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The Restaurant Guide 2003 | The passion

angelini osteria

June 22, 2003|S. Irene Virbila

In L.A., everybody has their favorite Italian. Pizza Margherita, linguine alle vongole or pollo al mattone are as familiar as a burger or a chili dog. Some neighborhoods have nearly as many Italian restaurants as Trastevere or Brera in Rome and Milan. With all these choices, where do homesick Italians and Italophiles go for a true taste of Italy?

At Angelini Osteria, Gino Angelini turns out the kind of soulful cooking that will never go out of style. It's like being at your Italian mother's house for dinner. Everything at this smart, contemporary osteria is terrific, from a pizza topped with burrata and delicate fried calamari to succulent braised oxtails and a juicy breaded veal chop alla Milanese. Spaghetti carbonara simply doesn't get any better than Angelini's, and yes, that is his grandmother Elvira's recipe for green lasagna. Stinco, roasted veal shank finished off in the wood-burning oven, is sliced tableside. Sometimes there's porchetta, roasted baby pig stuffed with fennel and garlic, too. The wine list is exceptionally well-priced and filled with treasures from vineyards up and down the boot. And to further your education, you can order most by the glass or by the carafe. The espresso is the best in town, every bit as good as those served at legendary cafes in Turin or Rome. How did we get so lucky?--S.I.V.

Angelini Osteria, 7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 297-0070.

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