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Angeli Caffe

7274 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323-936-9086

Details

  • Sun, Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Tue-Fri 11am-2:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm
  • $$
  • Catering, Delivery, Family Style, Takeout
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Valet Parking
  • Reservations Accepted, Reservations Recommended
If you have ever been to Italy, you probably still have a vivid memory of your first meal at a simple side-street caffè not the grand and complicated dishes you read about in your guidebook, but a plate of spaghetti dressed with nothing but a bit of cheese, a few stalks of fresh asparagus, or a handful of clams recently plucked from the sea. Evan Kleiman's restaurant can seem like that sometimes: Angeli crystallized the affinity of Angelenos for casual Italian cooking-the spaghetti alla checca, garlicky roast chicken and minimally garnished pizza that a Sienese teenager might eat for dinner at the trattoria down the block on the nights his mother didn't feel like turning on the stove, but which was essentially unobtainable to those of us on this side of the sea. The clove that dare not speak its name makes a bold and uncensored appearance in Kleiman's version of spaghetti aglio e olio, a powerful, pungent pasta tossed with caramelized garlic, hot chile flakes and a little parsley, nothing else, and the sticky garlic essence is so powerful that you probably have to use industrial abrasives to get it off your teeth. In other words, it's the real thing, compatible with a glass of professional-grade Chianti and rendering the tempering umami of Parmesan cheese almost useless. Kleiman's repertory of artisanal olive oils, summertime bread salads and goat-cheese pizzas may no longer be novel, but sometimes there is no place you would rather be than behind a table at Angeli, contemplating a glass of Sangiovese and starting in on a plateful of ravioli with melted butter and sage. The Thursday-night dinners, multicourse prix-fixe extravaganzas based around a different cuisine each week, are legend.

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