• Nicole Leonetti

Los Angeles Italian Restaurant Guide

Today I want to share with you something that is very near and dear to my heart – Italian food! I am so lucky to live in LA where we have a plethora of fantastic Italian food options (I mean it’s not NYC, but it’s better than most places). I feel like I’ve tried almost every Italian restaurant the City of Angels has to offer, but there are new ones opening every day as well as older hidden gems that I’m still discovering. So, I give to you my current list of favorites. These are great places to check out if you already live in LA or to add to your itinerary if you are planning a trip out West!


Panzanella: I had to include my neighborhood Italian restaurant on the list! Even if you are not a lucky Valley resident, Panzanella’s is worth the trip. It can get busy on the weekends so be sure to make a reservation. I quite enjoy their Burrata and I always order the Pappardelle al Ragu di Cinghiale. It’s delicious! They have a great wine list, as well!




Pura Vita: I am as surprised as you are to see a Vegan restaurant on this list, which should prove to you that this place is special! When my Vegan friends told me there is a must-try Italian restaurant that is 100% Vegan, my curiosity was piqued. Located in West Hollywood, Pura Vita is a tiny gem of a restaurant that is female-owned by the amazing Chef Tara Punzone from Brooklyn, NY. It is the first 100% plant-based, organic Italian restaurant and wine bar in the U.S. Let me just tell you – it is delicious. I am a cheese fiend and their nut cheese options made me a believer! You have to order their Baked Ricotta and then you will understand! Their Caesar Salad is perfect and you must try a few of their pastas. They typically have amazing specials to try, but the Cacio e Pepe made with Cashew Cream was delightful. They also have fantastic wine and the best music playing throughout the restaurant – such a great experience! It’s a tiny place so I definitely recommend making reservations. I cannot wait to go back again soon!


Angelini Osteria: Ahh, I first had the opportunity to dine at Angelini Osteria when I was interviewing for positions in Los Angeles. The last meal of the trip was dinner at this amazing restaurant. I decided right then and there that I would become a regular at Angelini Osteria when I finally moved to LA. While I don’t get to Beverly Blvd as much as I would like for a number of reasons – traffic mostly - I do try to visit this place whenever I get the chance. The service is always so friendly and the food is divine! The menu has so many options that it can be a little overwhelming, but just make sure at least one person at the table orders the Lasagna Verde! I do enjoy all of their pizzas as well as the Roasted Veal Bone Marrow. I always have a good experience at Angelini Osteria and I trust that you will, too!


La Dolce Vita: This will not surprise anyone that knows me when I say that I first walked into La Dolce Vita because I had heard Frank Sinatra was a fan. Any place that Frank loved is good enough for me! It’s a very intimate restaurant in Beverly Hills and I always treasure my time there. They play good music, have hospitable service, and delicious Veal Marsala! Try to request to sit at the Frank Sinatra table – you will feel so much cooler if you do.


Il Segreto: Even though Il Segreto is located in Bel Air (where I do not live), I like to consider it one of my neighborhood restaurants. I just feel comfortable as soon as I walk in the door. Everyone speaks Italian (so I can understand every fiftieth word) and treats you like family. It’s located on the top of Beverly Glen, in the bougiest strip mall you have ever been to. They have all of the usual Italian delicacies and I typically opt for a pasta (of course). I always have to decide between the Vodka Sauce and the Garganelli with Truffles and Sausage. Or, of course - the Cacio e Pepe! They have a nice Italian wine list and I make sure to always save room for Grappa!


Terra: I can do an entire post on Eataly – and probably will someday – but today I just want to highlight how great Terra is. Located on the rooftop of Eataly LA, Terra is a beautiful restaurant with lovely views of Los Angeles. The Italian menu is centered on the wood-burning grill and the food is fantastic! While I’m typically a pasta nut, I always go for the meat at Terra. The Brasato Al Barolo, the Tomahawk Ribeye! Pair either of those with beautiful vegetables such as the Grilled Broccolini with Calabrian Chili Oil and Lemon and/or the Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Prosciutto, and you have the perfect meal!


Little Dom’s: I’ve been going to Little Dom’s since we first moved to LA and I am always excited for a return visit! While it’s a great spot for dinner, I love going for brunch! Whether I’m there for Brunch or Dinner, I always try to order the Rice Balls! They are balls of fried risotto (otherwise known as arancini) that I love! I make my own at home and the ones at Little Dom’s are the closest to mine (which are the best, naturally) of any other restaurants I have tried. For breakfast, I love the Buckwheat Polenta and Fried Egg w/ Calabrese Butter, Braised Greens, and Parmesan….but I always steal a piece of the Breakfast Pizza from whomever orders it! You really must try it! Little Dom’s is located in Los Feliz and has a decidedly hipster vibe that I don’t mind since that usually means you can spot a few celebs while dining there. Also, they have a good deal on sparkling wine by the bottle for brunch so it’s basically my dream brunch destination.


Of course, I know that there are so many more Italian restaurants in Los Angeles and I hope to have the opportunity to dine at all of them at some point. These are my current favorites, however, and I know you will enjoy your time at each of them. Just make sure to have a glass of wine and do as the Italians do and live “La dolce vita”.

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