My wife and I are coming down at the end of October to celebrate her 50th birthday from northern California…any suggestions for a couple of dinners? We are staying in West Hollywood and she likes California/Italian cuisine, and it can be expensive, but not top flight expensive…any suggestions?
Thanks, in advance,

Bob Wells

Italian in order of my favorite:

  • Bestia. Well rounded cuisine, great wine list, always amazing.
  • Felix. For mostly pasta.
  • Chi Spacca. For mostly steak or pork chop.
  • Jon and Vinnys. Delicious but this decidedly the most casual feeling of the bunch to me, so look up the vibe / menu before going.
  • Sotto. Just a solid Italian restaurant, all arounder, but they are known for their pizzas.


  • Kali. A lighter but still filling meal.

I could go on but this should get you started.




Mozza (either Pizzeria or Osteria, or both)





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Saddle Peak Lodge is my all time favorite for a special Occassion dinner.

Osteria Mozza / Chi Spacca
Angelini Osteria



One never knows what this means (to someone else), but, IMHO, quite a lot of the recommendations above are, indeed, top flight expensive. Gwen, n/naka, Spago and Chi Spacca are all in my list of fairly-to-very expensive places to eat.

Felix, Bestia (now closed due to a fire), Sotto/Rossoblu, Luques/AOC, Jon-Vinny, Redbird fit that criterion a bit better.
As does, Gjelina, Factory Kitchen, Love and Salt, to name a few.

By SF standards, I find the food at restaurants in LA quite moderately priced, though sometimes the wine markup is steeper.

Rustic Canyon: the food reminded me of Frances or Bar Jules, though it’s a bigger place. Jeremy Fox, the chef, was previously chef de cuisine and in charge of charcuterie at Manresa, and then internationally famous for his vegetarian menu at Ubuntu in Napa.

Osteria Mozza: Great Cal-Italian, I eat there pretty much every time I go to LA. Nothing quite like it in SF, Cotogna might be the closest for food but the atmosphere is more old-school elegant, something like Wayfare Tavern. Very comfortable, good place for a romantic dinner.

Chi Spacca (next door to Mozza, same owners): great Cal-Italian focused on meat cooked over coals. Great place for carnivores though they have other great dishes. Kinda sorta like the old Incanto.

Bestia: I found the menu and food quite similar to Zuni. It’s the only place I’ve been in LA with great food that’s filled with Hollywood types, so there’s great people watching.

I recommend a visit to Petit Trois, there’s nothing like it in the SF area that I’ve found. Unfancy French classics such as steak tartare, omelette, moules, and steak-frites that taste like you were just teleported to a cafe in Paris.

If you like sushi, you can get more for your money in LA.


Thanks very much for the in-depth information, Robert! Bob

I second Rustic Canyon. Jeremy’s hitting it out of the park.



All these comments tell you nothing you couldn’t have found on Trip Advisor or another tourist screed. The best is indeed Bestia, but it may not be open and it’s hardly an intimate place. You also have to realize the early evening drive Weho-Downtown is a bear (so use Uber/Lyft to avoid frustration). But there are two places in the Weho area that you really should look into. The best authentic Italian in LA is Angelini, but if you want a romantic Cal/Italian with excellent food and wine, check out Cavatina.

Tripadvisor would give you these suggestions and many more, from people of unknown credibility, mostly tourists, not locals, and none of them specifically aimed at visitors from Northern California.


Thanks guys… I appreciated everyone’s suggestions! Bob

Place hasn’t been the same since Chef Kim left.