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Madeo Ristorante

  • Restaurants
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  1. Madeo veal milanese
    Photograph: Courtesy Andrew MacPherson
  2. Madeo at 1 Hotel exterior
    Photograph: Time Out/Patricia Kelly Yeo
  3. Lobster spaghetti Madeo
    Photograph: Courtesy Andrew MacPherson
  4. Madeo table
    Photographer: Courtesy Bill Bennett
  5. Madeo millefoglie dessert
    Photograph: Courtesy Andrew MacPherson
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

This erstwhile '90s industry joint now has a new home in West Hollywood—and still serves the same mediocre, overpriced Italian cuisine with a side of snobbery.

As a Zillennial critic (of sorts), I’m aware that my dining knowledge is constrained by relative inexperience and an inability to time travel. Classics like Musso and Frank’s and Spago have offered me important—but limited—insight into the history of L.A. dining, but understanding the essence of what made a given restaurant relevant 20 or 30 ago is largely beyond me. No place in existence puzzles me more than Madeo, a 36-year-old Italian stalwart now located at 1 Hotel West Hollywood. With mediocre food and stuck-up hosts, the fact that the onetime Hollywood power lunch spot once captured the heart of L.A. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila speaks volumes to the growth and diversification of the city’s dining scene in the last two decades. Today, Madeo is one of the worst Italian restaurants at its extravagant price point—and a generally mediocre one overall.

Open in some form since 1986, the enduring family-run West Hollywood ristorante is proof that money can’t buy good taste. Attached to the urban luxury hotel, the pretentious atmosphere at Madeo falls somewhere between mildly anachronistic and downright geriatric. As restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, Ruth Reichl called its dinner dishes "uneven" early on and steered diners towards the wood-fired entrées. I would second this advice today, but when a meal for two at the new Madeo runs about $300 and better antipasti, pasta and grilled meat can be found for the same price (or less) at Bestia, Antico Nuovo or literally any Nancy Silverton or Evan Funke restaurant, there’s simply no room in anyone's budget in 2022 for outdated Italian mediocrity.

Despite the old-school nonno charms of patriarch Alfio Vietina, who still wanders from table to table, Madeo has far too many flaws at its price point: expensive and humdrum fare, frustrating phone-only reservations and snooty front-of-house staff. Both reservationists and hosts alike were rude and standoffish on both my visits; I was once hung up on for taking too long to pull up my phone calendar. In person, another host quoted an hour-long wait for a spot at the bar—where walk-ins are usually accommodated—while the majority of the restaurant sat empty at opening time. (My guest and I were promptly seated when I asked for a table, but no one offered this; I had to ask.)

Once seated, servers are amicable and traditionally trained, but the staid white tablecloth ambience feels out of place amid all 1 Hotel’s ultra-modern sleekness. On the patio, the complex’s breathtaking city views are mostly obscured for seated diners, who instead get front-row seats to the valet circus and a passageway of twinkling trees that visitors constantly use for photo-ops. Inside or out, the overall effect is clunky, just like the actual northern Italian fare itself. Though solid and faithfully executed, every overpriced dish tastes merely rote; even the restaurant’s signature veal milanese and penne pomodoro failed to inspire the slightest amount of delight. While the food at Madeo isn't bad, per se, the menu prices here transform merely passable dishes into an infuriating use of discretionary income. The desserts are even more forgettable.

In short: Don't waste your time or money on Madeo—there's plenty of better sit-down restaurants for pizza (Mozza, Bianco), pasta (Bestia, Antico Nuovo), wood-fired meat (Chi Spacca, Rossoblu) and even a few spots with the same warm, old-school feel at far more affordable price points (Angelini Osteria, anyone?). 

The vibe: Stuffy and formal, Madeo’s white tablecloth atmosphere feels out of place in the sleek 1 Hotel West Hollywood complex.

The food: Expensive, straightforwardly mediocre northern Italian cuisine. There are no highlights, but you can’t go wrong with the crispy veal milanese or penne Madeo. The bolognese isn’t bad either.

The drink: Overpriced wines by the glass, a large and unexciting predominantly French, Italian and Californian bottle collection, plus a full bar. 

Time Out tip: Don’t come here; Madeo also lacks the star power of other mediocre Italian celebrity hotspots like Rihanna favorite Giorgio Baldi, despite (or perhaps because of) once being namechecked by Drake.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo

Details

Address:
8490 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood
90069
Price:
$$$$
Opening hours:
Tues–Sun 6–11pm
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