Vincenti, a 25-year-old Italian restaurant in Brentwood, closed last month, according to an announcement made on the restaurant’s website by owner Maureen Vincenti and chef Nicola Mastronardi. The community fixture and popular celebrity dining spot was considered one of Los Angeles’s most charming neighborhood Italian restaurants. Vincenti’s husband, Mauro, opened and operated the iconic Rex Il Ristorante, which played a part in the film Pretty Woman. Mauro passed away in 1996, a year before Vincenti Ristorante opened in Brentwood.
Maureen Vincenti tells The Hollywood Reporter that a rent hike from Rick Caruso’s company, the building’s landlord, would’ve made it untenable for the business to operate. Over the summer, Vincenti told THR that Caruso’s company allowed Vincenti to stay until a new tenant was found. They were also forgiven abated rent of $1 million dating back to the end of 2019, but didn’t renew the lease because the new rate would’ve been nearly three times what they were paying before. Vincenti speaks admirably of Caruso despite the rent hike. Spanish tapas restaurant Teleféric is taking over the space, according to blogger Toddrickallen. Those bemoaning Vincenti’s closure would be encouraged to know that Vincenti and Mastronardi are looking for a new location, ideally in Santa Monica.
Former server Ronit Menashe, sister of chef Ori Menashe of Bestia and Bavel, says that Vincenti was the consummate maitre d’, and observed that much of the staff remained with the restaurant throughout its entire tenure in Brentwood. “It was a total neighborhood restaurant that felt like family. Customers would come in and get their usual food every week,” says Menashe. “Maureen is such an amazing person. People would go there for her. It was a happy place because of her.”
Vincenti had its longtime regulars, but even newcomers succumbed to its charm. Recent LA transplants Elliott Higgins, an anesthesiologist, and husband Tim Hermann, who works in tech, found themselves dining at Vincenti whenever they could. “They embraced you there. Maureen made you feel like you were a loyal customer of decades, even if it was your first time there. And the food was sensational. We loved the pastas, and the tartufo risotto was divine,” says Higgins. “We moved to LA six months ago, and it’s one of the first places we went back to multiple times,” says Hermann. “I know I’m new here, but you could tell that place was special to a lot of people.”