- Zach Liporace
Many LA restaurants are completely restructuring Italian food for more modern tastes. But this is not Italian cuisine that employs molecular gastronomy or deconstructed versions of your favorite classics — it is simply a flavor profile that include ingredients not typically found in the ancient farms of Italy. We take a look at the best places to find Italian food with a twist in LA.
Chef Ori Menashe helped put a previously dingy stretch of abandoned warehouses in the Arts District back on the map with his fun new restaurant Bestia (meaning ‘beast’ in Italian). Teamed up with his wife/pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, the menu is unmistakably Italian and yet unabashedly different from any Italian place you have visited. Guests should order a veal tonnato — a very classic Tuscan primo — to begin their meal. Agnolotti makes a great pasta course, and be sure to add in some charred chicken gizzards with arugula and sardo for a ‘salad.’ This is a perfect meal at the buzzy, beautiful Bestia in Downtown LA. At Bestia, chef Ori Menashe takes the simplicity of the dish, chops it up and serves it, in its entirety, on a piece of gloriously wood-fired crostino. It might not look Italian, but it certainly elicits flavors inherent to springtime in Florence.
Bestia, 2121 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA, USA, + 213 514 5724
Late in 1997, Chef Gino Angelini reinvigorated LA’s stale Italian cuisine with the emergence of Vincenti– a quiet Italian osteria in the heart of Brentwood. Patrons marveled at his traditionalism and what seemed to be modern takes on Italian-American classics. Few knew however, that Angelini wasn’t updating Italian-American cuisine — he was cooking fiercely Italian food, and thus updating our American palates. Try Vincenti for classic Italian cuisine with a unique, gourmet twist.
Vincenti, 11930 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA,+1 310-207-0127
Chef Gino Angelini’s Angelini Osteria, wows diners with lasagne verdi, beautifully cooked spinach pasta with luscious beef and veal ragu, and crispy fried spinach on top. This was not anything new to diners who knew the chef – he poured his heart and soul into the dishes hailing from his home region of Emilia Romana. Like every other region of Italy, inhabitants will tell you it has the richest food history in the country. Cooking such faithfully Italian dishes did not prepare LA for what was to come, a modern revolution so prolific it runs from Downtown to Venice, hitting every neighborhood in between.
Angelini Osteria, 7313 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323-297-0070
Superba Snack Bar
Easy, breezy and delicious, this Rose Ave. Venice Superba Snack Bar uses its environment as inspiration for some of the loosest and most relaxed interpretations on Italian fare in the city. For example, Chef Sydney C. Hunter III smokes his bucatini before boiling it. Must try dishes include the smoked Bucatini Carbonara, Fried Chicken Thighs with Red Wine Vinegar, Cauliflower T-Bone.
Superba Snack Bar, 533 Rose Ave, Venice, CA, USA, +1 310 907 5075
This modern Silverlake trattoria is a welcome addition to the bustling neighborhood. With mind-bending dishes such as their now famous ‘pig in a blanket’ and tortellini in brodo (his version of soup dumplings), chef Zach Pollack is uplifting Italian fare by using global influences at Alimento. Excellent options include Pig in a Blanket, Tortellini in Brodo, and Yellowtail Collar
Alimento, 1710 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA,+1 323 928 2888