the bruschetta di panzanella for a starter, and splitting the maccheroni stellari (star-shaped pasta) and the ravioli di zucca (pumpkin ravioli) between you and your dining partner. Then, while you let it all digest, enjoy an after-dinner cup of coffee; Maccheroni Republic proudly serves Lavazza Coffee, a favorite coffee brand based out of Turin, Italy. Almost as amazing as the food is the atmosphere of the restaurant. Maccheroni Republic is designed like a rustic trattoria. Both the interior dining room and the outdoor patio is cozy and homey. The restaurant accepts no reservations and they do not keep their bar fully stocked for every alcoholic cocktail imaginable; it’s very casual with a chill and laid-back attitude. You are able to dine on the most scrumptious food without the hoity-toity attitudes of elegant fine-dining establishments. Even better than the casual atmosphere are the reasonable prices! Delicious food for a fair price is always something to get excited about. Before you leave, be sure to ask about their fresh pastas and sauces available for purchase to take home with you.
Angelini Osteria – Fairfax
Angelini Osteria has two locations: this one on Beverly Boulevard, and one in Palisades Village. It was opened in October 2001 by chef and owner Gino Angelini of San Clemente, a town in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. The chef has found fame bringing traditional Italian fare to the US, and also sells his own self-named branded pasta sauces you can find in stores. At his self-named restaurant, you can enjoy pizza from the wood-burning oven every day of the week for both lunch and dinner – however, you may want to try something other than pizza for weekend brunch. I recommend dining on some more unique dishes that represent the chef’s Italian heritage. Try the prosciutto di parma & melone, house-made spaghetti chitarra (pasta with black truffles), lasagna verde ‘Nonna Elvira’, grilled swordfish, and finish with the gluten free chocolate caprese cake and some profiteroles. Go with a group and share the delicious and authentic Italian recipes together. Due to the fresh, clean, and otherwise uninteresting interior of the restaurant, you can easily put all your focus on the meal and on the table company. This restaurant is perfect for satisfying your Italian food craving and spending quality time with friends and family you have not seen for a while.
Drago Centro – The Financial District
As the only restaurant on this list that is not present on the coveted Michelin guide list, it may seem less prestigious than the others. Don’t be confused; this restaurant still cooks amazing meals that will make your mouth water, just like the others. Drago Centro and its executive chef, Celestino Drago, serves up authentic Sicilian cuisine. The restaurant has a unique indoor atmosphere and décor. It has an impressive and absolutely eye-catching wine display that is not to be missed. Drago Centro also has an open kitchen layout, a dining patio, three private dining rooms, and even a demonstration kitchen built into what used to be the vault of City National Bank. Fitting with Sicilian cuisine, try the seafood on the dinner menu. I suggest ordering the polpo e cuscus trapanese (octopus and seafood couscous); tagliolini con aragosta, limone e pepperoncino (lobster pasta); capesante in brodetto con funghi e piselli (sautéed scallops with mushrooms and peas); and the most famous Sicilian dessert: a cannolo! On another day, I highly recommend coming back just for the bar and bar food. Do yourself a favor and grab a venitian spritz and order my favorite treat from Sicily – the arancini (crispy rice balls with a mozzarella filling). Nothing satisfies a hungry stomach quite like a plate of arancini. Trust me, and enjoy!
BRERA Ristorante – The Arts District
Chef Angelo Auriana and Matteo Ferdinandi run BRERA Ristorante, a pan-Italian restaurant that serves cuisines from every region of Italy. You can enjoy your pasta or pizza while appreciating the open ceiling and exposed brick of the restaurant, as well as its additional modern decorations that bring the rustic framework to life. BRERA Ristorante is proud to announce they were ranked number 43 in the “50 Best Italian Restaurants in the World”. Find out for yourself why they are one of the best in the world by taste-testing the donzelle starter from the Tuscan region, the wood-fired pizza bufalina from Campania, and the cacio e pepe tradizionale pasta from Lazio. Enjoy the trip across the entire country of Italy that BRERA Ristorante provides, all in one sitting.
The Factory Kitchen – The Arts District
Since 2013, executive chef Angelo Auriana has been serving northern Italian food to the Arts District of L.A. Specifically, he cooks traditional recipes from the region of Liguria. This restaurant is generally uninteresting to the eye, filled with concrete, tile, and busy diners looking for a good meal. There is absolutely nothing formal about this place – except of the gourmet level food. Everybody is raving about the prosciutto appetizer at The Factory Kitchen. Please, also try the frittura (fried leeks) and one of their focaccine (traditional Ligurian bread). You can never go wrong with any of their pastas, but their ravioli dishes draw a lot of attention. Another fan-favorite is their porchetta (pork belly). Try to save room for their pane (bread pudding), and finish your meal with a post-dinner drink, like grappa or amaro.
Alimento – Silver Lake
Zack Pollack opened Alimento in 2014. He follows the fundamentals of Italian tradition, but takes all the liberties his heart desires; in other words, he loosely follows traditional Italian recipes to create something new, fresh, and exciting in his kitchen. His contemporary Italian dishes are served in a dining room that is both old and new. It is decorated with repurposed materials all while still matching the neighborhood’s mid-century vibe. Alimento has a uniquely formatted menu, separating all the dishes into the categories of “small”, “medium”, “pasta”, and “platter”. Even I don’t fully understand what that means, so just try one from each section: order the crispy polenta tortines, white bean & emmer zuppa, tortellini en brodo ‘al contrario’, and the whole grilled orata. Pair your meal with a bottle of wine from an organic small-production winery, featured on the restaurant’s unique wine list. If you liked your wine, and are a resident of California, consider signing up for Alimento’s wine club! The luxury of fine dining is not lost in Los Angeles, California. Candlelight, crisp white table linens, and an elegant atmosphere await you at most of the above named Italian restaurants in L.A. No matter which restaurant you dine at, you are sure to be greeted with the rich smell of roasting tomatoes and fresh olive oil. Feast your eyes (and your stomach!) on the best Italian food Los Angeles has to offer, and enjoy your meal. Buon Appetito!
A Little Bit of Italy in Los Angeles, California
The luxury of fine dining is not lost in Los Angeles, California. Candlelight, crisp white table linens, and an elegant atmosphere await you at most of the above named Italian restaurants in L.A. No matter which restaurant you dine at, you are sure to be greeted with the rich smell of roasting tomatoes and fresh olive oil. Feast your eyes (and your stomach!) on the best Italian food Los Angeles has to offer, and enjoy your meal. Buon Appetito!