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tynt test 2

June 11, 2013

You can have Italian old school or you can have a version of it that is unlike anything someone's nonna would recognize. Chances are, you will love both and everything in between.

Angelini Osteria - Hollywood has always loved Gino Angelini's osteria the most of all his restaurants, a place whose comfortable versions of pan-Italian trattoria classics like saltimbocca, pollo alla diavola, Roman tripe and his grandmother's gooey green lasagna keep the loud dining room busy, and where whatever diet you happen to be on at the time will be accommodated without a fuss. 7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 297-0070. angeliniosteria.com

Bestia - What Ori Menashe's cooking represents is a new, anti-California cuisine, a style of Italian food whose flavors are neither amplified nor perfected but are simply presented as themselves. You may think the chunky cavatelli pasta tossed with chopped black truffles, sausage and cheese is rather bland. I think it may be one of the most purely Italian things I have ever tasted in Los Angeles, food from a region where truffles are as common as onions. The sentiments do not necessarily contradict one another. 2121 E. 7th Place, Los Angeles. (213) 514-5724. BestiaLA.com

Photos: Jonathan Gold's 11 best Italian restaurants

Drago Centro - Drago Centro, opened at the depths of the financial crisis, is among the most majestic restaurants downtown, a double-height dining room looking out onto the cityscape, a view that is about command. The cooking here, led by chef de cuisine Ian Gresik, includes both handcrafted pasta — the pappardelle with pheasant and the handmade spaghetti with Sicilian almond pesto are wonderful — and the meatier pleasures of steak, fish and duck. 525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles. (213) 228-8998. dragocentro.com

Gjelina - Gjelina is cheerful, boozy and known for both its extremely good-looking customers (a lot of young actors tend to show up here late) and Travis Lett's decent organic-fetish Italian food. The scene may be as crunchy as the wood-fired pizza crust, but relax: It's Abbot Kinney. 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 450-1429. www.gjelina.com

Little Dom's - To the casual eye, Little Dom's may resemble a South Jersey joint, but owner Brandon Boudet is from New Orleans, and the place is modeled on neighborhood Creole Italian places from that city, so along with the burrata salad you get oyster po' boys, crawfish garnishing grilled fish, and fried shrimp with artichokes. There are complicated Italian American egg dishes for breakfast too. 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 661-0055. littledoms.com

Photos: Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants

Mozza, etc. - The cooking, whether the puffy pies at Pizzeria Mozza, the perfected northern Italian dishes at Osteria Mozza, the charcuterie and grilled meats at Chi'Spacca or the focaccia at Mozza2Go, comes from an Italy of the mind, as if the corner of Highland and Melrose were its own denominazione di origine controllata.  641 N. Highland Ave., L.A.(323) 297-0101. pizzeriamozza.com

Sotto - Sotto is a different kind of Italian restaurant, a nominally southern Italian place dedicated to local produce and sustainable and artisanally produced meat, and a shrine to the awesome heat of its 15,000-pound oven. You can get the hot, fresh bread with headcheese or puréed lardo instead of olive oil; clams cooked with fresh shell beans and the awesomely spicy Calabrian sausage 'nduja; or a Sunday-only porchetta practically radioactive with fennel and garlic. 9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 277-0210. sottorestaurant.com

Superba Snack Bar - Jason Neroni's style is what you might call abstracted Italian, which is to say that it incorporates tastes and textures associated with Italian cooking without actually duplicating an Italian dish. If Superba has a specialty, it is probably pasta: handmade, slightly stiff and leaning toward excess, whole-wheat rigatoni more or less in the style of cacio e pepe, cooked extremely al dente and tossed with cheese and a punishing handful of black pepper. It doesn't quite taste like anything you'd get in Rome. It tastes like Venice Beach. 533 Rose Ave., Venice. (310) 399-6400. superbasnackbar.com

Tasting Kitchen - Even if you'd been eating pasta your entire life, you were probably confused by the appearance of corzetti with fennel pollen or gigli with squash blossoms in the dreamlike candlelit room. The basic impression is of Italian cooking translated into an odd American dialect, in which grilled anchovies are laid so beautifully on the plate that you rather suspect there's an art director. 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 392-6644. thetastingkitchen.com

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