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Rao's Hollywood
Rao's Hollywood is famous for its fluffy meatballs

We love classic Los Angeles Italian joints but have been hankering for a meal at a place that’s not so old that we’re sitting at “Sinatra’s table.” 

May we present: the two new Italians in town. 

Do you like your Italians young and suave? Then there’s the vibrant, young Factory Kitchen. Based in the Arts District (how trendy), this resto has sandblasted concrete columns (how sleek) and serves lighter versions of traditional Italian dishes (how calorie-conscious). We loved the pancotto app (rustic semolina bread topped with sautéed greens and an over-easy duck egg, $9) and a main course of a huge, thin piece of handkerchief pasta folded and drizzled with almond-basil pesto ($19). We’d definitely take our foodie friends to Factory Kitchen. 1300 Factory Pl. #101; 213-996-6000 or

Perhaps you like your Italians older, worldly, distinguished? Then try Rao’s Hollywood, which is like the scion of a good Italian-American family who’s come to Tinseltown to make his fortune. The West Coast outpost of the famed East Harlem spot is larger than the diminutive original, but it still requires a months-in-advance reservation. The classic fare is worth the wait: tender veal parm ($49), spicy bucatini ($25) and rich, fluffy meatballs ($16). We’re taking our husband to Rao’s--a glass of Montepulciano, an oldie on the jukebox and two seats at the no-reservation-required bar. That’s amore. 1006 Seward St., Hollywood; 323-962-7267 or

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