Asians aren't the only ones who use their noodles. Italians do too. If you hunger for a little pasta alla Italiana , here's a list of the newest Italian restaurants in town. (These restaurants have all been reviewed in these pages in recent months.) CARDINI, 930 Wilshire Blvd. in the Los Angeles Hilton, (213) 227-3464. One of the most interesting-looking restaurants in town, this post-modern place is divided into a series of little open rooms. The main courses are fairly traditional, but the pasta is fine: Recommended is their dish of black ravioli filled with shrimp and chives. Excellent service, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and the stylishly lit decor help deflect a dinner's high cost. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Jackets requested. All major credit cards. Full bar. Valet parking. Dinner from $40-100.
CELESTINO RISTORANTE, 236 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (213) 859-8601. The pasta place to satisfy a true Italian: matter-of-fact, airy and pleasant, it's quiet enough to encourage conversation and offers delightful pasta dishes. There's never too much sauce, and the pasta is always al dente . Specialties include pappardelle --noodles in a meaty sauce--and pasta alla sarda , a robust sausage sauce atop nuggets of pasta. Entrees are simple--grilled fish, veal and chicken, and the warm seafood salad is as good as you'll get anywhere. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, dinner 5:30-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday. All major credit cards. Beer and wine. Valet parking. Dinner from $30-60.
DUE MILLE, 15005 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 905-8402. Mediterranean meets L.A. in a restaurant with high wood beam ceilings, terra-cotta tiles and live palm trees. At its best--a lightly creamed mostaccioli , an insalata caprese with red peppers--Due Mille has the finesse of your mother's cooking; but such entrees as broiled veal medallions, baby salmon and cioppino are routine. Waiters have a tendency to disappear--and who would want to eat at the outside tables, with Ventura Boulevard's traffic passing noisily by? Open for lunch, 11:30-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; dinner 5:30-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday. All major credit cards. Valet parking. Dinner from $35-65.
PREGO, 18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, (714) 553-1333. A Tuscan villa that's an architectural stunner, Prego is light and airy, with attractive outdoor seating. Pizzas are tasty, the grilled meats simply done and their swordfish miraculously moist. But it is the pasta that offers the most unusual fare: Try the tagliolini with freshwater scampi and sweet red peppers, or the shell pasta with artichoke hearts. Their simplest pasta is most diners' favorite: tortelloni di magro al burro , flat squares of fine-rolled pasta with chard and ricotta filling and chunky Parmesan. Open 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 5-11 p.m. Sunday. MasterCard and Visa accepted. Dinner from $30-60.
PACIOCCO'S, 1807 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (213) 453-8989. Don't expect trendiness here: This soft-toned, spacious restaurant echoes the '40s, not the '80s, with its blessed quiet, period music and subtle handsomeness. The menu offers 34 selections of aperitivi gastromici and antipasti with 13 pasta: The best is probably the taglioni primavera, rich with cream, grana , peas and ham. Others, like the fettuccine al mascarpone , are very, very rich indeed. Dinner only, 5 p.m.-midnight Tuesday-Sunday. Reservations. All major credit cards. Valet parking. Dinner from $35-70.