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Let Them Eat Pasta

February 21, 1988| Compiled by Kathie Jenkins

Every 15 seconds , an Italian restaurant is born ... or at least it seems that way. Here are some recently reviewed restaurants to try next time you're in the mood for pasta. ALBERGHETTI'S (765 W. Alosta Ave., Glendora, (818) 914-5853). Alberghetti's 8,000 square feet of restaurant dwarfs any other Italian restaurant for miles around. Chef/owner Dennis Alberghetti makes his own pastas, prepares lots of wild game and seafoods and bakes wonderful little Italian loaves of bread that accompany all dinners. Try the antipasto: mounds of salad in a first-rate vinaigrette, piles of marinated vegetables and a superb selection of Italian meats and cheeses. Fettuccine with duck is the best of the pasta dishes. The duck is shredded and folded into a tomato sauce along with wild mushrooms and a touch of cream. The swordfish comes perfectly broiled and the osso buco is excellent. Open for lunch and dinner Tue.-Fri. and dinner only on Sat. All major credit cards. Beer and wine. Parking lot. Dinner for two, food only, $30-$60.

BACI (8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 651-4776). Baci is a pleasant and inexpensive little place to eat. The waiters are charming, the restaurant is bright and relaxing, and the food is dependable. The calamari are excellent, lightly breaded, and without a spot of grease. Seafood ravioli is done in a French-style curry cream sauce, and the fettuccine Capriccio comes with salmon and a bit of cilantro. Homemade sausage with linguine and a sauce of ground sun-dried tomatoes is a good choice, as is the calzone alla checca, stuffed with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. The dessert choices are limited, consisting mostly of a sweet, creamy cheesecake and a daily selection of rather good French tarts. Open for lunch and dinner daily. MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Full bar. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $26-$35.

FONTANA DI TREVI (21733 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 888-0206). Fontana di Trevi looks vaguely like a mauve-and-gray '30s supper club. Strings of tiny lights twinkle and a plaster fountain burbles. It is the sort of place that puts out simple, basic Italian food that is carefully prepared, bursting with strong flavors like garlic, rosemary, lemon and good olive oil. The calamari are crunchy-crusted, tender, just chewy enough to remind you that you are eating squid and not onion rings, and served with both a marinara sauce and a lemon wedge on the side. Roasted peppers come in a strong vinaigrette sauce and are adorned with anchovy fillets. The best pasta here is the penne , cooked just past the point of crunchiness, served in an arrabiata sauce extremely spicy with crushed red pepper. Desserts are the usual tiramisu and cannoli sorts of things. End your meal with a good strong espresso. Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri., dinner only Sat. and Sun. All major credit cards. Full bar. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $35-$50.

LA BRUSCHETTA (1621 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, (213) 477-1051). You are immediately made to feel welcome in this bright and understated restaurant. The food is imaginative and well prepared, and the wine list is impressive. Start with the grilled radicchio , which is smoky with a strong bitter edge the vegetable gets when it's cooked. The pastas are also impressive. Try the angel-hair pasta and seafood that is served in a hollowed-out grapefruit. The bitterness of the grapefruit plays off the sweetness of the seafood. Another winner is the nuggets of pasta in a sauce of cooked-down broccoli, tomato and pancetta that is punched up by the bite of strongly salty sheep's milk cheese. For dessert a Napoleon, the flaky pastry layered with fresh peaches and topped with almond sauce, is a knockout. So is the almond cheesecake with fresh blueberries. Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. and dinner only Sat. All major credit cards. Beer and wine. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $35-$60. ROSSO E NERO RISTORANTE (7371 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 658-6340). A new Italian family restaurant with that Melrose Avenue feel. Few places have better risotto al Gorgonzola , nice and creamy and perfectly al dente . The rosemary chicken and veal chop sauteed in butter and sage are ample and tasty, as are the lamb chops. Entrees come with the best freshly pan-fried herbed potatoes--the kind you rarely get outside of Italy. The pizza and calzone are made with an excellent thin crust. The grilled porcini --huge grilled mushroom caps heavy with olive oil--are good too. Open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., dinner only on Sun. All major credit cards. Beer and wine. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $40-$50.

TUTTOBENE (945 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood, (213) 655-7051). The former Hollywood Diner has become this hip new Italian diner for the '80s. It has also turned into quite a chic scene. Owner Silvio de Mori has re-created the kind of large, eclectic menu he presented when he was at Silvio's. Of the many kinds of pasta, the most likable are the simpler sort--spaghetti with tomatoes, linguine with clams, spaghetti with a fine Bolognese sauce. Risotto is another good choice. So is the polenta topped with a sage and tomato-flavored rabbit and veal sauce. There are salads, fish, an enormous steak--there is, in fact, almost anything you'd want to eat. Service is friendly and remarkably efficient. The wine list is small and moderately priced and the favored dessert here is tiramisu --a big, sweet square of damp cake. Open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and dinner daily. All major credit cards. Beer and wine only. Valet parking. Dinner for two, food only, $40-$50.

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