Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s Arts District spot sets the standard for what dining out can mean in Los Angeles: perfectly crafted cocktails and a condensed selection of great, lesser-known wines meet not-too-fussy plates that wow in a setting that’s cool and casual but not too relaxed. The house-cured salumi is a reason alone to visit, but the open kitchen nails preparations from light (house salad and crudo are a balance in flavors) to soul-satisfying (everything that comes out of the wood-burning oven and the outstanding pastas). Highlights include braised beef cheek-filled agnolotti and spaghetti rustichella, pomodoro sauced with buttery uni or crab.
For a city supposedly full of gluten-sensitive diners, L.A. has far more than its fair share of Italian restaurants. Dizzying in scope, the city’s Italian dining scene offers pizza, pasta, antipasti, grilled meats and gelato in every subgenre of the cuisine under the sun, with more than a few hyper-regional spots, pasta or pizza specialists and Americanized red sauce joints to keep any carb lover happy for awhile, if not forever. And while there’s excellent Italian food in just about every part of L.A., certain spots really take the cake—er, cannoli, as it were. Worth traveling out of your way for, these 20 Italian restaurants in Los Angeles go above and beyond your average neighborhood trattoria when it comes to food quality, ambience and service. Buon appetito!