My daughter was in town during the holidays, from a sprawling town in Little Italy, and many old-school restaurants.
Thinking that she wants a taste of modern Italian cuisine here at SoCal, we went to a hot spot where she offers a watercress salad with blood-orange marinated yellow croutons and smoked almonds. The pasta took Gansial pork to the hand-made tonrelli, and the hand-made tagliolini with the yellow tomatoes. On the side, you can find mushrooms with rosemary, and wagio beef with old perm. There’s a whole menu section dedicated to truffles.
My daughter looked at me and asked, “Doesn’t anyone eat spaghetti and meatballs in Los Angeles?” I suggested Buca di Beppo. And she said she doesn’t know many people in Boca to justify eating out, her industrial-powered pasta is served in stadium-sized sections.
But, of course, there are plenty of options – because despite the modernity of our Italian cuisine, we are still a classic pasta and red sauce city. And in the case of hotspot destinations Rocco’s Tavern (44 W. Green St., Old Pasadena; 626-765-6810, www.roccostavernla.com), Full of old-school chorus surrounded by large screens depicting the game of the moment.
In a way, there is a sports bar version of Rocco’s Buca, which sits one block away on Green Street in Old Pasadena – except for the smaller parts (though not “smaller” than any other part of the imagination!) And many more. Overheads are big screens. Wherever the locals go for a big meal in Baka, they go to Roko to express their joy – who knows what they do.
With branches not only in Pasadena but also in Studio City, Clover City, Westwood and West Hollywood, Roko is the place where you want a good game or sex, as well as old style with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and lotus cheese. Pizza is also included. ; And the five-cheese ravioli-lasagna (yes! The lavender’s layers turned into lasagna with too much cheese and too much sauce!)
For those who have a taste for heavyweight reminiscences, the classic is too much. Chicken Parmigiana is baked in bread, deep fried, marinara, covered with mozzarella and romano, and served with spaghetti marinara on the side. The lingoin is thrown into their shell with the words “backstage” in the short neck – as it should. Eggplant is permanganate. There are sausages, peppers and onions, which are served hot. Here is the pretzel of the soft street of Calamari Freight and Philadelphia.
There’s also a meatball permigiana hero, and another with sausage, pepper and onions. A bite, and you’re on Mulberry Street during the San Ginaro Festival. But without realizing that you are in “Godfather II”.
And yes, there’s Taco, Wings and Beyond Matt Burger. This is 2022. Options required.
On the contrary, on Salvatore Italian Restaurant (125 N. 6th St., Montebello; 323-727-2803, www.salvatorerestaurant.com), It may be 1975, the year this local legend started offering Chicken Picata, Chicken Cactus, Baked Penny and Prawn Scampi.
With its leather booths, pictures of Italy on the walls, cloud-like chandeliers on its ceiling that look old-fashioned in 1975 – and its classic windowless exterior – Salvatore is a restaurant that They just don’t. Don’t make more. Even prices are from earliest times; This is a restaurant where you can eat very well, not at all.
Consider: Nine appetizers range from $ 6 to $ 13. Five and a half combos will cost you $ 13 to $ 15. Most of the nine entries are for teenagers – only the bridled halibut and New York steak cost less than 20. And it includes an aspect of pasta and seasonal vegetables. You want MySteron, that’s $ 3 more. There are 4 more anti-pesto salads or Caesar salads. “We are not a gluten free restaurant,” says the menu. no way! In 1975 there was no gluten free. Why now?
But there were balls filled with ricotta, mozzarella and chopped chicken, and there they were, and drowned with the pink sauce. There was, and still is, lasagna layered with ricotta, mozzarella and meat sauce. Claims, prawn scampi and – yes! – Spaghetti with meatballs. It all tastes like it did now, which is mother’s love.
But again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. I bet bet Cappuccino is new to the truffle dessert menu. And so are many cocktails – margaritas, tequila sabers, seven margaritas. Soul list is long – I counted 12 teaspoons, 12 vodkas, 16 whiskeys, 9 scotches, 27 liqueurs. Then who drank Jagermeister? Really, who drinks now? That, I don’t know. But I know that half-lasagna and ravioli are happy with every bite, gluten ash though it may be.
And speaking of old-school Italian cuisine, please stop me if I’ve told you this before – you know, about my favorite little Italian restaurant in Rome, a place called Tretoria da Luigi in Piazza Sophoresa Cesarini, Not far from Piazza Noona. Don’t you remember me Good, good. So, let me tell you about it.
I first went to Trattoria Da Luigi many years ago, when I was on my honeymoon (don’t ask – it’s a very long story). I entered Rome on Eletalia, sitting in my hotel room, frustrated, wondering how to spend a lonely honeymoon, when the phone rang and a friend in Rome asked me if shall I? Like dinner There is no plan at all, I said confidently.
We took a taxi to a small plaza, which looked like a flea market specializing in folding tables and chairs. The tables and chairs all belonged to an open-air restaurant called Trattoria da Luigi, spread across the plaza, with no poetry or motive. People were sitting at their tables eating carpacks with top prawns and artichokes, gonocchi in Gorgonzola sauce, grilled sardines, spaghetti in tomato sauce – the only basic things you’ll find in the Italian food pantheon.
The food, as far as I can remember, was more wonderful than anything I had ever eaten before, the beauty of Italy on a plate. The wine was flowing, the musicians were chanting, the square was filled with laughter. The bill was almost non-existent. On the other hand, the next day’s hangover was enough. Hangover, thankfully, didn’t take long. Memories definitely do.
Meryl Schindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Email [email protected]