The Top New Italian Restaurants in LA, 2017 Edition
It's been a great year for Italian food, and these are some of LA's best new Italian restaurants that we've tried in 2017.
Updated on December 31, 2017
We expected 2017 to be a great year for Italian food in Los Angeles, and—ahem—we were right.
Eataly LA opened, to begin with, and these are the best dishes you should have over there. But even leaving aside the massive Italian food megastore, with its fantastic cheese counter and praise-worthy panigacci, Los Angeles has become a real Italian food destination over the past year, thanks to some great new restaurants. The followings are some of LA’s best new Italian restaurants that we’ve tried in 2017.
If you’re hungry for more, stay tuned in 2018, as we will cover another round of Italian restaurant openings. Luigi al Teatro, a seafood-centric restaurant under the same ownership of Osteria Venice West will open in early January. If you know Pasta Sisters, a small, fresh pasta operation in Mid-City, you’ll be happy to know that they will soon open a proper restaurant in Culver City. And, speaking of pasta, the Prince of Venice Food Truck will launch its first brick-and-mortar location in 2018.
The best new Italian restaurants in LA, 2017
It’s always hard to pick favorites, especially in a year that has seen lots of exciting restaurant openings. Food critic Besha Rodell went as far as to call it “the most Italian year L.A. has ever seen”. In no particular order, these are some great Italian restaurants that opened in the Los Angeles area in 2017. What were your favorites? Tell us in the comments.
Estrella, West Hollywood
This is not exactly a new restaurant, but more like a re-opening, and it’s definitely a very interesting one. Back in July, Estrella started its new, Italian course under Chef Mirko Paderno. Paderno used to work at Officine Brera, the huge, industrial-looking Italian restaurant in the Downtown Arts District known for its risotto alla milanese with ossobuco.
At Estrella, the Milanese chef is making once again his famous risotto, although the menu changes daily, so you won’t know exactly what kind of risotto you’ll have. Other menu highlights include gnocchi with quail ragù ad pizzoccheri, a type of flat buckwheat pasta, served with green cabbage, potatoes, butter, and cheese. Read our full review of Estrella here.
You may not think of the Sunset Strip as a destination for fancy Northern Italian food but, guess what, now you should.
Estrella: 8800 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
You’ve probably heard of Evan Funke. His short-lived Culver City restaurant, Bucato, was a destination for pasta-lovers. As the chef of the Felix Trattoria on Abbot Kinney, part of Toronto-based restaurant group Gusto 54, Funke returned to delight our taste buds with hand-rolled trofie and tonnarelli.
In less than a year, Felix has received plenty of accolades and awards. LA’s most famous food critic, Jonathan Gold, did have issues with some of the pasta, al dente almost to the point of being undercooked. But pretty much everyone else – including us at Foodiamo – he agrees you’ll have one of your best pasta experiences in town.
RELATED: 7 Dishes You Should Get at Felix Trattoria
If you find the capunti with a sausage and broccoli sauce (pictured above), topped with grated pecorino, go for it. The focaccia is heavenly fluffy and the pizza is solid, too. However, keep in mind that pasta dishes are priced at $20 and above. So if your wallet or your diet allow only for one serving of carbs, stick to the pasta.
Felix Trattoria, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Uovo, Santa Monica
From the founders of the sushi chain Sugarfish comes Uovo, a new pasta bar in downtown Santa Monica. The restaurant is dedicated to fresh, egg-based pasta – think tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagna, tonnarelli (kind of thick spaghetti) and the like. What makes Uovo pasta different from the slew of handmade pasta options that has (thankfully) taken over Los Angeles lately, is that it’s hand-made and hand-cut in Bologna, Italy, then shipped to the US. The special red egg yolks used over there, alas, cannot be found on this side of the ocean.
No appetizers, no meats, no dessert. Instead, Uovo goes straight to the point: ravioli stuffed with meat or ricotta, cacio e pepe, all’amatriciana, tortellini in brodo or tossed with a Parmigiano Reggiano creamy sauce…
The no-frills, straight-to-the-point approach makes Uovo perfect for when you’re looking for a quick meal, without compromising on quality. The food itself has received mixed reviews. Jonathan Gold loved the tonnarelli all’amatriciana, saying it might be “the best amatriciana in town at the moment.” Infatuation LA, instead, found it to be “pretty mediocre. None of the pasta is bad, but nothing is memorable either.” We side with J. Gold on this one.
Uovo: 1320 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA
Rossoblu, Downtown LA
Steve Samson’s new restaurant is a big part of LA’s Italian food renaissance. Think of it as a homage to the indulgent cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, the region where Samson’s nonni are from, and where the chef spent (and still spends) many summers.
RELATED: An Interview with Steve Samson of Sotto
The salumi board, a combination of cured in-house and imported cold cuts, features fantastic pancetta and dangerously addictive puffs of fried dough called crescentine.
Among the many fresh pasta dishes, we’d recommend the Nonna’s Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese. The ragù has a higher meat-to-tomato-sauce ratio than you would expect. The flavors are well-balanced, more delicate than most meat-based pasta sauces in town.
The building itself adds to the dining experience: a startlingly large space inside the City Market South complex, part of the redevelopment currently undergoing in the Downtown Fashion District.
Rossoblu: 1124 San Julian Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA
Just when you thought that San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood couldn’t take another Italian restaurant, Daniele Uditi and his partners, actor Chris O’Donnell, his wife Caroline O’Donnell, and Candace and Charles Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes, opened Pizzana.
Pizzana is an ambitious pizza project that combines the best that Italy (or more precisely, Campania, the region around Naples) and California have to offer. Uditi’s “neo-Neapolitan” pizza is crispier that traditional, Neapolitan-style pizza. It’s still light and totally delicious. The toppings are top-notch. They even import the San Marzano tomatoes from a farm in Italy that grows them specifically for Pizzana.
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But don’t just go for the pizza. Get at least the fried zucchini blossoms, and the fried baby artichokes served with charred, wood-roasted hearts and a lemony sauce. And with a dessert menu curated by Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson, how could you go wrong?
Pizzana: 11712 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Photos by Raffaele Asquer for Foodiamo, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Cover photo: maltagliati with mushroom sauce from Rossoblu. This feature is unsponsored and unsolicited.