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A red cloth table of meatballs, lasagna, and more.
A big table filled with red sauce staples
Farley Elliott

18 Old-School Red Sauce Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles

Spaghetti, chicken parm, and endless glasses of Chianti

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A big table filled with red sauce staples
| Farley Elliott

There’s something incredibly comforting and nostalgic (for many) about a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs served atop a red checkered tablecloth. While there’s no shortage of contemporary California-Italian restaurants around town, red sauce Italian joints have a timelessness and charm that can’t easily be matched. Here now are 18 old-school Italian restaurants in Los Angeles.

Removed: La Dolce Vita, Mama D’s Italian Kitchen, Andre’s, Prosecco Trattoria, Frankie’s, Isabella’s Italian Kitchen

Added: Grandi Italiani, Osteria la Buca, Marino, Di Pilla’s Italian, Alex Di Peppe’s, Scardino’s, Cafe Corleone

Some restaurants have resumed or begun limited patio seating, while others continue to offer takeout and/or delivery only. This should not be taken as endorsement for on-site, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Los Angeles Public Health website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Grandi Italiani

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21730 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303
(747) 230-8081
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Though the family behind Grandi Italiani may be better known for its old school spot Andre’s, this Canoga Park option is no slouch, either. Expect the usual staples like spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, and chicken parmesan, of course.

Exterior shot of Canoga Park’s Grandi Italiani, wrapping one corner.
Grandi Italiani
Courtesy of Grandi Italiani

2. Pinocchio Restaurant

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3103 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 845-3516
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Pinocchio’s is a Valley staple, the kind of casual Italian-American destination that doesn’t try too hard, and that’s just perfect. While one half of the building is a dedicated market, the real focus is on the steam table restaurant portion of the place to the left, where diners snag trays to fill with whatever noodle-sauce-and-side combo they care to enjoy. It’s inexpensive, satisfying, and busy — a perfect Valley combo.

Pinocchio Restaurant in Burbank
Pinocchio Restaurant
Pinocchio Restaurant website

3. Domenico's

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2411 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 797-6459
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Domenico’s churned out family recipes in Pasadena since the 1960s. The third generation of Rosas are still making quality pizza, and every dish hails from one of Mama Rosa’s original recipes. According to the servers, the restaurant hasn’t changed much one bit since their inception, except for the locations. As a result, the veal patty, or the outrageously fatty pizza sandwich has been tested with time. So has the white clam sauce, manicotti, and lasagne.

4. Ciao Cristina

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4201 W Olive Ave
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 563-2426
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It’s all paninis, pastas, and antipasti at Ciao Cristina’s. This Burbank Venetian spot touts family recipes handed down from the parents and grandparents, with an incredibly cozy dining room for use during non-pandemic times.

5. Colombo's Italian Steakhouse & Jazz Club

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1833 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 254-9138
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Eagle Rock gem Colombo’s is the rare vintage restaurant that still attracts a loyal, and endlessly youthful, following. In the pre—pandemic times the Italian steakhouse would keep things lively with lots of live jazz inside, and now families can hang out on the exterior patio to down chicken parmesan, the famous rolled lasagna, and a heavy pour of wine.

6. Little Dom's

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2128 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-0055
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Los Feliz’s Little Dom’s is the red sauce joint every town needs. It’s quaint yet modern, has a strong personality without being too fussy, and makes a mean plate of pasta.

Little Dom’s restaurant in Los Feliz
Little Dom’s
Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

7. Alex Di Peppe’s

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610 Live Oak Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006
(626) 445-0544
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Alex Di Peppe’s has been serving the San Gabriel Valley for 51 years, and today the restaurant is still going strong with staple dishes like mozzarella sticks, meatballs, and lots of cheesy garlic bread.

A black and white photo of an old school Italian restaurant with signage.
Alex Di Peppe’s
Alex Di Peppe’s

8. Jones Hollywood

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7205 California State Route 2
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 850-1726
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Now celebrating more than two decades in the business, Jones on Santa Monica Boulevard has cemented itself as a modern Italian red sauce joint. Sure, during normal times the bar gets more love (and rightfully so), but sitting up front with the checkered tablecloths and a big plate of meatballs is, on the right night, where the party’s really at.

9. Rao's Hollywood

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1006 Seward St
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 962-7267
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An offshoot of an impossible-to-eat-at New York City original, Rao’s in Hollywood is a little quieter, a little more subdued, but still a lot of fun. The kitchen pushes out big portions to everyone, where families, dates, and anyone looking to recreate a bit of magic can lean in for a taste of East Coast Italian.

Rao’s Italian restaurant in Hollywood
Rao’s Hollywood
Elizabeth Daniels

10. Marino Restaurant

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6001 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 466-8812
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63-year-old Marino restaurant is just as charming today as it has ever been, though dining in means eating al fresco on the ample back parking lot patio. Expect a variety of Italian classics, from fresh pastas to caesar salads and calamari and fried mozzarella.

Marino Ristorante as shown from the inside, with dark booths and white tablecloths during the day.
Inside Marino
Matthew Kang

11. Osteria La Buca

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5210 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 462-1900
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Melrose’s mellow Osteria la Buca is the perfect kind of neighborhood Italian restaurant. Known for its great pastas, pizzas, and grilled meats, this staple 15-year-old restaurant has used the pandemic to transition to groceries, delivery, and lots of wine sales, too.

Inside Osteria la Buca, a mellow Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, at night as customers sit at the bar.
Osteria la Buca
Osteria la Buca

12. Dan Tana's

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9071 California State Route 2
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 275-9444
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Is there any more iconic old school Italian retaurant than Dan Tana’s? From its historic location adjacent to the legendary Troubadour music venue, to its timeless clientele of celebs, tourists, and cranky old-timers, this is the place to see and be seen over a big plate of chicken parm and red sauce pasta.

13. Di Pilla's Italian Restaurant

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9013 Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 286-0275
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Rosemead’s charming 53-year-old Di Pilla’s feels like the days of old. Inside, the restaurant is wrapped in faux brick and fake vines, while diners today can take out everything from pasta with vodka sauce to linguini to fettuccini alfredo — and lots of toasty bread on the side, of course.

A trio of pastas shown from above, including a bowtie with vodka sauce.
Di Pilla’s
Di Pilla’s

14. Matteo's

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2321 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 475-4521
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Matteo’s on Westwood is a bit more luxurious than others on this list, but is no less effective in its efforts. Those wrapping booths and white tablecloths can’t hide a traditional Italian menu of spaghetti and meatballs, veal parmesan, and fried calamari. And don’t forget to order a martini.

15. Vito Restaurant

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2807 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 450-4999
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Vito in Santa Monica has been serving for over 40 years, and all from their charming digs along Ocean Park Boulevard. The place hasn’t changed much since opening all those years ago, as their pastas and traditional cocktail list — vesper, side car, or sazerac — can absolutely attest.

Pasta from Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant website

16. Il Saggio Italian Restaurant

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5427 E Washington Blvd
Commerce, CA 90040
(323) 490-7130
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There’s solid options at Il Saggio, from pizzas, a bistecca panini, traditional salads, hamburgers, and steak. But there’s always time for the lasagna or spaghetti a la bolognese at this Commerce restaurant.

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Rack of Lamb

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17. Cafe Corleone Italian Restaurant

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15337 Paramount Blvd
Paramount, CA 90723
(562) 408-6100
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Paramount’s Cafe Corleone offers a massive menu filled with pizzas, appetizers like fried calamari, and over a dozen types of pasta, including the restaurant’s famed baked lasagna.

A top down view of a messy plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Spaghetti and meatballs
Cafe Corleone

18. Scardino's Italian Restaurant

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4803 Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 542-2222
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South Bay families love Scardino’s, the no-fuss Italian staple in Torrance. The red sauce restaurant turns out dishes like manicotti, penne arrabbiata, and spaghetti and meatballs with ease — and now with leafy outdoor seating.

An old school Italian restaurant with outdoor seating during the day.
Scardino’s
Scardino’s

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1. Grandi Italiani

21730 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303
Exterior shot of Canoga Park’s Grandi Italiani, wrapping one corner.
Grandi Italiani
Courtesy of Grandi Italiani

Though the family behind Grandi Italiani may be better known for its old school spot Andre’s, this Canoga Park option is no slouch, either. Expect the usual staples like spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, and chicken parmesan, of course.

21730 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303

2. Pinocchio Restaurant

3103 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Pinocchio Restaurant in Burbank
Pinocchio Restaurant
Pinocchio Restaurant website

Pinocchio’s is a Valley staple, the kind of casual Italian-American destination that doesn’t try too hard, and that’s just perfect. While one half of the building is a dedicated market, the real focus is on the steam table restaurant portion of the place to the left, where diners snag trays to fill with whatever noodle-sauce-and-side combo they care to enjoy. It’s inexpensive, satisfying, and busy — a perfect Valley combo.

3103 W Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505

3. Domenico's

2411 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

Domenico’s churned out family recipes in Pasadena since the 1960s. The third generation of Rosas are still making quality pizza, and every dish hails from one of Mama Rosa’s original recipes. According to the servers, the restaurant hasn’t changed much one bit since their inception, except for the locations. As a result, the veal patty, or the outrageously fatty pizza sandwich has been tested with time. So has the white clam sauce, manicotti, and lasagne.

2411 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104

4. Ciao Cristina

4201 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91505

It’s all paninis, pastas, and antipasti at Ciao Cristina’s. This Burbank Venetian spot touts family recipes handed down from the parents and grandparents, with an incredibly cozy dining room for use during non-pandemic times.

4201 W Olive Ave
Burbank, CA 91505

5. Colombo's Italian Steakhouse & Jazz Club

1833 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Eagle Rock gem Colombo’s is the rare vintage restaurant that still attracts a loyal, and endlessly youthful, following. In the pre—pandemic times the Italian steakhouse would keep things lively with lots of live jazz inside, and now families can hang out on the exterior patio to down chicken parmesan, the famous rolled lasagna, and a heavy pour of wine.

1833 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041

6. Little Dom's

2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Little Dom’s restaurant in Los Feliz
Little Dom’s
Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Los Feliz’s Little Dom’s is the red sauce joint every town needs. It’s quaint yet modern, has a strong personality without being too fussy, and makes a mean plate of pasta.

2128 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

7. Alex Di Peppe’s

610 Live Oak Ave, Arcadia, CA 91006
A black and white photo of an old school Italian restaurant with signage.
Alex Di Peppe’s
Alex Di Peppe’s

Alex Di Peppe’s has been serving the San Gabriel Valley for 51 years, and today the restaurant is still going strong with staple dishes like mozzarella sticks, meatballs, and lots of cheesy garlic bread.

610 Live Oak Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006

8. Jones Hollywood

7205 California State Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Now celebrating more than two decades in the business, Jones on Santa Monica Boulevard has cemented itself as a modern Italian red sauce joint. Sure, during normal times the bar gets more love (and rightfully so), but sitting up front with the checkered tablecloths and a big plate of meatballs is, on the right night, where the party’s really at.

7205 California State Route 2
West Hollywood, CA 90046

9. Rao's Hollywood

1006 Seward St, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Rao’s Italian restaurant in Hollywood
Rao’s Hollywood
Elizabeth Daniels

An offshoot of an impossible-to-eat-at New York City original, Rao’s in Hollywood is a little quieter, a little more subdued, but still a lot of fun. The kitchen pushes out big portions to everyone, where families, dates, and anyone looking to recreate a bit of magic can lean in for a taste of East Coast Italian.

1006 Seward St
Los Angeles, CA 90038

10. Marino Restaurant

6001 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Marino Ristorante as shown from the inside, with dark booths and white tablecloths during the day.
Inside Marino
Matthew Kang

63-year-old Marino restaurant is just as charming today as it has ever been, though dining in means eating al fresco on the ample back parking lot patio. Expect a variety of Italian classics, from fresh pastas to caesar salads and calamari and fried mozzarella.

6001 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

11. Osteria La Buca

5210 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Inside Osteria la Buca, a mellow Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, at night as customers sit at the bar.
Osteria la Buca
Osteria la Buca

Melrose’s mellow Osteria la Buca is the perfect kind of neighborhood Italian restaurant. Known for its great pastas, pizzas, and grilled meats, this staple 15-year-old restaurant has used the pandemic to transition to groceries, delivery, and lots of wine sales, too.

5210 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

12. Dan Tana's

9071 California State Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Is there any more iconic old school Italian retaurant than Dan Tana’s? From its historic location adjacent to the legendary Troubadour music venue, to its timeless clientele of celebs, tourists, and cranky old-timers, this is the place to see and be seen over a big plate of chicken parm and red sauce pasta.

9071 California State Route 2
West Hollywood, CA 90069

13. Di Pilla's Italian Restaurant

9013 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770
A trio of pastas shown from above, including a bowtie with vodka sauce.
Di Pilla’s
Di Pilla’s

Rosemead’s charming 53-year-old Di Pilla’s feels like the days of old. Inside, the restaurant is wrapped in faux brick and fake vines, while diners today can take out everything from pasta with vodka sauce to linguini to fettuccini alfredo — and lots of toasty bread on the side, of course.

9013 Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770

14. Matteo's

2321 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Matteo’s on Westwood is a bit more luxurious than others on this list, but is no less effective in its efforts. Those wrapping booths and white tablecloths can’t hide a traditional Italian menu of spaghetti and meatballs, veal parmesan, and fried calamari. And don’t forget to order a martini.

2321 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

15. Vito Restaurant

2807 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Pasta from Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant website

Vito in Santa Monica has been serving for over 40 years, and all from their charming digs along Ocean Park Boulevard. The place hasn’t changed much since opening all those years ago, as their pastas and traditional cocktail list — vesper, side car, or sazerac — can absolutely attest.

2807 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405

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16. Il Saggio Italian Restaurant

5427 E Washington Blvd, Commerce, CA 90040

There’s solid options at Il Saggio, from pizzas, a bistecca panini, traditional salads, hamburgers, and steak. But there’s always time for the lasagna or spaghetti a la bolognese at this Commerce restaurant.

5427 E Washington Blvd
Commerce, CA 90040

17. Cafe Corleone Italian Restaurant

15337 Paramount Blvd, Paramount, CA 90723
A top down view of a messy plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Spaghetti and meatballs
Cafe Corleone

Paramount’s Cafe Corleone offers a massive menu filled with pizzas, appetizers like fried calamari, and over a dozen types of pasta, including the restaurant’s famed baked lasagna.

15337 Paramount Blvd
Paramount, CA 90723

18. Scardino's Italian Restaurant

4803 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503
An old school Italian restaurant with outdoor seating during the day.
Scardino’s
Scardino’s

South Bay families love Scardino’s, the no-fuss Italian staple in Torrance. The red sauce restaurant turns out dishes like manicotti, penne arrabbiata, and spaghetti and meatballs with ease — and now with leafy outdoor seating.

4803 Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA 90503

Related Maps