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Osteria Mozza

PHOTOS: Aliza Sokolow

LA takes certain things very seriously. Acai berries, Carmaggedon, and making sure you saw that January pool party invite on Facebook even though we know you live in Astoria. But pasta? Not exactly. Compared to Chicago and NYC, pasta is far less a weekly dinner guarantee as it is something you splurge on when you know you’ll be wearing a jacket for a few days. Do we have good pasta in this town? Of course. But we definitely don’t take it seriously.

Osteria Mozza does though.

The main event at Highland and Melrose’s Mozza-plex needs little introduction. For the better part of a decade, Osteria (and it’s accompanying Chi Spacca and Pizzeria) have been the arguable epicenter of all things food in LA. For good reason - they’ve come to redefine a lot about how this city eats. And now after all those years and countless awards later, we’re happy to report Osteria is as good as ever.

To be sure, this is fine dining. But the kind of fine dining that doesn’t bother you. Should you wear a suit jacket? Maybe. Do you have to? No. At it’s core, Osteria is surprisingly laid back - it’s the patrons who come ready to ball out. And who can blame them? This is one of the finest restaurants we have in this city, and you’re about to lose yourself at a Mozzarella bar. If you want to get all gussied up, we won’t be the ones to stop you.

But back to that pasta - it’s absurd. We mentioned it’s serious stuff at Osteria, and by that we meant it’s just better than anywhere else. The orecchiette with sausage is tremendous, and if you’re in the market to know what perfectly cooked pasta tastes like, give it an order. There’s a brown-sugared Ricotta & Egg Raviolo that easily feeds two people and walks a fine line between dessert and pasta and personal ecstacy. Of course, there’s much more to Osteria than pasta too - the burrata, the meats, that huckleberry bombolini for dessert. Everything’s amazing, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not getting involved.

Osteria is not your once-a-week hangout spot. It’s a preeminent Italian restaurant at the absolute top of its game, and in any town, that deserves attention. They might be taking things seriously over at Highland and Melrose, but judging by the results, perhaps we all should too.

Food Rundown

Orecchiette

What other adjectives can we possibly use to describe this thing? It’s simply one of the best plates of pasta in LA, and we dream about at night far more than we would ever admit to family and friends.

Burricota & Spiced Walnuts

Frankly, whatever Nancy Silverton wants to piece together for us at the Mozzarella bar, we’re more than ok with. That being said, this concoction is one of our favorites. The spiced walnuts add a nice kick, and the fried rosemary sprinkled on top makes it all feel like Christmas.

Riccotta & Egg Raviolo

So, wait. One singular ravioli for $22? What trickery is this? No trickery. Because this one egg-filled ravioli is so massive and indulgent, you realize they may have given you and your date too much. Except they didn’t. You’re licking that brown sugar right off the plate.

Grilled Leg of Lamb

At any other restaurant, this dish would be a stand out. Yet in the company of everything else at Osteria, the leg of lamb seems to be as expected. But we expected it to be pretty good.

Gem Lettuce Salad

Standard, but certainly good. You’ll need this breather at some point anyways.

Bombolini

No matter to what degree you can’t control yourself around Osteria’s pasta, save enough room for this. The huckleberry compote and lemon mascarpone will do things to your mind and body you can’t prepare for.

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