A quick perusal of Buon Gusto's classic Italian menu induces immediate mouth watering without so much as a Pavlovian peal. Start off with flavorful appetizers such as crab cakes with lobster sauce ($6.95), bruschetta ($5.50), and a belly-warming bowl of pastina in brodo (chicken broth with pasta; $7.50). With your appetite aptly antipastoed, try out pasta dishes such as the fusilla all fantasia, a flying dragon ride through toasted pine nuts, cream, brandy, shallots, and gorgonzola ($12.50), and the penne all' amalfi with roasted peppers and pink sauce ($11.50). Sink seafaring pearlies into the linguine with clam or mussels ($17.50) or opt for the alla paillard, tender veal kissed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon ($17.95). Buon Gusto also offers pizzas, calzones, and family-style dinners, just right for patrons who prefer to control the migratory patterns of their dinner plates.
Casa De Pizza’s Sinatra Room takes its name from a visit from the legendary crooner, who reputedly left a $900 tip after sampling one of their pies. The room is filled with autographed Sinatra photos, records, and portraits—and on Thursday nights, his music is recreated by tribute band The Sounds of Sinatra. As for the specialty pizzas that sparked this fervor, they still slide atop black-and-white checkered tablecloths sporting a specially seasoned sauce and 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese. LA Weekly had this to say about the pizza rustica’s blend of capers, Mediterranean olives, and Romano cheese: “Even if you loathe Sinatra, you’ll walk out the door singing this pizza’s praises.” The pizzeria also sates appetites with classic Italian dishes such as baked cannelloni and angel hair pomidora.
Owner Vito Sasso inherited the Two Guys from Italy restaurant from founders Joseph Calderone and Luigi Devito, who opened more than 250 locations before leaving the original to Vito Sasso in 1995. Today, Sasso oversees the West Coast eatery, where chefs employ fresh garlic and virgin olive oil to craft Italian fare based on recipes passed down between generations through a series of monumental stone carvings of angel-hair pasta. Diners can choose from more than 400 variations of pizza and pasta on the menu, including manicotti, gnocchi a la Romana, and stuffed shells Napolitana. Steak, seafood, veal, and poultry dishes round out the menu.
For more than two decades, Fratelli's has been serving authentic Italian cuisine fashioned from fresh ingredients and 100% real cheese. Taste buds harmonize as diners croon out orders for appetizers including fried zucchini, marinated artichoke hearts, and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Pizzas invite parties of two or more to divvy up slices of a piping-hot sauce circle topped with a voluminous spread of classic italian meats and veggies as well as gourmet toppings such as shrimp, feta cheese, and old Guy Lombardo records. A staggering panoply of pastas ensconces flavorsome cuts of chicken and veggies, and a slew of seafood and veal dishes include the house specialty osso buco, a Milanese-inspired stew that, like Ferraris and vampire DJs, only emerges on Friday and Saturday nights.
Caruso's Cucina Italiana whips up authentic Italian fare within the family-friendly eatery. The extensive menu features a flock of sharable, family-style pastas, seafood, and pizza, sure to satisfy an entire brood of unpredictable palates. Starters such as steamed mussels ($7.95) and caesar salad ($6.95) tackle a taste-bud topiary before a main mouth event of breaded eggplant marinara topped with mushrooms and mozzarella ($8.50 for lunch, $14.95 for dinner). Wrap mitts around the number four baked calzone stuffed with olives, fresh tomatoes, ricotta, and mozzarella ($10.90), or try a steak-and-pepper sandwich coupled with fries or a small salad ($9.95). Pie-eyed patrons can give the moon something to sing about with a slice of pizza brushed with olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella, and mad food scientists can opt for extra ingredients to create large, no-named monster pies.