A good Italian meal consists of four parts: an antipasto, primo piatto, secondo piatto and my favorite, a dolce. Make that five parts–the meal means nothing without some good company and conversation.
To say I’ve been underwhelmed with Italian food in the states is a gross understatement. I haven’t had the mind-blowing, mouth-watering, food-baby inducing, just simply damn good food found in Italy since I said arrivederci to my semester in Florence. So when I found out that fellow foodies with extremely high (read: virtually unfulfillable) expectations for Italian food actually found a restaurant here in LA they rather enjoyed, I KNEW I had to go there. Enter Angelini Osteria, on Beverly a bit west of La Brea.
My cousin Chrissy-who also shares an affinity for tasty eats around our city-joined me on a Thursday night for a cousin catch up date at this petite gem of a restaurant. I made the rez nearly a week in advance, and couldn’t even get an 8:30 time slot. I settled for 8:45, and we weren’t seated until around 9. The place is on the smaller side, reservations are tough (but are a breeze in comparison to Mozza) and from the looks of it, is probably always packed to the brim. Whoever said “the best things in life are worth waiting for” must’ve just eaten at Angelini, because that extra 15 minute wait was beyond worth it. You know you’ve got a good restaurant on your hands when you repeatedly say “this is so good I want to cry.” I can’t even count the times I was nearing tears of joy because of the culinary amazingness on our table.
First up was the antipasto–an Affettati Misti. The plate boasted a variety of cured meats (Mortadella, Prosciutto di Parma, Bresaola and Salame) with a very generous dollop of burrata. The prosciutto melted like butter. Possibly the best prosciutto I’ve had outside my favorite boot-shaped country. Same goes with the burrata. W-O-W. Hands down best burrata. Indescribably creamy and ever so slightly sweet. This dreamy cheese + any of the four meats on the plate = hello deliciousness! I loved the tiny hint at a sweet/savory combo.
We ordered a primo and secondo and split those for our main course. On the left is the Lasagna Verde, highly recommended from the hundreds of yelp reviews. Surprisingly light for a lasagna, the dish was a welcome change to its “heavy on the meat” counterpart. Loved the crispy spinach scattered around the plate. They were sort of like spinach chips, if you will. The plate on the right isn’t found on their regular menu (ironically, there were probably twice as many specials as there were regular menu items). The Farm Raised Liberty Breast of Duck with spinach and aged balsamic vinegar was just OK. In comparison to everything else we had already tasted, it was pretty boring. And bland.
Chrissy and I can be stuffed to the brim with delicious food, but there is always room for dessert. We like to call it our spare dessert stomachs. Did I mention we share pretty awesome genes? Posed with a dilemma of choosing one tasty sounding dessert from the menu, we decided to order…three From left to right we have: Pecorino in Walnut Leaves with Dried Figs and Honey, Torta della Nonna topped with pine nuts and Crostata di Cioccolato, an open faced chocolate torte with coffee cream and hazelnut gelato.
Minus the fact that the Pecorino in Walnut Leaves was lacking the walnut leaves, it was simple and amazing. Pecorino is typically a nuttier cheese, so it complemented the sweet gooey honey and figs.
The Torta della Nonna was so good I nearly shed tears of happiness. I’m a chatty person, but this little cake was so good, I was left with my jaw on the floor and utterly speechless. Literally translated as “grandma’s cake,” this dessert evokes warm and fuzzy feelings and is sort of like a fluffy, lighter version of cheesecake (although even that description doesn’t do it justice…there really isn’t anything else out there like it). It’s obviously a dessert, but it’s not in-your-face sweet. It’s served warm with a scoop of vanilla gelato and topped with pine nuts. Basically heaven on a plate.
Finally, there’s the Crostata di Cioccolato. A crunchy cookie-like chocolate torte served as the “bowl” to a generous scoop of hazelnut gelato. This is the epitome of a rich dessert and after having consumed 2 other desserts (tee hee), the crostata was just a little too rich for me. Which is quite unfortunate, because it was delish.
A $100+ bill just for the two of us means my twenty-something assistant budget needs to recover a bit before heading back (but mark my words, I’ll be a frequent patron here). The fantastic news is I already have my next trip planned. The unofficial International Food Club will be “traveling” to Italy next month
Oh Angelini Osteria, ti amo ♥
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