March 03, 2012

Angelini Osteria

7313 Beverly Blvd.

There are many Italian restaurants in LA.
There are many good Italian restaurants in LA.
But my (and Thomas Keller's) fave?
Angelini Osteria.

It's not really a mystery.  Every time I visit (which is not often enough), I am happy and satisfied.  Simply put, Angelini knows what to do, how to do, well.

That said, don't go with too high of expectations.  It is, after all, still just an osteria.  But it still boasts an extensive menu with an equally long "specials" menu.  So what should you get?  Keep reading.

Each table is given a standard complimentary bread basket (or two).  The thin, crisp flatbread is strangely addictive, but don't fill up on bread!

Great wines, but don't fill up on alcohol either!

Grilled calamari salad with arugula, fennel, and pomegranate seeds - $16

Polipo Octopus with cherry tomatoes and arugula - $18

For our antipasti, we started with two different cephalopods.  The squid and octopus are similar, but their differences in physical characteristics is evident in the texture of their meat.

Of the two, I enjoyed the calamari (squid) more -- more tender and the flavors of the fennel and pomegranate seeds tossed in a light vinaigrette made for a more lighter dish.  The octopus was chewier and marinated/ grilled in more earthy and spicy flavors.  Both are very different in flavor and presentation.

Uni (Sea Urchin) Linguini
I'm no pasta expert, but it doesn't take an expert to taste the difference between dried, packaged pasta and fresh, homemade pasta.  Angelini won't fail you.

I've never had uni on pasta so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the fresh uni (from Santa Barbara) in al dente linguine balanced nicely with the creamy garlic and uni sauce.  There is a subtle taste of uni in every bite.

Bombolotti all’ Amatriciana with Guanciale, San Marzano Tomatoes and Hot Peppers - $16
Bombolotti = like rigatoni pasta but shorter
all' Amatriciana = "in the style of Amatrice"
Guanciale = cured pork cheek with a hint of sweetness
The lush tomatoes and hot pepper combined creates a delicious sauce.  Put it all together and you have a delicious dish.

Risotto with Mixed Seafood Ragu - $22
The seafood to risotto ratio is great, but the risotto is cooked al dente so if you like your risotto fluffier, you may think it's undercooked.

Lasagna Verde "Omaggio Nonna Elvira" with Beef and Veal Ragu - $16

Let's be honest.  Sure, I was craving Italian, but the sole reason I dragged my special ahjumma friends to Angelini was to gobble up what they are arguably best known for: their "green lasagna."

Friends, I dream about this lasagna.  I dream about the rich veal and beef ragu dancing in the bechamel cheese sauce and snuggling in between layers of green pasta. The fried spinach at the top adds a light crunch while the rest of the dish just melts in your mouth.  It's flavorful, it's heavy, it's delicious.  It's comfort food defined.  Love!

View Larger Map

Angelini Osteria on Urbanspoon

cuisine: Italian
location: elusive area between Beverly Hills and Hancock Park
hours: Closed Mondays;
           Lunch: T-F: noon-2:30 PM
           Dinner: T-F: 5:30-10:30 PM; Sat-Sun: 5:00 - 10:30 PM
websites: { AO | yelp }
attire: Casual
parking: street or valet ($5)
notes: Call to make reservations.
other reviews: { kevinEats | effingdericious | darindines }