Whether it’s handmade pastas or bubbly crust pizzas, Italian food soothes the soul. LA is home to a number of great restaurants, ranging from the casual red-sauce joint to ones fit for a romantic date night. Not sure where to go? Consider this your guide to the 22 best Italian restaurants in Los Angeles.
The 22 Best Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles to Visit This Year
Felix is one of LA’s most famous pasta destinations. There is a climate-controlled room specifically for hand-making pastas, encased in glass windows so diners can see the action as they arrive. You’re here for the al dente pasta like the classic tonnarelli cacio e pepe, but be sure to start with the ricotta-stuffed squash blossom and the sfincione.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
One of the most famous pizzerias in the city, Pizzeria Mozza never disappoints. Start off with some burratina, which comes with housemade burrata, or the popular Nancy’s chopped salad. For pizzas, there are plenty to choose from, whether it’s something classic and simple like the Margherita and Bianca pizza, or the meat lover’s. One thing to never skip is the now-famous butterscotch budino, topped with caramel sauce, creme fraiche and Maldon sea salt.
641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Chef Angelo Auriana’s silky handkerchief pasta (mandilli di seta) with Ligurian almond pesto is easily one of the best pasta dishes in the city. That alone is worth visiting The Factory Kitchen for, but since you’re here, start your meal at this Arts District restaurant with some prosciutto, served on top of fried sage dough and stracciatella, and finish off with their homemade cannolis.
1300 Factory Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Chef Steve Samson’s Rossoblu is an ode to the summers he spent at his mother’s hometown in Bologna but with a hip, industrial dining room. On a cold night, opt for minestra nel sacco—parmesan dumplings in a chicken and beef broth—that is a traditional dish from Bologna. The pastas are excellent, but don’t skip the rest of the menu. The Ilario’s grigliata (named after the chef’s grandfather), with grilled pork chops and housemade sausage, is great to share, and do get the milk braised pork shoulder when it reappears on the menu.
1124 San Julian St., Los Angeles, CA 90015
5. Chi Spacca
Chi Spacca is a testament that Italian food is a lot more than just pizza and pasta; it is the meat-centric restaurant of the Mozza Restaurant Group. Start on the lighter side with focaccia di recco and grilled octopus, or dive right into the meat with some cured meats. The best way to experience this restaurant is to gather a few people and share the porcini-rubbed short ribs, steaks, and the beef and bone marrow pie.
6610 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Chef Gino Angelini’s classic osteria has been one of LA’s best Italian restaurants for more than 20 years and will likely remain so for a while yet. Angelini Osteria serves traditional dishes with all the flavor and none of the fuss, like the simple-looking baby artichokes in casserole. Don’t miss their most famous dish, the lasagna verde made with spinach pasta and beef and veal ragu.
7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
It’s been a decade, yet Ori Menashe’s Bestia still remains one of the hardest reservations to snag. The salumi selection is always rotating but is never a bad bet. The roasted bone marrow with spinach gnocchetti and the cavatelli alla Norcina keep diners returning again and again. Be sure to save room for dessert, especially the frozen creamsicle torte and the spiced chestnut zeppoles in the aptly named “Coffee & Donuts.”
2121 E 7th St., Los Angeles, CA 90021
The Shay Hotel in Culver City brings in one of Chicago’s most popular Italian restaurants, Etta, while adding in items especially for the LA location. Many items on Etta’s menu are centered around the wood-fired hearth and unsurprisingly, those are the dishes to order. Start with the fire-baked focaccia with honey, ricotta and truffle before moving on to the wood-fired pizzas such as the one topped with merguez sausage.
8801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Sparrow is serving modern coastal Italian food inside Hotel Figueroa in downtown LA that is better than it needed to be. The grilled branzino with marcona almonds is one of the best in the city, and don’t miss the bone marrow agnolotti served with a horseradish barolo reduction. It doesn’t hurt that Sparrow has some Instagrammable—and delicious—cocktails.
939 S. Figueroa St. Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90015
This spacious Venice restaurant comes from one of LA’s most prolific female chefs, Antonia Lofaso, and is consistently packed. The arancini (simply called “rice ball” on the menu) is a giant version filled with meat sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, and the campanelle pasta—most recently served with braised pork shank—hits the spot every time.
2905 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292
11. Jon & Vinny’s
Old school Italian food meets modern diner vibes at Jon & Vinny’s. Obviously, the formula works, since this has become one of LA’s most popular restaurants with three locations around town. The spicy fusilli pasta is famous and worth ordering, as is the El Chaparrito pizza with housemade chorizo. If you’re out early, Jon & Vinny’s also does a standout breakfast.
It started as a deli and wine bar, but this Santa Monica spot has grown into a full-fledged Italian restaurant. Heroic still serves their deli sandwiches, including the signature OMG sandwich, but stop in for the expanded dinner menu for the cioppino that takes 24 hours to prepare and served with fresh Santa Barbara seafood, handmade lobster ravioli in sherry bisque, and the impressive bone-in veal parmesan.
516 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401
Naples’ most famous pizzeria brought its Neapolitan-style pizza to Hollywood a few years ago, complete with one of the best patios in the city. Whether you stick with the classic margherita or opt for the Caserta, topped with Italian sausages and Calabrian chili, the pizzas are a must. The gnocco fritto—fried dough stuffed with burrata and prosciutto—is a crowd-pleasing starter.
1534 N. McCadden Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Cento was once a popular lunch-only pasta pop-up in the downtown area, but the brand has since landed a brick and mortar location with a charming patio in West Adams. The menu rotates frequently, but if you see the spicy pomodoro topped with ricotta and basil—and the rack of lamb—be sure to order them. Do save room for the banana tiramisu, which comes with a fun tableside presentation.
4921 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016
15. Sunday Gravy
Sometimes an old-fashioned red sauce dish is the comfort food you’re looking for, and Sunday Gravy serves up exactly that, served with fresh pasta from a local purveyor and better quality produce. The neighborhood spot keeps portions generous and prices affordable. Each weekend they serve a different lasagna; be sure to order one if they’re not yet sold out. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong starting off with cheesy garlic bread and any of their pastas.
1122 Centinela Ave., Inglewood, CA 90302
Sunday Gravy does not take reservations.
The newly opened Grandmaster Recorders took over an old recording studio in Hollywood’s Vinyl District and it’s already making its mark in the LA dining scene with its opulent dishes. Some of the menus rotate with the season, but there are mainstays that are must-orders including the caviar cannoli and the insalata di pesce made with raw tuna, pickled persimmon, and caviar.
1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
17. Antico Nuovo
Chef Chad Colby worked for many years for the Mozza Restaurant Group before striking out on his own, so he knows his way around Italian food. The focaccia is a must order, and it can be paired with whipped ricotta or bottarga. The agnolotti-like plin dell’ alta langa is one of the hits from the pasta menu, but one of the main draws of Antico Nuovo is the freshly spun ice cream, which is definitely one of the best ice creams anywhere.
4653 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 9004
Oste specializes in pinsa, a Romanian flatbread with an airy and crispy texture. We dare say it’s better than pizza, and it’s not just because it’s lower calories. There are a dozen options for pinsa toppings, from the vegetarian-friendly wild mushrooms to mortadella, but save room for some burrata al pesto, served atop English peas, fava beans and mint.
8142 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Mozza-alum chef Matt Molina’s Hippo brings contemporary Italian food fused with LA’s global flavors. Yes, there is the more traditionally Italian tagliolini with duck ragu, or the cappellacci that changes with the season, but beyond the pasta there is also the South American influenced grilled chicken thighs with aji panca.
5916 ½ N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042
Union is easily one of the best restaurants in Pasadena, and one worth making the trip from other neighborhoods to visit. There isn’t a bad dish on the menu, but among the standouts are the wild mushrooms on polenta with truffle butter, the perfectly cooked octopus, and the handmade squid ink lumache pasta tossed with lobster and fennel.
37 Union St., Pasadena, CA 91103
The spot for cheese lovers, Forma is known for their “dalla forma” pastas, where the pasta is finished in a large wheel of cheese right before being served. They offer various options for dalla forma, including spaghetti cacio e pepe finished in a wheel of Pecorino Romano, fettuccine bolognese finished in a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and more. The treats for fromage lovers don’t stop there—Forma also has a cheese bar with dozens of choices from around the world.
Uovo brings in fresh pastas that are handmade in their kitchen in Bologna, Italy, which are flown overnight to LA—they believe the eggs and talent in Italy are crucial to make top-quality noodles. Despite all the overnighting, Uovo manages to keep their prices affordable, and they may well serve some of the best pastas in town. It’s hard to go wrong with any of them, but one of the most well acclaimed is the tonnarelli all’Amatriciana, made with Italian tomatoes and crispy guanciale.
Uovo does not take reservations.