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If you were to tell a friend you just had dinner in a basement on Pico Boulevard, they’d most likely assume you made an extremely poor Tinder decision. Left to meander lifelessly between the 10 Freeway and Wilshire Blvd., Pico might be the most skipped over major thoroughfare in town. And when the most recognizable landmark in the area is a tricked out two-­story dry cleaners, who’s to argue?

But then there’s Sotto, an Italian restaurant in the midst of this bizarre urban desert that we happen to like a lot. Sotto experienced one of the buzzier restaurant openings in recent memory when it first set up shop, and now a few years later, we’re happy to report that good things are still happening.

There are a lot of places cooking authentic Italian food in this city, but Sotto's southern Italian food is more eclectic than what you'll find at most other spots around town. The menu is stacked with dishes like spicy clams with ‘nduja, squid ink bottarga, and spicy octopus spaghetti. Feel free to towel off at any point.

There’s something that can be so stale about even the great Italian restaurants, but at Sotto there’s an energy in the air that's immediately contagious. The space is romantic but still lively, making it suitable for both date night action or party time action. The service is also top-notch with a wait staff that genuinely appears to love what they do. Go figure.

Above everything else though, it's just a relief to find that after several years and lots of hype, one of LA’s great Italian restaurants is still warranting the praise.

Food Rundown

Chickpea Panelle

The must­ order appetizer. These Sicilian fritters taste like Italian french fries, if those were a thing.

Grilled Mackerel

Admittedly a touch on the fishy side, order this because of the absolutely amazing crispy buckwheat that comes with it.

Grilled Pork Meatballs

Quite possibly one of the best things on the menu. We only wish there wasn’t just three of them. We could order these again and again and again.

Spicy Clams

The difference here is that ‘nduja, a spicy sausage, which takes fresh market clams to the next level.

Margherita Pizza

Delicious in its own simplicity. The pizzas come with a lot of hype, and we think they absolutely live up to it.

Guanciale Pizza

House cured pork cheek, ricotta and about a pound of polenta make this one of the piggiest and most memorable pizza you’ll eat in awhile.


With the big, thick ragu noodles and the perfectly spiced pork, this is the king of the pasta section.


The Italian dessert classic is done to crispy perfection. Do not leave the table without ordering one.

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