It's no surprise that Funke, the third installment in a series of successful Italian restaurants, is essentially an activation for the chef's personal brand. Evan Funke's face appears on everything from matchbooks to takeout bags. Popular dishes from sibling spots Felix and Mother Wolf, like salt-studded focaccia and zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta, stick out on the menu like easter eggs. Fans wait weeks to get a glimpse of the Beverly Hills kitchen, craning their necks to see if LA’s Willy Wonka of pasta might be working the dough that day. Overall, we buy into the hype of the food. Funke is a strong third act with pasta that earns its high price tags. But it's also tacky and self-aggrandizing in ways Mother Wolf's party atmosphere and Felix's stoic pasta museum mostly avoid.
Let's get the room out of the way. Funke's first floor looks like a hotel lobby on the Vegas strip that’s a couple of decades past its prime. There’s a steady crowd of people buzzing around marble surfaces (just like the scene at Mother Wolf), a pasta maestro rolling dough in a glass cube (twice the size of the one at Felix), and a cringy neon sign that reads “The Last Great Adventure Is You.” It's the kind of place where you'll eat very good orecchiette next to someone who either knows several celebrities or is currently sponsoring their sugar baby's salad. Sit on the second floor to escape most of the kitsch, or head to Funke’s walk-in-only rooftop for a spritz and some snacks as the sun sets behind the Hollywood Hills.
Look past the Gucci-clad guests shouting travel stories and onto their plates, and you'll notice the restaurant borrows dishes that work at Evan Funke's other restaurants. Funke serves some of the same chewy, blistered pizzas from Mother Wolf's menu—these are topped with everything from mortadella to meyer lemon. There's a whole branzino, some juicy lamb chops, and a dry-aged ribeye, all of which debuted at Felix years ago. In some cases, these mains will cost $10+ more than what you’ll pay at Felix and Mother Wolf for similar dishes. And they're generally less remarkable than the restaurant's pasta.
Now the recommendable stuff. The restaurant's best quality—the reason you should eat here, frankly—is that it streamlines some of LA's finest pasta dishes into one place and does so with consistency. Megafans will recognize the rigatoni all’amatriciana and tonnarelli cacio e pepe from Felix. Both come out bouncy and just a few seconds short of al dente. After several visits, you’ll still get springy tagliatelle made exactly like a pasta master in Bologna would do it, or hand-stuffed agnolotti pinched with the expertise of a dough architect in Piedmont. These pork-stuffed agnolotti genuinely live up to their $50 asking price. Yes, Funke's hand-cut dough is expensive, but be serious, this is a special occasion restaurant down the street from Rodeo Drive—even basic amatriciana will cost you $35 around here. Rather than just another superficial dinner, Funke gives you designer bucatini made by people who actually know their sh*t.
Is Funke playing things safe by repackaging its famous dishes in a gaudy space? Maybe. That's fine. The formula works, mostly. Come to Funke when you're prepared to eat at the restaurant equivalent of a stretch limo. You'll easily spend $150 per person for tagliatelle, airy focaccia loaves, and a few rounds of tomato-laced martinis. And, if you stick to pasta and the classic hits, it'll be an impeccable meal. Funke might be a self-referential sequel, but if we were making pasta this good, we'd probably reference ourselves again, too.
Pasta aside, salted focaccia loaves helped make Felix a household name. Funke adds a bit more flair to these bouncy, golden-brown beauties. Their version has a thin layer of tomato sauce, anchovy bits, shreds of aged parmesan cheese, and a handful of breadcrumbs on top. The olive-oil slathered bread with a crackly outer layer is extremely satisfying to break apart. We wish you the best of luck trying to save a few bites to eat with your pasta.
Fior Di Zucca
A ricotta-stuffed fan-favorite from Mother Wolf and Felix. Get them.
If you hold it up to the light, each strand of tagliatelle in this simple pasta dish looks almost transparent. These thin, flat ribbons balance out the heavy mound of ragu plopped right on top. Order it if you’re in the mood for a classic, red sauce situation.
This is our favorite pasta here, mostly because of how complete it feels. The sauce has a pinch of spice. Broccolini brings in some crunch, and Italian sausage and ear-shaped orecchiette live in chewy harmony.
Agnolotti Dal Plin
At $50, this is the most expensive plate of pasta on the menu. Not to sound like an upselling somm, but we highly recommend you order it. You’ll understand exactly why the moment the pork-stuffed agnolotti splits open. The deep brown, gravy-like sauce smells like a rosemary twig and tastes like it's been hanging on the stovetop for hours.
Scottandita Di Angello
These lamb chops are pricey ($70) and smaller than what you’d expect from a main course at any average Italian restaurant. But Funke isn’t an average Italian restaurant and you’re not here to save money. So order these juicy, bone-in slabs of lean lamb meat when someone at your table insists on getting one plate that isn’t pasta.
Sugary doughnut puffs with a side of juice-dribbling Harry’s Berries and creamy rhubarb sorbet. This is a sexy dessert.
With prices ranging from $22-$39, the drinks at Funke might seem like a predatory money grab. But they’re all made with such a ridiculous amount of detail, we eventually got over it. The negroni is infused with the chef’s favorite Sicilian olive oil and the tomato-laced martini is so silky smooth, it deserves its own dedicated plaque behind the bar.
Spaghetti Alla Norma
Although the spaghetti is cooked perfectly, we can't endorse this dish as a whole. The red sauce is watery, the fried eggplant gets soggy in seconds. At $35, it just feels like a pricey afterthought for the vegetarian crowd.
You don't need this. One massive rice ball with an outer shell that's fried so hard it ends up tasting like crumbly risotto that got stuck at the bottom of a pan.