Los Angeles is a city obsessed with Italian food. As much as everyone crows on about the amazing taco scene (and it really is fantastic) the fact that Italian food remains so bankable simply cannot be ignored.
After all, some of the biggest openings slated for this spring offer an Italian perspective, albeit in very different ways. Here’s a look at what’s working its way through the pasta machine now — and one update you might not expect from another long-awaited project.
Chef Evan Funke is almost ready to reveal the beauty of Felix, his long-awaited Italian return landing along Abbot Kinney in Venice. The affable pasta-maker has been essentially on (a rather busy) hiatus for two years, traveling to Italy, cooking in other peoples’ kitchens, and prepping for Felix. Now the restaurant is ready to roll, offering customers a view into the handmade pasta process every single night. There will also be pizzas, a small but lively bar, and Funke himself, channeling his “inner grandma.”
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA. Opening at the end of March.
Alimento chef Zach Pollack is keeping his new Echo Park restaurant Cosa Buona close to the vest (or apron, as it were), but details have begun to leak out. For one, Pollack’s casual new option will be modeled after a traditional Italian-American takeout joint, which means pizza, mozzarella sticks, chicken parmesan, and lots of other classics. There will be delivery available right from the get go probably, and a cozy dine-in environment where in the heart of Echo Park at Sunset and Alvarado.
2100 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Opening in early April.
Chef Steve Samson has been envisioning the bones of Rossoblu for years, but the shape of the Downtown masterpiece really only started to come together recently. Now the indoor-outdoor eatery is closing in on an opening date for real, with kitchen equipment being wheeled in daily and staff already getting antsy to start a night of service. There are lots of expectant diners who feel the same way, ready to enjoy the al fresco space with a glass of wine in hand, looking out at the city beyond. It’s the restaurant space Samson has always dreamed of.
1124 San Julian St., Los Angeles, CA. Opening in early May.
The completely redone Hotel Figueroa should be ready to come back online in just a few weeks, with an all new food and beverage program to match the stylishly updated rooms. Part of that change includes the new Veranda, a pool-adjacent Italian getaway overseen by chef Casey Lane. There will be pastas and pizzas of course, but the focus here is more on rustic grilled meats and other wood-fired delicacies, served entirely al fresco next to a 1920’s fireplace.
939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA. Opening in April.
Of course, the above handful of restaurants are not the only Italian spots coming online later this year. The folks behind Factory Kitchen and Officine Brera (yes, both Italian) are opening up Sixth + Mill in the Arts District sometime down the line, while Chris Bianco of Phoenix empire Pizzeria Bianco is jumping into the fray Downtown as well.
One name that you might still be waiting on is chef Bruce Kalman, who — along with partners Marie Petulla and George Pitsironis — took over the shuttered Bucato space in Culver City last May. Now word comes that the deal there has been called off, with the group instead focusing their efforts on a still-to-come project in Downtown instead. So no word on that front formally, but soon enough even Kalman will be expanding his already prodigious Italian empire, proving yet again that Los Angeles can’t get enough.