The Hot List

The Buzziest Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles

These pastas (and pizzas) are on fire.

12 min read
9/1/2022
Hippo

If Los Angeles does not instantly leap to mind when you’re craving Italian, maybe you’ve been visiting the wrong restaurants. From Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach, LA has some of the most craveable, authentic, and interesting Italian restaurants around — which is why it’s no easy feat to score a reservation at some of the buzzier spots on our list. Check out these 25 restaurants, available on Caviar for home delivery. Italian in LA never tasted so good.

Hippo

In Highland Park, Hippo, which opened in 2018, remains one of the most talked-about Italian spots in LA. James Beard Award–winning chef Matt Molina helms this spot, which offers dishes like fettuccine with heritage pork ragù, grilled chicken thighs with ají panca and griddled potatoes, and celery root triangoli with buttered shallots and chives. A butterscotch budino, topped with caramel sauce and sea salt, is the perfect final note.

Terroni

With two LA locations — one on Beverly that dates back to 2007, and a glossier, larger version that opened in 2013 — Terroni, a chain of Italian restaurants that got its start in Toronto, has a “see and be seen” kind of vibe. But don’t let the buzz discount the food, which is nothing short of delicious. The Maccheroncini Geppetto comes with wilted, slightly bitter dandelion greens as well as homemade spicy sausage, fontina, and a dusting of Parmigiano. Thin, crisp pizzas may make you forget you’re in LA. Order the Beppe Beppino Beppuccio, a white pizza adorned with buffalo mozzarella, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and, yes, more Parm.

Sunday Gravy

Inglewood’s Sunday Gravy, a casual spot dedicated to the art of Italian-American comfort food, has been a hit since it opened in 2019 thanks to its family-focused menu that offers many of its dishes for one or a crowd. Start with the cheesy garlic bread, made on organic Cadoro Bakery ciabatta with butter, garlic, and parsley. The classic spaghetti and meatballs is a classic for a reason. And creamy Alfredo, fortified with Parm, pecorino, butter, and cream, comes atop springy pappardelle. And for dessert? Nancy Silverton’s very own line of gelatos, naturally.

Sunday Gravy

Pizzana

West Hollywood’s buzziest pizzeria, Pizzana, opened in 2017 and the fanfare has not worn off. Chef Daniele Uditi’s pies have developed a cultish following, and it’s not hard to see why. Chewy, slightly charred pies are a work of art. See perfection realized in the Margherita, made with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, Parmigiano, and fresh basil; the spicy Diavola, which is topped with spicy salami, charred shallot, honey, and an ’nduja-walnut romesco; and the pale-but-perfect cacio e pepe pizza, a pie that marries fior di latte, provoloncino di Agerola, Parmigiano crema, and, of course, cracked black pepper.

Jon & Vinny's

With multiple LA locations (and more in the works), this ever-hot pizzeria from the team behind Animal and Petit Trois has mastered the equation of cool food. Pizzas and pastas are all superlative, from the Little Nats pie (pepperoni, caciocavallo, and oregano) to the cavatelli with fennel sausage, cavolo nero, fennel pollen, and breadcrumbs. Add a green to your life with the wood-grilled broccolini topped with golden raisins, almonds, and a fiery chile vinaigrette.

Jon & Vinny's

Etta

Culver City’s Etta opened in 2021, a Chicago expansion that brought to the area buzzy, delicious Italian food. Luscious cacio e pepe, mafaldine in a creamy cheese sauce, is a must-order dish, as is the lumache alla vodka, a slightly spicy sauce served creamy and pink. Eggplant alla Norma comes with tiny, toothsome gnocchetti and a Calabrian chile-inflected pomodoro sauce just hot enough that it will make you pause to think how tasty it all is. But there’s no need to pause before ordering the zucchini cake with chamomile and yogurt whip for dessert.

Etta

Jame Enoteca

Jame Enoteca

Jackson Kalb opened Jame Enoteca in El Segundo in 2018 when he was only 27 years old, earning him furious praise (Food & Wine dubbed him a “pasta prodigy”). Local ingredients are heavily favored, and hand-rolled pastas display Kalb’s expertise. The capellini comes in a 36-hour tomato sauce with basil and Grana Padano, and the hefty, toothsome paccheri in a spicy sausage sugo comes to life with flavors of fennel, sage, and pecorino.

Scopa Italian Roots

Scopa

Venice’s Scopa Italian Roots, opened in 2013, still delivers a trendy, upscale vibe for those who dine in, and reservations are recommended. Foods tread the line between snacky and satiating (don’t skip the eggplant caponata made with celery, capers, and almonds, or the cold seafood salad featuring octopus, shrimp, calamari, chile, garlic, white beans, fennel, parsley, and lemon). The linguine with clams — as well as butter, garlic, white wine, and parsley — is a winner, as is the roasted organic half-chicken served with creamed polenta and a wild mushroom ragù.

Pasta Sisters

The original Pasta Sisters opened in a strip mall in Country Club Park in 2015 (and a Culver City location followed a few years later), and it’s been getting plenty of well-deserved attention ever since. The fresh, housemade pastas at this family-run business are inspired by Northern Italian recipes going back generations and have earned the restaurant praise (including a feature on Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” YouTube series). The arrabiata, prepared spicy, is made with Italian tomatoes, crushed red pepper, garlic, and fresh parsley, and diners can choose the shape of pasta for each dish, with options including fresh pappardelle, fresh tagliatelle, fresh spaghetti, vegan penne, and homemade vegan gnocchi. Try the porcini mushroom sauce, too, made with fresh Italian porcinis, cream, and fresh parsley. For dessert, only the Nutella pie will do.

Alimento

Alimento

In historic Silver Lake, Alimento opened in 2014 to much buzz. It’s died down some, but what hasn’t changed is the fact that this is still one of the best Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. The restaurant serves a cross-section of divine Italian-inspired dishes, from the chicken liver crostone on house-made bread with black plum mostard to the saffron risotto tots with homemade ranch to the radiatori with braised pork shoulder sugo, kale, and fennel pollen. A porcini-dusted tri-tip, meant to be shared, is the pièce de résistance.

The Factory Kitchen

In the Arts District, The Factory Kitchen brings a cool vibe and high-concept Italian food, and crowds have been flocking there since it opened in 2013. Among the restaurant’s many treasures: the modenesi, prosciutto-filled egg pasta nestled in a truffle butter — Parmigiano crema with mortadella and summer black truffle. And the porchetta – rounds of slow-roasted pork belly surrounded by herbs, braised fennel, carrots, red onions, and celery — is a culinary revelation.

Mozza2Go

Mozza2go

In Hancock Park, Mozza2Go will deliver Nancy Silverton and Joe Bastianich’s superlative Los Angeles pies from Pizzeria Mozza — without a doubt one of the best things to happen to Italian food lovers in the area. Meat lovers should seek out the fennel sausage pizza with housemade sausage, a cream base, red onion, and scallions. For dessert, it’s impossible to escape the butterscotch budino, Silverton’s required end-of-meal sweet. The pudding comes with a layer of salted caramel and whipped crème fraîche.

Little Dom's

Little Dom's

Little Dom’s, a restaurant dedicated to delicious, ingredient-forward Italian food, opened in Los Feliz in 2008, and its acclaimed team of chefs continues to turn out a menu of Italian specialties extending far beyond pasta, with delights like the seven-ounce grass-fed Creekstone Farms hanger steak served with a salad of arugula and Grana Padano. Hulking, homemade meatballs come on a toasted French roll smothered in melted provolone. Or, order the puffy-crusted pizza Margherita, a sleeper pick for one of the city’s finer pies.

Speranza

Speranza

Pastas, risottos, and other Italian classics take center stage at this always-packed Silver Lake go-to, where the jet-black linguine con nero di seppia (linguine with baby squid in squid ink sauce) is one of the loveliest dishes on the menu. Also, try the multi-layered lasagna made in the traditional style with both meat sauce and béchamel. Creamy risotto al porcini, studded with the complex Italian mushroom, is never a mistake, nor is a tiramisu to close the evening.

Vincenti

Open in Brentwood since 1997, Vincenti continues to attract the most discerning of Italian food lovers. Expect traditional dishes at this traditional venue, from the restaurant’s homemade orecchiette with housemade sausage ragù and rapini to the spaghetti Bolognese (the sauce is a blend of both beef and pork). It may be decidedly old-school, but the chicken alla cacciatora — braised chicken with cherry tomatoes, potatoes, black olives, and baby onions — continues to delight, all these years later.

Angelini Osteria & Alimentari

Angelini

With restaurants in Beverly Grove and, most recently, Pacific Palisades (the newest location opened in 2021), this much-beloved Italian spot offers an upscale take on Italian cuisine. The tagliolini al limone is a crowd favorite, a house-made pasta in a creamy, bright lemon-Parm sauce. Order the vitello tonnato, wafer-thin veal tenderloin beneath a tuna sauce bedecked with fried capers. Or, take a walk on the richer side — of pasta — with the veal shank agnolotti, pockets filled with osso bucco that are then sheathed in a creamy Parmigiano Reggiano sauce.

Rossoblu

Rossoblu

Downtown LA’s Rossoblu opened in 2017, an industrial space serving anything-but-industrial food. The tortelloni come filled with ricotta and Swiss chard and served in a buttery tomato sugo. Sumptuous grilled sausages are served alongside braised peppers and onions and are the perfect bite leading into larger dishes like pizzas (the salami honey pizza with spicy salami, provolone, Grana Padano, and buckwheat honey is a no-brainer), meats (try the pork tomahawk), and, of course, exceptional pastas.

Fritto Misto

Fritto Miso

Popular restaurant Fritto Misto relocated to Santa Monica in 2020, and the crowds naturally followed. Some buzzy favorites include the Atomic Pasta (Cajun-seared chicken breasts atop New Mexico chile linguine with red, green, and yellow bell peppers), the garlic shrimp in herb brandy cream with black and white pasta, and the artichoke gnocchi with shrimp. A dense flourless chocolate cake, served with whipped cream, is also a best seller.

Forma Restaurant & Cheese Bar

Santa Monica’s Forma opened in 2015 (the popular spot launched a second venue in Venice five years later). At Forma, Italian cheeses and other delicacies are always on display. The restaurant does pasta and traditional Italian well, but the cheese display is truly extraordinary. Try a four-ounce serving of the Moliterno black truffle pecorino, a raw sheep’s milk cheese from Italy with full-flavored earthy notes. Or, dig into the pasteurized Dutch Girl from Holland, a rich and creamy goat cheese with butterscotch-like notes. The international cheese list is stunning, and you can pair it all with a plate of cheesy house-made pasta, like the chitarra cacio e pepe.

Cosa Buona

Cosa

Cosa Buona opened in Echo Park in 2016, and this casual pizzeria is the sister restaurant of Alimento, both from chef-owner Zach Pollack. The low-key vibe belies the quality of the food here. Head directly for the Hawaiiana pie, a symphony of tomato, pineapple, Canadian bacon, onion, jalapeño, and smoked mozzarella for a tasty twist on a classic. The mushroom pie gets added umami from the addition of both cremini and maitake mushrooms.

Colapasta

Opened in Santa Monica in 2019, Colapasta offers an ode to pasta in all shapes and sizes, using the freshest organic ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Standouts include the casunziei, half-moon-shaped red beet ravioli bathed in brown butter and poppy seeds; colonne di Pompeii, or extra-long fusilli, in a spicy arrabiata with burrata; and calamarata, a tubular pasta with traditional tomato sauce, stracciatella cheese, and oregano.

Ospi

This Southern Italian restaurant opened in Venice in 2020, offering pizzas, pastas, and plenty more, and the creative menu continues to draw crowds. The spicy rigatoni in a tomato-based sauce should be at the top of every pasta lover’s list, as should the raschiatelli with spicy pork sugo. Expertly made pizzas really deliver. For something different, try the cacio e pepe, a creamy white pie made with fior di latte mozzarella and single-origin black pepper.

Ospi

Mid-Wilshire’s Met Him At A Bar opened in 2020, a pasta-centric café across the street from sibling restaurant Met Her At A Bar. Dishes are straightforward and tasty. Expect classic but delicious iterations of pastas like spaghetti carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe, Bolognese, and rigatoni in vodka sauce. End things on a sweet note with the lemon glazed donut with a side of ice cream.

Love & Salt

Open since 2014 in Manhattan Beach, Love & Salt brings rustic Italian food “with a California soul” to the foreground, and this is still a relevant spot for Angelenos in the know. You’ll hear raves about the creste di gallo midollo with bone marrow and garlic confit. Among the many artisanal pizzas, the Japanese mushroom version is a cut above. The option to order cocktails and wine to-go here makes it easier to recreate the restaurant experience at home.

Vito

Vito opened its Santa Monica doors in 1980 and has achieved iconic status thanks to its high-quality ingredients, traditional Italian-American dishes, and exceptional, formal service. Order the spaghetti della casa, a plate of spaghetti with chopped shrimp, sautéed shallots, and a sauce made with cognac, cream, and tomato. The creamy fettuccine alla burino is also a standout: pancetta, peas, and mushrooms in a cream and cheese sauce. Appreciators of the classics will also love the vitello al saltimbocca, paper-thin veal sautéed in Marsala and topped with prosciutto.

Vito

Author

Hannah Selinger

Use the code SPOTLIGHT10 for $10 off your first order of $30 or more.