“Honey, we’re landing at 5pm and your father and I are gonna be hungry”-- Mom.
If there’s a bigger sh*t-your-pants statement in the English language, we don’t know it. The parents are coming to town AND THEY’RE HUNGRY. Cue apocalypse. Where do you take them? Will it be too pricey? Too casual? Too LA? SHOULD YOU EVEN BOTHER SHOWING UP AT THE AIRPORT?!
Enter C&O Trattoria.
Located on the intensely kitschy strip along the Venice/Marina border, C&O is as close to an “old stand-by” spot as you’re gonna find. The place is both perfectly commercial and intrinsically local all at the same time. There's a fantastic open-air patio with painted Italian cityscapes on the walls and crooning waiters that takes the word "festive" to an entirely different level. Is it cheesy? Of course. Do we care? Not one bit. Add in the fact you’re a mere 30 feet from the beach, and you’ve got parents-in-from-out-of-town dinner glory. Oh and the food? Solid as a rock. The menu is familiar Italian (read: pasta), with portions big enough to debunk any worries about being left hungry in a city perpetually on a kale flush.
But enough of that - now it's time to discuss the real draw at this beachside pasta joint: the garlic knots. Sweet mother of whatever God you believe in, biting into one of these is like watching Friends for the first time. You don’t understand what these feelings are, but you know they’re good. And beats us what’s actually on them. Olive Oil? Butter? Cocaine? Who cares. Any item in a restaurant that comes with its own portion disclaimer has our respect. Served in unlimited quantities, the wait staff literally has to remind you to not eat too many before the entrees arrive. Fat chance, waiter Brian but thank you, you’re still doing a very good job.
They'll tell you to drink the house wine, but go ahead and just bring your own. Then allow yourself to sit back, listen to the waiters sing “Amore” to your teary-eyed mother, and pat yourself on the back. Cause you nailed it.
Just give yourself over to the force.
Spicy, savory, and perfect to pass around the table a few times.
Mom is definitely gonna order this because “sun dried tomato” in her mind officially means she has arrived in Southern California. Good news for mom is that she won't be disappointed.
The perfect order for dad because it has not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of seafood in it. “And how can I pass up a deal like that?” -- Dad.
Another extremely solid dish to pass around the table.
The spicy Italian sausage is crazy good here if someone's looking to get a little adventurous.
This has absolutely no business being this good, but their Italian ice covered in dark chocolate is the perfect end to the meal. Right before that mandatory stroll out to the pier.