The Best Restaurants To Eat Italian Food Outside
Neapolitan-style pizzas, braised pork sugo, and more.
When you think of LA, your first thoughts probably don’t include pasta, red sauce, or giant wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano. But ask anyone who’s spent any significant time here - Los Angeles knows how to do Italian food. From rich and savory braised pork sugo radiatori, Roman-style pinsa flatbreads, and just big ol’ chicken parm - you’ll find it all here on The Best Restaurants To Eat Italian Food Outside.
The intimate Silver Lake spot is back open with their excellent handmade pastas like braised pork sugo radiatori (a certified LA classic), a rich and hearty fusilli topped with clams and smoked butter, and one of the best chicken liver crostones in town. The low-key sidewalk cafe hasn’t changed much in quarantine, but now offers more space between tables and has expanded in front of neighboring storefronts. Reservations can be made here.
For well over a decade, Angelini Osteria has been serving some of the best old-school Italian dishes in the city. They’ve transformed their Beverly Blvd. sidewalk into a spacious outdoor patio, outfitted with tents, string lights, and just the right amount of astroturf. It’s the perfect setting for packing your table with linguine with sea urchin, pan-seared scallops, and a veal shank agnolotti that tastes like luxurious silk pillows filled with meat. Reservations can be made here.
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It’s hard to argue that there’s been a more game-changing, neighborhood-altering restaurant than this upscale Arts District spot. Especially when you consider their stellar lineup of spicy sausage pizzas, spaghetti covered in a mountain crab, citrus, and Thai basil, and the pièce de résistance - the cavatelli alla norcina, a beautiful dish of supple ricotta dumplings, black truffles, and housemade sausage. Their recently reopened patio is now available for reservations, and will have limited-capacity seating with lots of space for social distancing.
photo credit: Matt Gendal
We’re not going to lie - part of our soul was healed when Dan Tana’s announced their reopening. But then they debuted their massive wrap-around patio, and our excitement reached stratospheric levels. With astroturf, umbrellas, and string lighting, it’s certainly a different energy than its old-school interior. But as far as being socially distant is concerned, it’s an incredible option. Besides, after a few rounds of martinis and chicken parm, no one will know the difference anyway.
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They take their craft very seriously at this Abbot Kinney spot, which is why they’ve retained their title as one of LA’s Most Important Pasta Restaurants (LAMIPR, for anyone who cares). The rigatoni arrives as a very good amatriciana, and the cacio e pepe has become the stuff of Westside carbohydrate legend. And while the pasta is the main event here, you definitely need to get involved with the starters, especially the insanely good meatballs and their excellent focaccia. Felix has taken their pasta operations al fresco, with an outdoor seating area filled with candlelight, large wooden tables, and lots of afroturf. Reservations can be made here.
Forma is a restaurant worth popping your Lactaid for. The name of the game here is dalla forma, or cheese wheel - a unique preparation where freshly cooked pasta is tossed around and finished in a giant wheel of pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano. Both the Santa Monica and Venice locations of this neighborhood spot have reopened for lunch and dinner, expect beautiful canopies overhead, sun-filled patios, and a socially-distant cheese bar. Book a reservation here.
With gorgeous white-cloths on astroturf, abundant heat lamps at every table, and more greenery overhead than a botanical garden, Giorgio Baldi might just have one of the most romantic patios in the city. This LA classic is where you go to overhear Jane Fonda and Gwyneth Paltrow talk about school districts while dining on old-school versions of sliced artichoke hearts, soft burrata topped with pesto and roasted tomatoes, and their signature sweet corn agnolotti - a white truffle-adorned dish that’s almost as famous as their clientele. Call (310) 573-1660 to place a reservation.
This cozy neighborhood restaurant is one of our favorite date spots in Highland Park, and has all of the pork ragu, butternut squash cappellacci, and Old Fashioneds made with spiced pear and walnut a person could ever want. They’ve reopened their spacious back patio, so expect lots of great wine, affordable Italian dishes, and plenty of heat lamps. Reservations are highly encouraged.
This old-school Beverly Hills restaurant is now open for patio dining, complete with a patio filled with lush trees, Roman columns, chandeliers and white tablecloths. Focus on the polpette, bucatini all’Amatriciana, chicken milanese, and lots of focaccia. Reservations can be made here.
Jame Enoteca might be our favorite place to eat pasta in the South Bay. Have we been known to offer a friend a ride to the airport, just so we could swing by here and devour their silky, handmade mandilli pasta afterwards in the car? More times than we can count. This El Segundo strip mall spot has a covered patio where you can socially distance to drink some California reds alongside Caesar salads flavored with Calabrian chilies, crispy braised pork shank in lambrusco-mustard sauce, and some truly excellent pasta. Reservations can be made here.
Love & Salt
Love & Salt, Manhattan Beach’s most reliable Italian spot, has transformed the sidewalk in front of their restaurant into a charming al fresco dining experience. There are ocean views on the horizon, ample space between tables, and the kind of pleasant atmosphere that only comes from being around people who get enough Vitamin D. The menu is filled with dishes like duck egg pizzas, rigatoni that comes with a slow-braised lamb ragu, and English muffins so good you should eat them right at dinner. Reservations can be made here.
One of the newer spots on this list (and one our favorites in the city right now), Oste provides a welcomed alternative to the many wood-fired and Detroit-style pizza shops popping up around town. This new Beverly Grove spot specializes in pinsa, a Roman-style flatbread that’s unlike anything you can really find in LA. Plus, their lush, outdoor seating area is filled with lots of plants and pretty gold accents, so any meal here will feel like a special occasion.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
After opening in September 2020, this excellent Venice restaurant (run by the same people behind Jame Enoteca) shot to the top of every single one of our “Best of” lists, due to their wide-ranging menu full of antipasti, pizza, pasta, and big plates of meat (the lamb neck and pine nut cannelloni is a standout). Expect your standard outdoor setup of metal tables, astroturf, and a few heat lamps - but you’re not here for that. You’re here for the proximity to the ocean, people watching, and to take part in something extraordinary - eating a Hawaiian pizza that actually tastes good. Reservations can be made here.
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As one of LA’s finest Italian restaurants, Osteria Mozza in Hollywood is still very much on the top of their game. For those who need an introduction, it’s the main event at Highland and Melrose’s Mozza-plex, and has redefined the way Angelenos eat for the better half of the last decade. Thanks in part to the excellent versions of orecchiette with sausage, brown-sugared ricotta and egg raviolo that walks the line between dessert, pasta, and full-blown ecstasy, and a huckleberry compote and lemon mascarpone bombolini. Plus, with black and white checkered flooring, string lights, and plenty of foliage, this two-story outdoor dining space is one of the more impressive new patios around. Reservations can be made here.
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Much like one of our best friends in the city (hey, Alessio), Roberta’s is an NYC-transplant that’s still just as good on the West Coast. The pizzeria has reopened their extensive patio at the Platform in Culver City, and serves thick-crusted, blistery pies topped with everything from big ol’ globs of mozzarella to spicy honey atop pepperoni. Finally, you can now eat their incredible “Bee Sting” pizza outside with an even better shot of getting stung by a real bee. Reservations can be made here.
Our favorite West Hollywood pizzeria is officially back open for outdoor dining. Whether you’re catching up with old friends or on a third date and still gauging whether or not they’re into you, Ronan is the perfect place to take someone you want to impress. Their candlelit patio is plenty romantic, and filled with heat lamps, gorgeous foliage, and wood benches that actually aren’t that uncomfortable. Plus, their pizzas are some of our favorites in town, like the ”Sweet Cheeks,” a honey-drizzled concoction topped with ricotta and guanciale. Reservations can be made here.
This huge, fancy restaurant in the Fashion District is from the people behind the late, great Sotto, but with a focus on pasta rather than pizzas. Even during the pandemic, Rossoblu’s dining set-up feels warm and welcoming - they’ve added a huge white tent to their courtyard, with plenty of trees to provide shade and seclusion, plus a swatch of heat lamps strategically placed overhead. The salumi is excellent, the wine list is killer, and their signature ragu bolognese (made with the perfect amount of tomato sauce) is a must-order. Reservations recommended.
Scopa Italian Roots
Think about some of the classic Italian-American dishes - chicken parm, pasta with vodka sauce, cannoli sprinkled in the lightest dusting of powder sugar - and you’ll probably find a fancied-up version of it on Scopa’s menu. The popular Italian restaurant in Venice has taken over their side parking lot to create an outdoor dining space that includes socially-distant tables, astroturf, umbrellas, and plenty of foliage. Reservations can be made here.
The Factory Kitchen
This longstanding Arts District spot tends to get overshadowed by its more famous neighbors (some of which appear on this very guide). But if we’ve learned anything from our undying love and devotion for Normani’s solo career, it’s to not always pay attention to the most obvious choice in the group. There’s not a single weak spot on the menu, which includes a pesto handkerchief pasta that’s so good we’d wear it as a scarf, and the giant piece of fried dough piled with prosciutto and burrata. Plus, their parking lot patio is adorned with string lights and feels cool, industrial, and modern. Reservations can be made here.