Los Angeles—the rising food star city of America—has so many truly excellent Italian eateries that it was beyond difficult to pick just five, so we need to give shout-outs to the eateries that almost made our list, including Steve Samson’s Sotto, the Arts District jewel The Factory Kitchen, old-school favorite Valentino, Pasadena’s Union and Scopa Italian Roots.
We hate to be cheesy (or do we?) but the fare at Bestia—as prepared by co-owners and husband and wife team of Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis—tastes like it's made with love... and it shows in the sublime menu. Their multi-regional rustic Italian restaurant in DTLA focuses on a “from scratch” approach, offering house-made charcuterie, in addition to handmade pastas and pizza made in an Acunto oven. On the pastry side, Gergis’s desserts focus on a clean and simple approach to create a daily changing menu that is centered on the freshest, most local ingredients possible. The Margherita pizza with San marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and a hint of sea salt is sublime.
2121 E 7th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90021
2 Jon & Vinny's
You've got to love Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, not only for how they're revolutionizing the L.A. dining scene, but how they keep it real at each of their many Los Angeles eateries. Jon & Vinny's, like its name, is as authentic and unpretentious as you can possibly get, while still being absolutely delicious. The food feels like something your grandma might make in the best way possible, from linguine and clams with crushed garlic to mozzarella sticks dipped in decadent Pomodoro sauce to perfect pizzas like the Ham & Yeezy—ham, vodka sauce, red onion, caciocavallo, smoked mozzarella and pickled Fresno chilies—named after frequent visitor Kanye West. Yep, he, like everyone else in L.A., loves Jon & Vinny's too.
412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
3 Angelini Osteria
Chef and owner Gino Angelini was born in San Clemente, slightly inland from the seaside city of Rimini in Italy’s richest food region, Emilia Romagna. He has devoted his life to food and its preparation and it shows in his Angelini Osteria (and osteria being an Italian spot where anyone and everyone could come together harmoniously around a table, with a pack of playing cards and a carafe of wine). Angelini's rustic preparations have earned him several awards, and while his meat, chicken and fish dishes are excellent, we live and breathe by his pasta. Try the tortelli di zucca, house made pumpkin squash stuffed tortelli with butter and sage; spaghetti Mancini alla Norma—eggplant, tomato, basil and dried ricotta; Trofie alla Riviera— house made short spiral pasta with shrimp, cherry tomatoes and spinach; and lasagna verde omaggio nonna Elvira—spinach pasta with besciamella, beef and veal ragu. Noms.
7313 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
4 Osteria Mozza
Talk about a pedigree: Osteria Mozza is the brainchild of Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton (a recent James Beard winner and one of the ruling culinary queens of Los Angeles). The centerpiece of Osteria Mozza sets the tone for the fare you're about to enjoy—a white Carrara marble Mozzarella Bar where Silverton composes a long list of small dishes featuring fresh imported mozzarella as well as ricotta and cream-filled burrata. It's luxe Italian food at its finest.
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
We love the creative soul food of Alimento (hello, those are target words for anyone or anything located in Silver Lake, no?). Zach Pollack's amazing eatery draws inspiration from Italy's regional traditions while not adhering too strictly to them, showcasing carefully sourced ingredients from local artisans and growers on his menu of small plates, pastas, and large platters designed for sharing. A must try dish: the squid ink strozzapretti with seppia, wild fennel and chili.
1710 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026