There’s an eternal appeal for small neighborhood Italian restaurants that Angelenos can’t get enough of. La Bettola di Terroni feels fresh and timeless with its packed tables, high ceilings, sleek bar with striking lights, and white tablecloths inside the former Vernetti space. (Bettola means tavern or dive in Italian.) In addition to the main dining room, a lovely sidewalk dining area that juts into the street, but remains protected on all sides, makes for a terrific al fresco experience.
La Bettola’s menu, executed by chef Costantino Gusso, adds a dose of Silician flavors to the mostly classic lineup of pan-Italian appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and secondi. Appetizers include hamachi crudo, smoked swordfish carpaccio, vitello tonnato, and millefoglio di melanzane (eggplant layered with mozzarella and tomato sauce). Also on the list of starters is a caprese salad and the less common funghi assoluti, a warm oyster mushroom salad with bread crumbs and arugula.
Pizzas that are neither Neapolitan nor New York in style tend to play it safe. The mortazza comes with mortadella, toasted pistachios, and burrata, while the spicy calabrese salami, mushroom, and mozzarella number will tug at anyone’s pizza-loving heart.
The largest section of the menu is the pasta, including black truffle- and egg-filled ravioli, tagliatelle Bolognese, and tonnarelli alla norcia. A Sicilian-style spaghetti pistachio e colatura di alici comes with anchovy, pistachios, bread crumbs, and candied lemon. A branzino with potato and cherry tomato, and a costata di manzo — 12 ounces of seared grass-fed ribeye — are the two shareable main dishes. To drink is a diverse Italian bottle and by-the-glass list, plus cocktails shaken up at the welcoming bar.
La Bettola di Terroni is part of a huge Toronto-based group that has a small foothold in LA, with sister restaurant Terroni (the Downtown location closed during the pandemic) and its adjacent wine shop/market Doppolovoro.
La Bettola di Terroni is open nightly at 225 N. Larchmont Avenue from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until 11 p.m. on Friday; hours expand from 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are available here.