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photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Antico Nuovo image
9.2

Antico Nuovo

Italian

KoreatownLarchmont

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDinner with the Parents
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Like the over-starched uniforms they pass out at Wi Spa, LA Italian restaurants come in all shapes and sizes. Classic red sauce landmarks co-exist with new school pasta bars that swap bolognese for beets and uni. Tourist spots with TV-famous chefs and temperature-controlled rooms duke it out at the Look-At-Me Pasta Awards. We have a place in our hearts for each. 

Then there’s Antico Nuovo, a Koreatown restaurant you could drive past a hundred times without noticing. Between the unpretentious service and their polished pastas and meats, Antico Nuovo doesn’t fall into any established category of Italian restaurants in LA. There’s no fluff, no flair, and no reliance on nostalgia. Just great, understated execution that makes anything else unnecessary.

Antico Nuovo is a fancy restaurant in drag as a charming neighborhood spot—the true definition of quiet luxury dining. Instead of chandeliers, the room has rows of little olive trees and long wooden communal tables. Copper pots dangle on the walls. From your table, you can see the chefs in the kitchen tossing and twirling pastas like it's part of a sleight-of-hand magic act. Antico’s dining room may be quiet, but don’t translate that to mean it’s stiff. Even the sommelier explains the wine list like you’re at their house for movie night. There’s a noticeable hum coming from each table—a sign of good conversation, sure, but also that people can’t shut up about the pasta, which is consistently the best we’ve eaten in LA.

Rémy Martin

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Rémy Martin
Antico Nuovo image
Antico Nuovo image
Antico Nuovo image
Antico Nuovo image

And yet, the pasta might not even be the best thing on the menu. We could give that nod to the four-inch high focaccia with whipped ricotta, or maybe the juicy pork ribs dusted in fennel pollen, or the ice cream that would have lines around the block if it had a dedicated shop. Even Italians from Italy might admit Antico Nuovo’s cheesy cannelloni or ravioli di nonna lives up to hometown standards. On your table, creamy, bitter chicory caesar will go so fast, you’ll put in a second just for safekeeping. Agnolotti arrives silky and drenched in leftover pan drippings. Bring a date and see if they'll sop up those pan drippings with focaccia (a.k.a the true love test). If they don't, you probably shouldn't be bringing them to a place as pleasant as Antico Nuovo. This is elite cooking from start to finish. And isn't that what you require when you're spending around $125 per person on a special night?

There’ll come a point in your meal—probably towards the end when somebody hits your hand with their spoon to get the last bite of pistachio ice cream—when you’ll begin to feel slightly confused. Antico may not be the newest or the most nostalgic or most glamorous restaurant in town, but it’s always busy. Even still, there's a good chance the people you invite here won't know the place exists before you make a reservation. Once you know about Antico, you know. And then you’ll never forget it. After all, great restaurants never have to scream about the fact that they’re great.

Food Rundown

Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Focaccia

Antico makes one of the great foccacias of our town. Arriving about four inches tall with an airy center and a crackly outer layer, this is a mandatory way to begin your night. Snag some whipped ricotta with pistachio for dipping, and while you’re at it, just order another one. You’re going to want bread for later in the meal.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Broccoli Chicory Caesar

A gorgeous little plate of greens. Bitter chicories are tossed with broccoli and tangy dressing. Plus that mountain of shaved parmesan on top? The defense rests, your honor.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Tortelli

Don’t be surprised if someone at your table asks if this is dessert-adjacent pasta. Don’t be surprised if it’s you. Stuffed with creamy ricotta and sitting a lemony butter sauce, this plate of pasta is profoundly sweet, but not in an upsetting kind of way. You'll be tipping the bowl to get the last bit of juice.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Cannelloni Della Sora Maria

We’ve had every pasta at Antico and would gladly order any of them again. The cannelloni, however, is our all-time favorite. Long, cylindrical sheets arrive stuffed with spinach and gooey cheese, then topped with more cheese and baked in marinara. If enchiladas studied abroad in Florence, they’d absolutely come back looking like this dish.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Plin Dell' Alta Langa

Tiny agnolotti stuffed with ground beef cheeks, pancetta, and a bit of rabbit, then braised in butter and sage. There's a bath of pan drippings underneath—this is when that second order of focaccia will come in handy.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Pollo E Crostone

Going to a high-end Italian restaurant and ordering the roast chicken is usually a red flag in our books. At Antico, it’s the sign of a great order. This half chicken is exceptional—crispy, salty skin with an interior that only gets juicier the further you dig. Oh, and that sopping wet bread underneath it? That’s more focaccia.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Rosticciana

If you come to Antico and only get pasta, we see you and accept you. But we’d also talk about you behind your back, because you didn’t get the pork ribs. Dusted in fennel pollen, these babies are rich, sweet, and tangy with several mouthfuls of meat hanging off each side.
Antico Nuovo image

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Ice Cream

We don’t know how to say it any more clearly than this: Get. The. Ice. Cream. It doesn’t matter if you go for the honeycomb, pistachio, and a seasonal flavor, the only wrong order is no order.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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