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Pinocchio’s
Pasta and more at Pinocchio’s.
Farley Elliott

18 Old-School Red Sauce Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles

Where to find spaghetti, eggplant parm, and endless glasses of Chianti

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Pasta and more at Pinocchio’s.
| Farley Elliott

There’s something incredibly comforting and nostalgic (for many) about a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs or cheesy lasagna 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. Many have ample history throughout Southern California, with one that got its start almost 80 years ago. Here now are 18 old-school Italian restaurants in Los Angeles.

ADDED: Capo, Angelini Osteria, Little Dom’s, Catelini’s Salerno Beach

REMOVED: Little Dom’s Seafood, Il Saggio, San Antonio Winery’s Maddalena Restaurant, Cafe Corleone

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Grandi Italiani

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The family behind Grandi Italiani may be better known for its old-school spot Andre’s across from the Grove, but 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

Barone's

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Founded in 1945, Barone’s is stacked with recipes passed down from six different Italian families including lobster, shrimp, and crab meat-stuffed mushrooms, gnocchi, or carbonara. Head out to the original location in Valley Glen to experience an actual old-school interior.

Pinocchio Restaurant

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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

Little Dom's

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Little Dom’s in Los Feliz is perennially packed with diners vying for a highly coveted bar booth, where they can dig into big-as-your-head cheesy, mushroom-flecked fried rice balls; gargantuan portions of chicken parm; and bowls of spaghetti topped with beef-and-pork meatballs. A mirrored bar, red leather-topped bar stools, and Cinzano tables outside lend themselves to the place’s clubby atmosphere.

Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, California
The entrance of Little Dom’s.
Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Jones Hollywood

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Now celebrating almost three 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 chicken parm with spaghetti is, on the right night, where the party’s really at.

Rao's Hollywood

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An offshoot of an impossible-to-eat-at New York City original, Rao’s in Hollywood is a little quieter and 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

Marino Restaurant

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63-year-old Marino restaurant is just as charming today as it has ever been. 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

Osteria La Buca

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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 15 year-old restaurant is now an LA staple.

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

Dan Tana's

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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.

Di Pilla's Italian Restaurant

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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

Angelini Osteria

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Although certainly a few steps above red-checkered-tablecloth Italian fare, Angelini has been a favorite for elegant pasta, risotto, and the like since Gino and Elizabeth Angelini opened the restaurant in 2001. Stop by for caprese made with heirloom tomatoes, classics like vitello tonnato, and the beloved lasagna verde “nonna Elvira,” made with thin sheets of fresh spinach pasta smothered in beef and veal ragu.

Vince's Spaghetti

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Two brothers opened Vince’s Spaghetti opened in 1945, with family members continually expanding the interior over the years. The owners allege they serve 21 tons of spaghetti each month, and prepare lasagna, mostaccioli, garlicky rolls, and even spumoni for dessert. You can’t miss it; that neon sign is a Southern California landmark.

Maccheroni Republic

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Jonathan Gold once described the Maccheroni Republic’s patio as “one of the most pleasant places downtown, a long, alley-narrow space, all greenery and soft air.” He was right about Maccheroni’s charm, and fare that includes meat lasagna or a spelt pasta filled with clams, bay scallops, shrimp, and a creamy tomato sauce.

Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta in Downtown Los Angeles
Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta
Mona Holmes

Vito Restaurant

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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

For the Westsiders who come for the restaurant’s impressive wine list, grilled meats, and elegant pastas like rigatoni with a truffle ragu, Capo is synonymous with high-end Italian done right. It’s the sort of place to have a lingering dinner of cured meats and seafood-studded risotto while taking in artwork by Hockney, Picasso, and Lichtenstein.

Capo Exterior
The exterior of Capo.

Sunday Gravy

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Sunday Gravy owners Sol and Ghazi Bashirian have deep roots in Inglewood, as their father operated Jino’s Pizza from the same space for decades. The siblings put together a cozy restaurant that successfully serves Italian American classics, including a signature short rib ragu, plus a weekend-only lasagna that always sells out.

Lasagne from Sunday Gravy restaurant in Inglewood, California.
Sunday Gravy lasagna
Courtesy of Sunday Gravy

Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant

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Anyone who’s driven through Playa del Rey has undoubtedly noticed the old-school neon signage, in the colors of the Italian flag, no less, outside Catelini’s. The menu leans toward the owners’ home region of Abruzzi, with housemade ravioli available to mix-and-match with different sauces; baked ziti; and chicken or veal available in Milanese, marsala, piccata, saltimbocca, and parmesan preparations.

La Parolaccia Osteria - Long Beach

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Family-owned since 2006, La Parolaccia’s unfussy space focuses on the classics. Head to Long Beach and order the specialties from the housemade pastas that showcase spaghetti nonna Malvina aka spaghetti and meatballs, or the tortellini with ham and prosciutto in a sage butter cream sauce.

Pasta from La Parolaccia Osteria in Long Beach, California
La Parolaccia
La Parolaccia Osteria website

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Grandi Italiani

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

The family behind Grandi Italiani may be better known for its old-school spot Andre’s across from the Grove, but 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

Barone's

Founded in 1945, Barone’s is stacked with recipes passed down from six different Italian families including lobster, shrimp, and crab meat-stuffed mushrooms, gnocchi, or carbonara. Head out to the original location in Valley Glen to experience an actual old-school interior.

Pinocchio Restaurant

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.

Pinocchio Restaurant in Burbank
Pinocchio Restaurant
Pinocchio Restaurant website

Little Dom's

Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, California
The entrance of Little Dom’s.
Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Little Dom’s in Los Feliz is perennially packed with diners vying for a highly coveted bar booth, where they can dig into big-as-your-head cheesy, mushroom-flecked fried rice balls; gargantuan portions of chicken parm; and bowls of spaghetti topped with beef-and-pork meatballs. A mirrored bar, red leather-topped bar stools, and Cinzano tables outside lend themselves to the place’s clubby atmosphere.

Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, California
The entrance of Little Dom’s.
Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Jones Hollywood

Now celebrating almost three 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 chicken parm with spaghetti is, on the right night, where the party’s really at.

Rao's Hollywood

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 and 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

Marino Restaurant

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. 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

Osteria La Buca

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 15 year-old restaurant is now an LA staple.

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

Dan Tana's

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.

Di Pilla's Italian Restaurant

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.

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

Angelini Osteria

Although certainly a few steps above red-checkered-tablecloth Italian fare, Angelini has been a favorite for elegant pasta, risotto, and the like since Gino and Elizabeth Angelini opened the restaurant in 2001. Stop by for caprese made with heirloom tomatoes, classics like vitello tonnato, and the beloved lasagna verde “nonna Elvira,” made with thin sheets of fresh spinach pasta smothered in beef and veal ragu.

Vince's Spaghetti

Two brothers opened Vince’s Spaghetti opened in 1945, with family members continually expanding the interior over the years. The owners allege they serve 21 tons of spaghetti each month, and prepare lasagna, mostaccioli, garlicky rolls, and even spumoni for dessert. You can’t miss it; that neon sign is a Southern California landmark.

Maccheroni Republic

Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta in Downtown Los Angeles
Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta
Mona Holmes

Jonathan Gold once described the Maccheroni Republic’s patio as “one of the most pleasant places downtown, a long, alley-narrow space, all greenery and soft air.” He was right about Maccheroni’s charm, and fare that includes meat lasagna or a spelt pasta filled with clams, bay scallops, shrimp, and a creamy tomato sauce.

Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta in Downtown Los Angeles
Maccheroni Republic’s seafood pasta
Mona Holmes

Vito Restaurant

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.

Pasta from Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant
Vito Restaurant website

Capo

Capo Exterior
The exterior of Capo.

For the Westsiders who come for the restaurant’s impressive wine list, grilled meats, and elegant pastas like rigatoni with a truffle ragu, Capo is synonymous with high-end Italian done right. It’s the sort of place to have a lingering dinner of cured meats and seafood-studded risotto while taking in artwork by Hockney, Picasso, and Lichtenstein.

Capo Exterior
The exterior of Capo.

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Sunday Gravy

Lasagne from Sunday Gravy restaurant in Inglewood, California.
Sunday Gravy lasagna
Courtesy of Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy owners Sol and Ghazi Bashirian have deep roots in Inglewood, as their father operated Jino’s Pizza from the same space for decades. The siblings put together a cozy restaurant that successfully serves Italian American classics, including a signature short rib ragu, plus a weekend-only lasagna that always sells out.

Lasagne from Sunday Gravy restaurant in Inglewood, California.
Sunday Gravy lasagna
Courtesy of Sunday Gravy

Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant

Anyone who’s driven through Playa del Rey has undoubtedly noticed the old-school neon signage, in the colors of the Italian flag, no less, outside Catelini’s. The menu leans toward the owners’ home region of Abruzzi, with housemade ravioli available to mix-and-match with different sauces; baked ziti; and chicken or veal available in Milanese, marsala, piccata, saltimbocca, and parmesan preparations.

La Parolaccia Osteria - Long Beach